Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Publishing Your Family History or Making Your own Reference books

I've put together a brief narrative and descendant report using my Genealogy Software program, and Microsoft Word. I then saved it as a PDF, which is the format needed to produce a book at most publishing websites. Blurb requires you use a specific PDF format, PDF/X-3.
It can be tricky when it comes to laying out your book correctly. You have to be sure that your fonts are embedded in your PDF; and you should not use unusual fonts. You should use commonly supported fonts. You need to follow instructions for margins carefully; otherwise, you may find some of your text is missing. The Amazon publisher (Create Space) and Blurb give you a list of problems which it detects on your PDF. I got a message stating my image resolution was too low so the pictures may not come out clear. Lulu does not provide these suggestions.
The best place to publish an ebook you want to share with your family for free is at Internet Archive which allows readers to read it using many different format options:  www.archive.org

You can make books to share with your family, or just as reference books for yourself. I think putting together  documents, maps, pictures, progress reports etc., in a published book would be a great way to access them easily. Even if you just print your important source material and three hole punch it and put it in a report cover it would be a very helpful resource. I've used binders in the past, but they are bulky and heavy, a light weight report cover is more compact too. I have quite a few documents etc. in digital format, but find I get tired of looking at the computer screen too long. I like a printed format sometimes. It can be quicker to access a book.
I plan on ordering a copy of my book at LuLu. This is definitely an amateur production. I've never tried anything like this before. I haven't used any professional advisers for the layout; so I am not sure how it will come out? We'll see what the results are? I do plan on adding an index to the book and making additions this summer, so it's a work in progress. This copy is my test run: http://blog2print.sharedbook.com/blogworld/printmyblog/index.html

Here is my test copy at Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/AndrewForgeyMargaretReynoldsAScotsIrishFamilyInAmerica13112

Since I am using this blog as a research log I plan on publishing it using Blog to Print.

Some publishing websites

Monday, January 30, 2012

When fact and speculation become confused

Often researchers have speculated about events which they did not have direct evidence for. Sometimes these specualtions become more than that, and are later represented as fact by others. This often involves a misreading of notes left by previous researchers failing to notice qualifying statements, such as approximately or circa. I've been researching the Archibald Fisher family. As I search the internet I am finding the year 1767 as the year of their immigration to this county. This was copied from a book. Whoever copied it missed the fact that it actually says immigrated before 1767. It's easy to miss that, but important to read through these entries in books etc. to make sure there are no qualifications. I had to go back to the book to verify what it said. I was getting confused and thinking maybe they did immigrate in 1767. Looking at some of the other records for Augusta County, VA it seems that a lawsuit involving Archibald Fisher and his wife Susanna Shaddon was filed in 1766. So it seems Archibald may have been in Augusta County in 1766?
We do not know where his children were born and most may have been born in the US (speculation)? I am also speculating that it is possible that Catherine Fisher may be a daughter of  Archibald and Susanna? I base this on the fact that it's likely Catherine's husband, Hugh Forgey, was born in around 1766. We don't know how many times Archibald was married. According to a Randolph County History Archibald came from Scotland and first settled in South Carolina?

 Here is what we know for certain about Archibald Fisher.

  1. We know he married Susannah Shaddon sometime after November 1765 when she was appointed administratrix for her late husband ( it looks like Archibald and Susanna were married before 9 August 1766 when they filed a suit together?)
  2. We know he purchased land in Augusta County, VA on 5 March 1767 
  3. Sells his land in Augusta County on 9 Dec 1777
  4. We know he was in Sullivan County, TN in 1777 when he signed Holston Men Petition.
  5. We know he received a patent for land in Sullivan County, TN (later part of Hawkins County) on 10 November 1784 
  6. We know he sold his Hawkins County land on 27 May 1789
  7. We know he married Elizabeth Sharp on 11 December 1797 in Knox County, Tennessee
  8. He died 1 May 1805 in Ellis Grove, Randolph County, Illinois
We also know the names of his children because they are named in his will.
    What we don't know is when he came to America? Did he settle in South Carolina first? Where was his property in Knox County, TN? When did he sell it? Most importantly, what was Catherine's mother's name?

