Saturday, April 30, 2016

Quick Lesson 2: Sources vs Information vs Evidence vs Proof

In March, DearMYRTLE started a new series of Hangouts on Air where she and Cousin Russ and the other panelists discuss the Quick Lessons found on Elizabeth Shown Mills' website Evidence Each week the panelists and any viewers who wish to, post their analyses of the current Quick Lesson two days before the Hangout, the Quick Lesson is then discussed live at 12 noon (Eastern) and recorded on You Tube.

I am in the process of catching up and decided to write a post myself related to Quick Lesson 2 to get my thoughts and understanding in writing.

Sources are the places we look for information. They are the family bibles, the vital records, the obituaries. This Matthews genealogy is a source.

What you are looking at is a copy but I have the original, so this is an original source or record. It is in good condition and it is legible. The handwriting and paper match a hymn to which my great-grandfather, Arthur Matthews, signed his name. Both the hymn and genealogy passed from his son, my grandfather, to his son, my father, to me. The date indicates that it was written a little more than two months before Arthur's death.

This source contains information; it states the names of Arthur W. Matthews' parents and siblings, their places of birth and death and where they were living as of Sep. 26, 1915. This information is merely content. We have not yet drawn any conclusions as to the accuracy of the information, we are just saying that this is information, raw data, or as Elizabeth Shown Mills says, "assertions".

If I am looking for the birthplace of Mark Matthews, my 2nd great-grandfather, this source offers direct evidence of that; it states that Mark was born in Coleford, Somersetshire, England.  That isn't to say that Coleford is his true birthplace, however, just that this source offers Mark's birthplace directly, just as it does the name of his wife and seven children (actually there were at least eight).

As for proof of any of Arthur's assertions, no one source can offer proof of anything. Proof is an argument that I will have to make after more sources have been found, more information gathered, more evidence analyzed.

My great-grandfather has provided some good leads, but the reasonably exhaustive search continues.
 Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( : [April 26, 2016]).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday - Dad's Red Beanie

I can vaguely remember my father referring to a red beanie that he wore as a child but I don't remember any details like why it meant so much to him. I found the beanie in the basement stash last September which means that he and my grandparents saved it for the rest of his life.

I had seen it before on film the couple of times that Dad broke out the home movie of my grandparents' wedding and visits to my great-grandparents. You may remember that I had a VHS copy of that film digitized last year. The beanie makes it's appearance at about 12:32.

Also in the basement stash were these photos of Dad wearing the beanie. He's such a cutie!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Cleaning Tessie's Headstone

When Donald had a death in the family last summer, we went to the burial at the same cemetery where his paternal grandparents are buried and paid our respects at their grave site as well as those of other relatives.

Donald's grandparents' grave site gets quite a bit more shade than the others and it was beginning to show in the accumulation of lichen on their headstone. On Sunday we finally did something about that. Here is the stone when we arrived.

Although this headstone only dates from 1975 when Donald's grandfather, Charles Calma, passed away, we still wanted to be very careful not to damage the stone, so we began by wetting it with plain water and applying wet cloths to soak the lichen or whatever the green growth was. It was a fairly windy day, so we only had moderate success in getting the cloths to stay, even when soaking wet.

Eventually we just took the cloths off and scrubbed and rinsed. We were making excellent progress but we realized (and I'm not sure why I didn't think to add them to my kit before this) that we would need some soft toothbrushes to really get into some areas, like inside those rose petals.

Also, we ran into a little hiccup when our gallon water bottle ran dry and we discovered that the cemetery hasn't turned the water on yet. Our guess is that will happen on June 1st when their "planting season" begins. Luckily we did bring a little drinking water for ourselves so we were able to get a bit more done and the Calma's headstone got a little Evian rinse!

We could have gone out for more water, but decided to wait until we go back with the toothbrushes in a few weeks. We just want to get it done before the humidity of summer begins. Here is what the headstone looked like when we left; much more clean and almost dry.

The little red and green spots you might notice under "CALMA" are actually reflections.

Donald was very pleased. He did not believe that we would make this much progress with just water and soft brushes.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Genealogy Do-Over - Do I Finally Have a System?

