Note: For privacy reasons, living people are not identified in this blog without permission.


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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Private Trees On Ancestry

Are you hiding out on Ancestry? Or rather are you hiding your tree, keeping it secret, or flying under the radar undetected? Those cautious family tree seekers crack me up. I am all for privacy settings and keeping living people's identity super top secret. After all, there is too much identity theft out there in the world today. However, I'm not sure how much can be stolen from a family tree full of those who have passed on. Ancestry is excellent about keeping living people's information private.

I can totally understand if you want to play your cards close to the vest but setting up a private tree and then networking with others does not really pay off. It's nice if we can see your tree when you ask if we are related. Even with all of this privacy technology, your private tree can be reviewed via member connect options if enough information matches up. This only applies to those who have passed on, of course. Living individuals are still protected by privacy.

So what is everyone afraid of out there? As I've indicated in my previous posts, networking is part of your key to success in finding your ancestors, especially further up the line. I admit to separating out my family tree lines into exclusive public trees. It makes it easier and less confusing for everyone to view and search for people. I also admit to privatizing one of my trees because it is so incomplete and has errors. I am, however, not actively networking with others about those family lines.

What is the right thing to do here about tree privacy settings? Well, I guess some etiquette would best. If you have a private tree and start networking with others, don't hold back in your message to others or make your tree public for viewing, or both is wonderful. I am all for more information.

Like I've said in another post, networking and getting help from others is definitely the way to succeed in your family tree search plus it can be so much fun to meet new people and relatives. So share what you can!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Networking and Message Boards on

When I initially joined, I did not fully make use of all of their networking tools. I had peeked at their message board system and found it to have way too much information posted in a rather unmanageable, unsearchable way. I skipped it for the time being.

Now, "member connect" on the other hand, I've been trying to utilize that since I spotted it on individuals on my tree. It's a great way to connect your tree into another without using the "hints" on Ancestry. In fact, there may not be a "hint" but member connect may show another tree with matching information. I try to take advantage of all hints including emailing those who appear to have family in common with me. I am cautious on those "hints" because they are not always correct information or even a match to my family.

About a month into to my subscription, I decided to start using the message board. I made posts about my family surnames. I have networked with a few people but for the most part it is not my first choice to network on Ancestry. That is something that could use some improvement.

I've also used another area within Ancestry to search for those seeking the same surnames. Under "My Account", "Edit Your Profile", "Research Interests", I've clicked on the little pencil to edit my interests. I had been using this area to search for those with common surname interests by clicking on one of my surnames. It looks like right now it has been disabled. I did find this was a great way to network but it looks like no more.

So how do you effectively network on Well, it keeps changing for me. I do wish Ancestry would improve their methods of networking and manage the message board more effectively.

I'll admit that I am a real go-getter when it comes to networking online. I do recognize appropriate etiquette, of course. Networking does produce results in researching your family tree. I have found that out with awesome results in some cases. One can't really do it on their own.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gartlan with a "D"? You tell me.

James McLaughlin married Mary Ellen Gartlan on January 6, 1838, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Newport, Herkimer County, New York. I also have a Hugh Gartlan marrying Mary McLauglin on November 28, 1850, at St. Patrick's Church, Newport, Herkimer County, New York. Were they all related? You bet! Mary Ellen and Hugh Gartlan appear to have been brother and sister. Their parent's were James Gartlan and Hannah Fox. James and Mary McLaughlin were cousins. It's kind of funny how that works out. Irish marrying Irish in an Irish Settlement in upstate New York was not uncommon. Also, it didn't hurt that they were all Roman Catholic. So enough said about that....My real issue here is it "Gartlan" or "Gartland"? Well, maybe it's both.

I have come across a limited number of individuals on Ancestry who appear to link into my family tree under my Gartlan line. However, they spell the last name as Gartland. I had a person indicate to me that they did not think we were connected despite some overwhelming information. Really?! Maybe they're correct. I did not spend a lot of time analyzing their tree. I could have sworn that I found them in Herkimer County, New York. I could be wrong and really need to get back into my Gartlan line to look more carefully.

I have created a public family tree on Ancestry for my Gartland with a "D" family tree with 28 people. I deliberately limited the McLaughlin's on the tree to see if I could find connections for the Gartland's with a "D". I found one rather confused person who appears to have over 10,000 people on their tree and can't find where they have Gartland's "tree'd". (By the way, I use "tree" as a verb, adjective, adverb, and noun. How about "tree'd", "tree'ing", or "tree"? I particularly enjoy, "Why does this person tree this way?." I digress.) But for 10,000 people I highly recommend breaking down your tree into specific family lines. Plus this individual said that the lines were all messed up in addition to being private. I'm not sure that they realize their privacy settings are set as such but they are "penlu". Hey "penlu", sorry to call you out in my blog but I'm really making a "shout out". Maybe I can help you or at least help you work through what you have without recreating the wheel!