    Thursday, January 26, 2012

    Can you spot the problems?

    The following family group was compiled by a researcher who used the Scottish Church records at Family Search. The last child, Mary Fisher, does not appear in these records, but the researcher assumed she belonged in this family anyway.

    Archibald Fisher b. 17 April 1734 in Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland. Father: Patrick Fisher b.1701
    married Isobel McDougal
    Children of Archibald and Isabel

    1. Janet Fisher b.  16 July 1742 in Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    2. John Fisher b. 19 September 1746  Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    3. Archibald Fisher b. 24 December 1749  Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    4. Isabel Fisher b. 5 July 1751  Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    5. Catharine Fisher b. 5 August 1754  Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    6. Janet Fisher b. 9 September 1757  Alloa, Clackmannan, Scotland
    7. Mary Fisher b. 18 January 1758 (from tombstone)   Scotland

    The first contradictory fact that stands out is that Archibald Fisher was born in 1734 and his first child was born in 1742. So he would have been 8 yrs. old when his first child was born? He probably married at 6 yrs. old. Not likely! 
    A second problem is Janet and Mary were born 4 months apart. Not likely either!
    There were also two Janets, so apparently, the first one died. 
    Archibald Fisher came to America in 1767; without his wife who probably died in Scotland? We have not located the name of his spouse on any records in this country. A Fisher researcher assumed that because Archibald had a daughter named Catherine she was the same one born to Archibald and Isabel in Scotland. There were several Archibald Fishers in Scotland at the time. To verify they found the correct one they should have looked at all the birth records for this couple. If they had they would have discovered these contradictory facts. The easiest way to find the other children born to this couple is by using the batch number along with a surname search. All of the records for the same Church were batched together (this same method is also helpful when searching any other record extractions in the IGI).
    The same researcher also states that Archibald's second wife was Nancy Agnes Firney ( seems close to Forgey?) I've seen this same info copied several times by different people. No one has any source for this. I have not found her in the IGI for Scotland either. It seems a little unusual that a person born that early would have a middle name? 
    Someone else has an Ann McNaughton as his wife. This is another improbability. This particular family was still in Scotland in 1768, when a child appears in the Church records. I've seen about half a dozen different women recorded as Archibald wives. He may have actually been married about 3 times?  
    These are the verified children of Archibald Fisher (none of which appear in the IGI Scottish Church Records)
    1. Catherine Fisher b.?
    2. Mary Fisher b.1757
    3. John Fisher b.1762
    4. William Fisher b.1766
    5. Eleanor Fisher b.1765
    6. Nancy Fisher b.c.1767

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    The Mysterious John Beaird

