Category: Photos

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

It has become increasingly apparent recently that there are two distinct schools of thought regarding quality and depth in genealogy research. There are the genealogists who believe in working only with well-sourced, proven information – and then there are those of us who started our genealogical quests simply for the pleasure of doing so. Before either camp can begin searching for answers, they much first know the genealogy questions.
must know the genealogy questions

We must know the genealogy questions before we can find the answers.

My own research (see my Blythe Database) started with a curiosity about our history because I grew up in a military family that moved a great deal, and therefore I had very little opportunity to meet with near and distant family members to learn family stories and lore.

I do agree with the article “Take time to produce well-sourced, quality work,” on the Genealogy Today site, in which they respond to another article by Sharon Tate Moody in the Tampa Tribune, entitled “Drive-by genealogists should learn a few rules.” I am one who looks at unsourced information as possible clues to breaking down brick walls and answering questions. Although the information itself may be unsourced and seen as questionable, it can be regarded as a clue. When I receive gedcoms from others, or access information online, I do not discard what could be valuable information simply because there are no sources cited. I note the information, making it part of my own database, intending to return to it, find and cite concrete sources as I can.  Yes, I’ve found mistakes, but I have also found wonderful information allowing me to enlarge upon my family’s own stories.

I believe in the researchers’ responsibility for assessing the quality of the data they receive from others. I never take sources cited by others at face value, always working to find the sources cited and attach concrete proof in the form of images, etc.

Although a great deal of the Blythe Database attached to this site is not sourced, the majority of it is – the result of tireless work and ever increasing expense over 15 years. I have a clearly stated ‘Data Quality’ disclaimer linked in the upper horizontal menu of every page and post, and it states:

“The Blythe Database is my genealogy research in its entirety and is an ongoing process. I spend a minimum of four hours a day researching sources to verify data.

I have been researching genealogy for over fifteen years and you will note that I classify all sources by quality. If it is a poor quality source it is clearly indicated as such…

…It is common for there to be gaps in data and sources and in these cases I will use the individual anyway and either leave sources blank (indicating no sources found) or will clearly indicate source quality. It is up to the person using the data to use the information as classified.

I continually search out sources and documents to verify data and improve on substantiation. I have made some of my best discoveries using unsourced data as a starting point and I would hate for those clues to not be available.

This site is an effort to provide open, free sharing of genealogical information. However, all information is only as good as the sources cited.

I will gladly make corrections to data providing the information provided can be substantiated by the submitter with a source…”

Let’s face it: it’s quickly getting to the point where information gleaned from others will rarely include sources, images, etc. as more and more researchers become protective of their data. I understand as I struggle with my decision to openly share ALL of my information, but ultimately feel I’ve made the right decision, hopefully promoting more open and cooperative sharing of data by others as well.

Genealogy is a passion for me – and others. I enjoy the hunt as much as finding those elusive facts and sources. Maybe it’s my inner detective struggling to get out. Whatever the reason, my database will always have a substantial amount of unsourced data as I continually stumble upon new and hopefully ‘breakthrough’ information. I do, however, spend as much time as I can finding evidence and sources, but find (and I’m sure others do as well) that each new discovery raises numerous new questions, and finding those answers takes a great deal of time and effort.

There will never be an end to my quest…

photo credit: droetker0912 via photopin cc

Transcription: Tombstones of James and Sarah Anderson (née Thomas).

The following are my transcriptons of the tombstones of James and Sarah Anderson (née Thomas).
Tombstone of James Anderson

Tombstone of James Anderson, M.D.

Tombstone of James Anderson, M.D.

James Anderson M.D.
Died 7th [...]

(The image for this tombstone is very poor quality and almost unreadable.)

Grave marker for Sarah Anderson.

Tombstone of Sarah Anderson (nee Thomas).

Tombstone of Sarah (Thomas) Anderson

SARAH
Wife of
James Anderson M.D.
Died 6 Mo. 29, 1869

_____________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


Sign of the times: Ancestry.com killing local genealogy societies?

To me, the new article I discovered today on the Simcoe Reformer website illustrates a disturbing trend in which the larger, conglomerate sites such as Ancestry.com are killing local genealogy societies.
online genealogy websites killing local genealogy societies?

Are large online genealogy websites killing local genealogy societies?

I must admit, I’ve never been one to do physical research. As one whose personal income depended on computers, the internet and their use on the job, I began my genealogy research twenty years ago using the internet almost exclusively. My timing was just right as there was an influx of information being indexed online and I was able to take advantage as I progressed in my research.

Admittedly, I would hit frequent brick walls, but the scope of my research was so extensive, I would just shelve that brick wall, move on to something else, and come back to it later with the hope something had been put online that would allow me to break down that brick wall.