My supposition here is that Gartlan sounded like Gartland and, thus, over time became Gartland. There were definitely some great census transcribers in the early 1800s that did preserve the name of Gartlan in the various Census. I applaud them. I am also assuming that they spelled the name correctly.

So...I remain at that point of if it is Gartlan or Gartland. Oh but wait a minute, I found Gartlan's in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, Ireland. No "D" on the end of the last name. Let's further explore that I have some notes that my James Gartlan was born 1777 in Carrickmacross.

In our great melting pot of the USA, can you imagine a surname being changed or simply obscured? Of course! I love Disneyland but can you imagine it spelled Disneylan? I think someone must have said, "Let's just add that 'd' on the end to make it look better".

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Family Surnames

So every couple of posts, I plan to put this list of my surnames out here to keep the momentum going. Feel free to let me know if any of the names strike a chord.

1. Flanagan - Co. Louth, Ireland; Napa, California; Corning, California

2. McLaughlin - Ringowney, Parish of Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

3. Maxwell - Shancarnan, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York; Austin and Grass Valley, Lander County, Nevada; Napa, California

4. Shaffrey - Dunshaughlin, Parish of Moynalty, Co. Meath, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

5. Gartlan - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

6. Fox - Co. Monaghan, Ireland; Newport, Herkimer County, New York

7. O'Brien - Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, Ireland; Australia; Napa, California

8. Hickey - Whitegate, Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City (Greenwich Village)

9. Coughlin - Co. Clare, Ireland; New York City, Long Island, and Rye, New York

10. McGuire - Co. Fermanagh; New York City (Brooklyn, Greenwich Village) and Long Island, New York

11. Bellew - Co. Louth, Ireland

12. Kirwan - Co. Louth, Ireland

13. Campbell - Co. Louth, Ireland

14. Maguire - Co. Louth, Ireland

Saturday, June 19, 2010

People not interested in Genealogy

So where you came from, or rather who you came from, can explain a lot about you. While your immediate family unit has the most influence over you while growing up and moving into adulthood, those extended family members are usually involved too. I have come across people who are not interested in their family tree because of past experiences with their immediate family unit and extended family. When bad things happen within the family, sometimes people shy away from their relatives. I can only imagine how people feel when multiple catastrophic or even uncomfortable events occur. I do say that exploring your family tree is a personal choice. If you explore back far enough and then drop down into cousins and other relatives, you may actually find some distant cousins that you do want to be around.

Adoption; now, that can be a different story, especially if you are the child of a parent who was adopted. That does make it hard to trace that line in your genealogy but hopefully not all lines. I do know someone who was adopted and as an adult she found her real parents. She has been able to find out why she was put up for adoption, their medical history, and actually build a relationship with them. That is amazing to me and wonderful. Her adoptive parents are still her "real parents" by the way.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It begins with where you came from.

It begins with where you came from. Right? Well sure. You came from your parents after all. Where did they come from? The simple answer might be "their parents". As we all know this builds on itself and follows a line backward in time. The line also splits off to others, creating more branches. I suppose that's why it's called a Family Tree. Genealogy is more than that. In my opinion, it is the network of family histories that builds on each other. It can allow us to discover our national origins and others who are distantly, or not so distantly, related to us.

I am seeking to discover not just my family tree but a network of family who may be scattered across the United States and beyond, or who might be living in my neighborhood. Sometimes it disappoints me how family can lose touch over time. In another instant, I start to think about my own situation and how "busy, busy, busy" I am in my daily life. I run out of time to keep in touch, I suppose. Or is it a choice? Personalities can sometimes interfere as can life's experiences some of which are not so kind. They can really split up a family despite individual's best efforts to remain close. I see that in my own family line going back and find that some days I am confronted with it in my own expanded family dynamic.

Anyway, I thought I'd start a blog of sorts about genealogy called "Mine, Yours', and the Other Guy's Genealogy". I've been working on my family tree off and on since about 1990. In the past, whenever I had an opportunity to grab onto to some information, I took it. At the age of 19, I recall sitting at my grandparents dining room table in Long Island, New York, asking them about their parents and on up the line. I wrote the information down as quickly as I could on one sheet of paper. I remember my grandmother correcting my granddad on facts of his family line. It was pretty funny to witness. They knew each other very well along with all of those family members which they really weren't in contact with any longer. For various reasons, everyone seemed to have gone their own way. Maybe some individuals or families moved away, passed away, or just got "busy, busy, busy".

My mother recently gave me the sheet that she'd held onto for the past 20 years. It had some definite "hints" on it that I'd forgotten. I only wished that I'd asked for more information and written more down. On that day in the summer of 1990, I did receive a gift though......a gift of finding out where my dad came from. At least it was a start.