    Nan Harvey just found a marriage record for Eleanor/ Elinor Fisher and John Beaird. I suspected they had married in the late 1780's or early 1790's in Tennessee. I was surprised to find out that they had married in 1799 in Pulaski County, Ky. I had understood that at least one of their children, John Beaird Jr., was of age by 1809 when  his father John Sr. died.
    My relationship to the Beaird family is through my ancestor Catherine Fisher who was the sister of John's wife Eleanor. I've only found a couple of references to Catherine Fisher/Forgey in records. I've never been able to find anything giving her age. I found an estimated year of birth for her sister Eleanor of 1765. Another sister Mary Fisher/Steele was born 18 January 1758.
     John Beaird's family being more prominent he does appear in several local histories. I am hoping to find more info about my own family by following these collateral lines.
    The newest discovery of  a marriage record for John and Eleanor does raise some questions. Was Eleanor John's first wife? I had suspected that John and Eleanor were neighbors of  my ancestors' Hugh and Catherine in Knox County, Tennessee, but now it looks like they were not married when they lived in Tennessee. It does look like they may have had a common law marriage before the official marriage in 1799, because it is suspected that their daughter Harriet was born to them in Tennessee.
    I also found out that John Beaird sold his Flat Creek Knox County, TN property in 1797; when he was living in Lincoln County, KY. This was unexpected too. According to family tradition the family left Tennessee in 1801 for Randolph County, Illinois. The story also states the Fisher in-laws accompanied the Beairds in 1801? Did they really travel together or meet up later? Evidence does seem to point to a relationship between them in Tennessee. Maybe there was a common law marriage, and out of wedlock births?  I've found references to John Beaird living in Wayne County Ky, Lincoln County, Ky, and Pulaski County, Ky.  Apparently this is because the area he was living in was Lincoln County when his first settled there in 1797. This same area became Pulaski County, Ky in 1798 , and in 1800 it became part of the newly formed Wayne County, KY.  So lots of jurisdictional changes occurred in a short time. It does appear they left Kentucky for Illinois in 1801. I don't know whether the Fishers did the same?
    I was also a little confused about where the Beairds and Fishers settled in Illinois. It appears the Fishers settled in Randolph County, and the Beairds in neighboring St. Clair, Illinois.  John Reynolds described the place the Beairds settled as 4 mile northeast of Kaskaskia, Illinois. The Fishers lived in the Ellis Grove area a few miles away. Now I am getting a better picture of where the families lived and when. It might be helpful to do some research in these new jurisdictions, which might produce more Fisher family documents.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Breast Complaint a Misdiagnosis?

    Now I am wondering whether "Breast Compliant" was a misdiagnosis? I am sure an accurate diagnosis would be hard to come by in early America and rural Tennessee especially. The James Forgey and Margaret Caldwell family may have been completely decimated by Tuberculosis which was commonly known as "Breast Compliant" in early America. Or could it have been breast cancer? Four Forgey sisters all are described as dying of  "Breast Compliant".  TB sometimes spreads to the ducts and nodes of the breasts causing lesions. Could breast cancer lesions be mistaken for TB lesions? I would think that could be a possibility. Did the women have a cough? No one gave the details of their symptoms so it's impossible to say.
    I wondered how common it would have been for that many members of one family to die of TB? My great-grandmother Isis Browning-Forgey died of TB and remained at home with her children until her death. None of her children caught TB from her. I found this about the famous literary family the Brontes: "Anne and Emily Brontë and other members of the Brontë family of writers, poets and painters were struck by TB. Anne, their brother Branwell, and Emily all died of it within 2 years of each other.Charlotte Brontë's death in 1855 was stated at the time as having been due to TB, but there is some controversy over this today." It is possible the Forgeys contracted TB from one another. Their only brother James Reynolds Forgey died at age 44 of unknown causes. It appears that no one lived until the age of 50.
    A fifth daughter may have died of the same thing. Here are the dates for all the Forgey daughters (except Sally, I don't have any death info for her)

    1. Margaret Forgey (1794-1817) died age 23 (don't know her cause of death?)
    2. Mary Forgey (1796-1833) died age 37 of  "Breast Complaint"
    3. Ellen Forgey (1798-1837) died age 39 of  "Breast Complaint"
    4. Betsy Forgey (1805-1837) died age 32 of  "Breast Complaint"
    5. Rachel Forgey (1812-1837) died age 25 of  "Breast Complaint"
    6. Matilda Miller (1802-1839) died age 37  (don't have her cause of death?)
    Looking at the years of death I see 3 in 1837, which would point to a contagious disease, like TB. All who died of  "Breast Complaint" died in the 1830's. It's difficult to say if they were diagnosed correctly? They may have died of something hereditary, such as breast cancer; or, may have been TB after all? It's very troubling when you think about the short life expectancy of this family line. My own Forgey line tended to live into old age.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    What was "Breast Complaint"?