According to the above mentioned article, the Norfolk chapter of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be holding a sad but important meeting to discuss the organization’s chances of survival into the future. With a membership that has dropped by almost 50% over several years, and this is easily attributed to the mass availability of genealogy data online with large sites such as Ancestry.com. There’s no longer much reason to do physical research in local repositories, libraries and genealogy societies.

As sad as this seems, it is a sign of progress and global accessibility to all information, which is as it should be – giving everyone with computers and internet connections equal access.

The only part about this that bothers me is, what will happen to the collections held by these organizations? My hope is that there will still be regional organizations in the larger city centers and these collections can be transferred, care for and made available to the general public at these venues.

Living in Chilliwack, British Columbia, I would have no problem traveling to Vancouver if the local collections were transferred to the larger city. For those times when we have to research areas not indexed online, it would be well worth making the periodic trip.

photo credit: agahran via photopin cc

Dad is the link to our French Canadian and military heritage.

Although both sides of my family are ‘French Canadian,’ my mother’s ancestors are Acadians who settled in the maritime provinces and the eastern seaboard of the United States. Dad, however, is the link to our Québecois French Canadian and military heritage.
Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine

Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine at 3 circa 1938.

In earlier posts about our family’s WWI war casualties, I discussed our family’s attachment to the Canadian military. My own father, Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine, was an Instrument Electrical Technician in the Canadian Armed Forces for almost thirty years.

Gerard Turmaine in full pipe bank regalia playing his snare drum.

Gerard Turmaine in full pipe band regalia playing his snare drum.

Born in 1934 to Henry Joseph Turmaine and Rose Amande Emery of Quebec, he was nephew to both family members we lost in WWI, Joseph Philias Albert Emery (Rose’s brother) and Joseph Turmaine (Henry’s half-brother). (See photo at right of Gerry Turmaine at age 3.) As a new Canadian forces member, he spent some time in New Brunswick visiting the family of another recruit, Paul Melanson and met my mother, Patricia Gail Melanson – Paul’s sister.

Shortly after, he was transferred to Baden Söllingen, Germany and a long distance relationship proceeded for a while until he eventually asked my mother to go over and marry him. She traveled over on ship, they were married, and just over a year later I was born.

A year after my birth, my father was posted to Trenton, Ontario by the Canadian military, where we lived for ten years. During this time, he was a member of the national military pipe band (see photo at left) and frequently played all around the nation – and on one occasion, I can remember him traveling to Washington, DC to play.  During the ten years we lived in Trenton, my parents had three more girls, my sisters Renee, Andrea and Danielle.

We finally left Trenton when my parents’ dream came true and we were transferred to Comox, British Columbia. I can remember my parents talking about how much they’d like to live on the west coast of Canada for years. As a matter of fact, the story told ever after was that my Dad was so happy at the news of our transfer to British Columbia he wore holes in his socks dancing around the coffee table.

Their intention to remain in British Columbia was evident when my Dad told his superiors in Comox that he would rather forego any further promotions in order to remain in British Columbia until he retired. My parents lived in Comox until his death in 2005.

Turmaine Family in the late 1960's.

Turmaine family photo with Gerry in rear on the right; middle: Renee, Christine, Gail and Andrea; front: Danielle.

Twenty years ago I met my husband while he was training in Comox. He was an Aviation Technician with the Canadian Armed Forces and retired in 2006 to take a position with Marshall Aerospace in Abbotsford, British Columbia – where he could continue to work on his favorite aircraft, the CC130 Hercules.

To add to the tradition, my husband’s father, Marsh Blythe, retired in the 1980’s as a Sergeant in the Canadian army and my sister Andrea’s husband Larry Potter also retired several years ago from the Canadian army.

Are free genealogy databases a thing of the past?

In almost twenty years of genealogy research, I have found a considerable amount of the sources, data and images on free genealogy databases online. They still exist in large numbers and can be very valuable.
find free genealogy databases

Finding free genealogy databases.

The tough part in some cases is finding them, as most sites created by amateur genealogists and website owners are not optimized for the internet and therefore may not rank well in Google searches.

Be sure to sift through as many links as you can. If the site entered from a Google search result links to other sites, then by all means check them out. It’s important to bookmark any sites you find valuable as it’s very likely that days, weeks, months or even years down the road, you may never be able to find it again.

One tool I find very helpful for finding free genealogy databases is the Google Genealogy Search Tool at the Ancestor Search website. Scroll to the very bottom for the search tool, just one of many on the page. This tool incorporates most of all the search types above it. Just proceed to the next search results once you’ve waded through a set. This is very quick, easy and fruitful.

It is also important to search by other means than just names, such as location, topical sites (i.e. military service, war records, births, deaths, etc.) and dedicated surname websites.

