Tuesday, January 14, 2014

How long does it take to make a family tree?

A first cousin of mine needed help researching his maternal family tree. He wanted to know whether his grandfather was Native American because he was born on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in San Diego County, CA.
I began researching his tree with only the names of his grandparents, Robert Ridge and Mildred, and place Southern California. No maiden name for Mildred.
So how long did it take to put together the outline of his family tree?
I began at 3:04 pm on Saturday January 11, 2014.
3:04 pm My first stop was the 1940 US Census records since these are the most recent and complete records that would include his grandparents.

3:06 pm I noticed he was born in California.I knew abstracts of birth records for California were online. I checked to see if I could find his birth record but instead found birth records for his children. At 3:06 I had my cousin's grandmother's maiden name.

3:11 pm I had located his grandparents on the 1930 Census. Now I had birthplaces for Robert Ridge's parents which should help me identify his parents in 1920.

3:26 pm It took me a little while to locate Robert with his family on an earlier Census. Once I did locate him in 1910 I also found him with his parents Gertude B. and Mang Ridge. I had never heard of the name Mang before. I wondered if it was Native American? I knew that with an unusual first name it would be simple to identify Mang Ridge on earlier records.

3.48 pm Found the Mang with his father after I took a little break for a snack. I now had his full name Mangrum Ridge and his parents, Robert and Nancy's, names and birthplaces. At this point it looked like they were not Native American. They lived on the Pala Mission Indian reservation in 1880, but were not descended from tribal members.

3:54 pm I decided to check Ancestry.com trees thinking it would be easy to find a Mangrum Ridge if someone had made a tree for the family. I immediately found several trees for him. All of the Census data matched the Mangrum on these trees. These trees included attached records and old photos of  Mangrum and Gertude's family from the early 20th Century. I found more of his ancestors on these trees too. 

I know these tree can contain erroneous information so I needed to read through their attached records. The trees looked accurate after analyzing the information contained in the records. I did wonder about one of his ancestors said to have been killed in the Civil War. When I looked at the attached record it said he was a private in a colored regiment. I don't think this ancestor was African America so I believe this is a wrong connection?
I decided to try to see if I could push his line back farther than the mid 19th Century. I hit the same brickwalls previous researchers did. I was not able to locate the Kohrs family in 1920. I also could not locate the Ridge family in 1860 or before.
5:59 pm. I found my cousin's possible Kohrs great grandparents. This is the closest match I could find in 1910 Colorado. Unfortunately Mildred wasn't born until May 1910, and April was the Census month. It sounds like Mildred's parents names were not included in her 1978 Oregon death certificate? Her social security application would be another source for their names.
I continued to research the family until I went to bed at 11 pm without any more success. 
I did manage to locate the Ridge family on the 1870 Census for El Monte, California and I found Robert Ridge and Nancy Rice's marriage record. 
Without the trees I found at Ancestry.com it would have taken much longer for me to put all this information together. I've put my tree together over many years. It will take this family more time and effort to surmount the 19th brickwalls. It really takes years to assemble and document a family tree. 

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