    Early medical terminology can be confusing. I've been looking for definitions of some of the diseases my early family had. Some of the names they used could be misleading. For years I was thinking breast complaint must be breast cancer. Four women in the same family died of this, i.e, Polly Forgey, Ellen Forgey, Betsy Forgey, and Rachel Forgey. I was thinking it was hereditary breast cancer. When I googled "died of Breast Complaint" I found several references to tuberculosis. I found a google book called, "Language of Mormon Pioneers." Here is their definition of breast complaint:

    According to the Crawford family letters (written in the mid-nineteenth century) a number of Forgey family members suffered from "ague". I had no idea what that referred to? I found out it most likely referred to malaria. It could also have been a fever with symptoms similar to malaria. I remember reading about how diseases I thought were tropical were present in early America. Malaria and Yellow Fever epidemics were common in early America.
    Apoplexy also perplexed me. Apoplexy would be referred to as a stroke today.
    Before clinical tests were developed the cause of death or disease could only be surmised from previous experience or autopsy, and may not have been accurate. Scholars still debate the causes of some early epidemics.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    West Fork of Flat Creek Found?

    Field Stone marking Boston Grave's burial site on Little Flat Creek

    I've been continuing to trace the land of Hugh Forgey's neighbors in order to find the location of  his Flat Creek property.  It seems like Little Flat Creek was not identified as such until the mid nineteenth century; which leaves me with the question was the West Fork later identified as Little Flat Creek? Early deeds never seem to refer to it. I've found a number of transcriptions for Flat Creek deeds on the internet. Flat Creek, and the West Fork of Flat Creek were common names used on deeds for the area. 
    John Beaird  (brother-in-law of Hugh) owned 400 acres at the Headwaters of the West Fork of Flat Creek. I figured if I could find his land I would then answer my question. I had searched for Boston Graves earlier (knowing he was a neighbor of Hugh). I had found out that John Beaird had sold land to Boston and his son. Boston was said to have lived on Little Flat Creek according to a descendant. I wasn't sure if that Little Flat Creek land was previously owned by John Beaird? I did find references to the sale of this property by John Beaird to Levi Hinds as follows:

    Levi Hinds sold the Beaird property to Boston. This still didn't connect Little Flat Creek and the West Fork. I later found this about Boston's burial which does make the connection:

    I was able to establish the connection using all of these facts and going to Find-a-Grave and looking for Boston's burial place. Luckily he was listed there, and the address of the Graves Cemetery was given. I looked it up at google maps and found out it was located on Little Flat Creek. I now have some evidence that the West Fork of  Flat Creek and Little Flat Creek are the same. Along with previous statements by family researchers, everything is pointing to  Hugh Forgey's property being located on Little Flat Creek.
    I found Hugh Forgey mentioned on other West Fork deeds. Some of the men sharing property lines were: William Beaird (John's brother?), Absalom Hankins, and a Reynolds no first name ( may be his cousin John?) Mynatt's and Gibbs also lived close. Hopefully, I will be able to find the exact location of the property eventually!
    Boston Graves Burial site location at A pinpoint located on Jim Wolfe Road

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Where oh where is the West Fork of Flat Creek?