My paternal grandfather, Howard Matthews.
Always organized.
Do I finally have a research tracking system I can live with? It seems like all this planning and reading has been going on for way too long. But really, only time will tell as I put all these ideas into practice.

As I alluded to in my last post on this subject, staying organized has always been a challenge for me. One thing that helps me keep our living space organized is the mantra that professional organizers use often, "A place for everything and everything in it's place." This is something I need to keep in mind in organizing my genealogy, too. While I want to keep things as simple as possible, my genealogical finds and evidence need to have a place to go or I may just drop them somewhere random, never to be seen again.

This week I looked at where I wanted to keep four things:

  • To do list
  • Search attempts
  • Citations
  • Transcriptions
To Do List
I like keeping each ancestor's research note separate in Evernote, but I only want have one To Do List. I created a new Note in Evernote with a To Do List table and put a link to the Note in my research note template so that I can quickly get to the to do list from each research note.

You may notice that I started the name of this note with a period (.Research To Do List). That will make this note appear at or near the top of the list of notes when searching by name and make it easier to find.

Search Attempts
Search attempts, like the research log, will be kept in each individual note so I added this table to the template. This is a place to track all of the attempts I made to locate a record in a specific database.

Citations & Transcriptions
I really like Thomas MacEntee's idea of starting your evidence analysis in the research log, but unfortunately it isn't very practical in a table format. So what to do? How about using the Evidentia program I bought and paid for back in 2015? What an idea!

But that only deals with where to analyze my evidence, where else should I keep those citations so that they are accessible away from home and saved somewhere in the cloud for backup? I've decided to do two things with my citations and transcriptions. First will be to save a transcription of the document and the citation in Word document along with a digital image of the record and then upload the document to Dropbox. Then I will copy and paste the citation and transcription into the Evernote Note that contains a copy of the digital record.

I hope this post isn't too confusing. I had rewrite it a few times to make sure I was getting my points across. I hope I succeeded.

I'm going to put all of this into practice this week and put together a post to walk us through my process step-by-step. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Celebration Sunday - Photos for a Cousin

This week I was finally able to sort through the last of the photos found in my step-mother's basement last September. In doing so, I was able to give a cousin the first glimpse of her second great-grandmother, Laura Scharer Matthews. Laura Scharer was married to William G. Matthews, the eldest son of my great-grandfather, Arthur William Matthews, and his first wife.

Thank goodness the person who sent these photos to my grandfather (possibly one of Laura and William's daughters) wrote on the backs or I never would have known who was in them!

Laura Scharer Matthews (rt) and
her granddauther Betty Haynes (lt)
Laura Schaerer Matthews (lt)
and Betty Haynes (rt)
 It is such a gift to be able to give these photos to my cousin! She was very excited to hear I had them and to see the scans and I'll be mailing out the originals to her tomorrow. Happy Dance!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fridays Faces from the Past - Lilian Matthews Hunter and ?

I'm sorting through more photos from that basement stash this afternoon frustrated by the lack of information about some of these photos! It will pass, after all, it is Friday, but I'm turning to you and my Facebook friends and family for help.

Do you think that these photos are the same woman?

The woman on the left is identified as Lilian Matthews Hunter, eldest sister of my paternal grandfather. The photo was taken in December of 1933 when Lilian was 55. The photo on the right is not identified and has no markings from a photographer or developer.

Please let me know what you think. Thank you!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday - Stephen David Matthews b. Apr 20, 1936

Yesterday would have been my father's 80th birthday. Until January two years ago, I had never seen any photos of him as an infant. That is when my step-mother gave me an old plastic bag containing loose photos including this one. I now know from notes on the backs of other photos, which were part of the basement stash uncovered in September, that this was taken when Dad was six-weeks-old.

Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson
Stephen David Matthews
June 1936

This is the building they lived in when Dad was born.

1366 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

Here is some of the other treasure found in basement six months ago.

Birth Announcement

My grandfather's hospital admission card.


Certificate of Registration of Birth

This is kind of an odd thing. Babies Alumni? And it was issued in 1943. Still, a fun thing to have.

I'm always sad that I was never able to share these things with Dad when he was alive, but I am very grateful to have them now.
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