    Where is the West Fork?  Being a Larry Hagman fan I know where South Fork is. Now I just need to find out where the West Fork of Flat Creek is in Knox County, TN. This Flat Creek area is a mystery to many. Lucille Wallace the author of the 1950's version of the Forgey Family History was unclear about it's exact location. She seemed to place it in Hawkins County, not realizing that area later became a part of Knox County, TN. This threw me and others off. When I began searching for Flat Creek I looked at maps for Hawkins County and couldn't find it. When I posted a query at a message board I was told it was in Knox County; I then located the general area.
    When I received photocopies of the deeds I noted that Hugh Forgey sold his Flat Creek property to Christian Shell. I found a Shell Lane and Cemetery on a map for the area; I assumed the land was in that area. The land was not literally on Flat Creek. I had read that sometimes the nearest creek was mentioned on these early deeds, and did not mean the property was located on the creek.
    Now that I am trying to put together a narrative family history I decided I wanted to include a map of the area where the family lived. I decided I should try to do some fact checking. I got the deeds out and read the location descriptions. Glad I did that because the deeds do say the family properties were located on Flat Creek. Here is what they say:
    • James Forgey's grant states the location "Beginning on the North side of the Holston River on a Branch of Flat Creek"
    • Alexander Forgey's deed states the land was "on the waters of Flat Creek"
    • Andrew Forgey's deeds state "on the waters of Flat Creek"
    • Hugh Forgey's deeds state his land was "on the west Fork of Flat Creek"
    Armed with these descriptions I am now trying to locate the exact location. My ancestor Hugh's property description is the most descriptive "West Fork." I have not been able to locate a map with that particular location. I did find a query posted by someone also looking for that location. I also found out Hugh's brother-in-law John Beaird lived on the West Fork of Flat Creek. I checked the taxlist I have for Hugh Forgey when he lived on Flat Creek. I google searched some of the names plus Flat Creek. When I searched Bostian Graves I found a website where I found this info "The writer has no knowledge as to the original grantees to tracts of land on the head waters of Little Flat Creek. Most of them had served in the Continental Armies of North Carolina or Virginia during the Revolutionary War. Daniel Graves and his father Boston (Sebastian ) Graves (Graff) were in the area May 23, 1797.it is believed they came to Tennessee from Montgomery County, Virginia. They had earlier lived in Orange County, North Carolina. Since this recorder (Scharmal Veronica Triesch Conley) is a descendant of both Daniel and Boston Graves much of this compilation will relate to them and their descendants. On May 23, 1797, Daniel Graves bought 200 acres of land from John Beard. The land was located in the head waters area of Little Flat Creek, first known as Gravesville and later Graveston. The land is recorded in Book C-1, pg. 131, Knox County, Tennessee. "  
    I remembered that Lucille's book, and the earlier Forgey Family History did state James Forgey's land was on Little Flat Creek. I will have to order copies of the rest of the Flat Creek deeds to see whether any of the later ones offer a more detailed description of the location? None of the deeds I've seen say anything about Little Flat Creek. There was a Little Flat Creek and a Big Flat (a Forgey relation John Sawyer's lived on Big Flat Creek). Since I did find a couple of references to Little Flat Creek when I googled the names appearing on the Taxlists it is possible the Forgey properties were located on that creek? 
    I will contact the Knox County archives regarding the West Fork of Flat Creek. In early times Little Flat Creek may have been known as the West Fork of Flat Creek? If so the Forgey properties may be located near present day Emory Road and the Little Flat Creek Baptist Church. It was thought Washington Pike Presbyterian Church was located on Forgey land, but Flat Creek is several miles from there; not likely.

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    National Register of Historic Places Registration Form/ Genealogy Source

    The National Register of Historic Places Registration Form I found this form to be a great resource for local history and family history. This Knox County, TN form is packed with information about the early history of  Tennessee and Knox County http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/64500608.pdf. It mentions many of the early residents too. I did find a factual error. The person who built the fort at Harbison Crossroads was actually James Reynolds not John. This application involved multiple sites and buildings and contains more info than an average form. Even a shorter form can contain some very interesting historical info about a building or location, and family. Below you can see an example of the kinds of details that were recorded.

    Below is an example of the kinds of info you may find about an individual.
    I am now looking for more of these forms by searching google and including the name of a site or area. They are generally posted as PDF's. I think the information provided is very interesting to include in a Family History, and some of the info may lead  to more resources and help breakdown a brickwall.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    To do list for New Year

    Last year was very productive genealogy wise. I joined Second Life last January which helped introduce me to the genealogy community on the internet. As a result I began attending Webinars. I started this blog last March after attending a Dear Myrtle blogging Webinar. I began listening to Genea Bloggers radio even before starting my blog. All of this activity led to a more focused approach to my research which has paid off. I plan on maintaining this approach this year. I am going to work on improving citations and locating sources. This is my target list for this year:
    1. I still have not found the purchase deed for Hugh Forgey's property in Flat Creek, Knox County, TN. He probably purchased the land in the 1780's or 1790's? Will attempt to find the deed.
    2. I would like to collect more maps of the areas where my ancestors lived. I especially would like to get a better map of the Possum Creek area of Hawkins County and Flat Creek area of Knox County, TN.
    3. I will keep googling my family names in hopes of someone posting transcriptions of letters or diaries. I've pretty much exhausted currently available records at the government level so private sources could be best in the future.
    4. I plan on ordering a copy of the Deeds Index for Maury County, TN. I've looked some court records for that area but didn't find anything useful (someone reminded I can order the film online.
    5. I need to keep checking the Newspaper project for Tennessee which still has not been completed. I am hoping the early Knoxville Gazette will be available online soon. This should be a great source for the early history of the area.
    6. I need to fix some gedcom problems.
    7. I plan on continuing to work on my family history book/report.
    8. I will move over to Clermont, Ohio and do some more research on Nancy Melvin-Hicks. I would love to find an obituary for her.
    9. I still have not found the death years for Patrick Mullen and Mary Huvane in Ireland (my great great-grandparents).
    10. I have a long genealogy book reading list I hope to get through this year.
    11. More Forgey/Forgety DNA testers would be nice!

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    My Family and the Rose Parade

    My mother's family, the Forgeys, settled in Southern California in 1925. My Nicaraguan grandmother, Graciela Del Castillo-Forgey was able to integrate into American culture very quickly. The Hispanic heritage of California was familiar to her too. She loved American holidays which she celebrated heartily.
    In the late twenties my Forgey Grandparents moved to Glendale, California close to the Rose Parade city of Pasadena. My grandmother became acquainted with a float designer for the City of Glendale. My grandmother loved attending the parade. During the Depression the Parade was great free entertainment. My grandmother's husband and children didn't always share her enthusiasm for the parade. Even way back then the traffic around the parade route was bad. My grandfather drove there once, but was very annoyed by the traffic and would not go again. You have to get there early or camp out to get a good view. It can be very cold and uncomfortable waiting for the parade. My mother didn't enjoy all of these inconveniences either, but often accompanied her mother like a dutiful daughter. My mother did enjoy the 1939 parade when she saw Shirley Temple in person. Shirley Temple shares my mother's birthday.
    My Kapple family came to California after WII. My father Robert Kapple would send a copy of the Rose Parade program to his Great Aunt Sister Mary Kathleen (Bridget) Mullen who worked at a Catholic Girls boarding School in Chicago, Illinois. She would look at it with the students who enjoyed a great deal as I hear.
    I collected the souvenir programs as a teenager. My family would often take a ride on New Year's Eve along the parade route. We would only move at about a snails pace along Colorado so I could purchase a program while waiting for the traffic to move. I enjoyed seeing the crowds camping out and celebrating. Our car would get pelted with dried marshmallows which sounded like hail hitting the car, and silly string. On the way home we sometimes caught a glimpse of the floats be moved to the parade site.
    We did attend the parade once. It was fun but pretty exhausting. We generally would just go to see the floats  when they were parked. It used to be free. You would have to pay to park close. We always parked on someones front lawn across the street. That was a big money making opportunity for local residents; having people park on their property for $5 or $10. It usually took about an hour in traffic to get to the  float viewing area. Heading home it would look like a tornado hit Colorado Blvd. with old couches (used by parade viewers) and trash everywhere.
    It was fun though and they are even more beautiful in person.