When you begin to study genealogy, the resources that you have are few and far between. Most of us don’t go out and purchase expensive books or buy memberships in larger sites to get the information that we want. We tend to rely more on our own experiences and family members, but the truth is that those resources, while good, won’t carry you back through too many generations before you need some additional help.

Frustration can be an integral part of genealogy research. When it gets to the point where I’m very frustrated and feeling blocked, I create a ‘to do’ note on the person’s record in my genealogy software and turn to a different item. I find when I return later, either with a fresh, clear mind, or having given the database time to make updates, I will find something useful.

While you’re working online on your family tree, the free genealogy database will very often be a life saver. Those of us who don’t, or can’t buy the online access to the many paid databases, use the free ones religiously to find our way through family members. While you may not find all of the things that you want to know, you will find a great deal of information that will point you in another direction you weren’t even aware that you had to explore.

Even paid genealogy sites offer some specific databases for free access. These sites include Ancestry.com, and Fold3.com, amongst others. To search for free records on any given paid genealogy site, find the search link, go to advanced search, and enter the keyword ‘free.’ Most sites will produce a list of all free databases on the site. Also, try a general ‘free database’ keyword search on Google. Be prepared for thousands of search results, but at least it’s a place to start.

It is also important to subscribe to the blogs or newsletters to learn of any time limited free database promotions that may be coming up.

For all of you who thought the free genealogy search was a thing of the past, and that nothing worth having was free any more, take heart. There are literally thousands of free genealogy database sites out there that are waiting for you to come and pick through them and get what you can for your own genealogy.

photo credit: shindoverse via photopin cc

The Starvation of the Lady of Hay

William de Briouse, starvation of the Lady of HayThe Story Behind the Starvation of the Lady of Hay

William de Briouse III (25th great grandfather to my children, Erin and Stuart) was the son of William de Briouse II, Lord of Abergavenny (as well as Briouse, Bramber, Brecon and Over-Gwent) and his wife Berthe of Hereford.

He is believed to have been born about 1155 and he died August 9, 1211 and was buried August 10, 1211 in Paris. He married Maud (Mathilde) de Saint-Valéry, Dame de la Haie of the famed tale of the starvation of the Lady of Hay, (…and 25th great grandmother to Erin and Stuart), about 1170 or 1175. Maud de Saint-Valéry was the daughter of Bernard III, de Saint-Valéry and his wife Anora (Avoris).

William III and Maud had ten children: Marguerite de Briouse (1175-1255); Laurette de Briouse (1184-?); Eleanor (?-1241); William “the Younger” IV, de Briouse (1185-1210); Philip de Briouse; Matilda de Briouse; unknown; unknown; Reynold de Briouse, Lord of Abergavenny (1178-1227); and Isobel de Briouse (1184-?).

Hay Castle, starvation of the Lady of Hay

Hay Castle, location of the starvation of the Lady of Hay and her son, William IV de Briouse.

William III was descended from William de Braose, Lord of Braose, who had received great estates at the time of the conquest in England and had settled at Bramber. William III had also inherited lands in one of either Totnes or Barnstaple through his grandmother, and had also inherited great Welsh estates of his grandfather, Bernard de Neufmarche through his mother, Bertha, including that of Hay Castle in Wales (see right).

During the reign of Richard III, William III was Sheriff of Herefordshire between 1192 and 1199 and a Justice Itinerant for Staffordshire in 1196. Having been with Richard in Normandy in 1195, he received both Totnes and Barnstaple by agreement with his original co-heir.

Upon the accession and coronation of King John (24th great grandfather to Erin and Stuart), and having achieved a place in the King’s favour, he accompanied King John to Normandy in 1200, and was granted all lands he conquered from the Welsh. he was also made Sheriff of Herefordshire between 1206 and 1207. Other lands William III had acquired through various means during these years included Limerick (without the city), custody of Glamorgan Castle, Gowerland, Grosmont, Llantilio (or White Castle), and Skenfrith Castles. , but shortly after he began to fall from favour, although the reasons for this have never been clear.

From records in the Red Book of the Exchequer, it would appear that it was a quarrel about repayment of his agreed debts. The evidence shows that in 1207, he had only paid 700 marks in total, a small portion of what should have been paid based on the agreed 500 marks per year. After being five years in arrears, the crown had the right to seize his estates. It was learned that he had removed the stock, and the king’s bailiff then acted under orders to seize him.

William III’s friends having acted on his behalf, they met with the King and William was permitted to come to the King at Hereford to surrender his castles of Hay, Brecknock, and Radnor in repayment of his arrears. William III, however, failed to make any further repayment of the debt and the King sent his men to demand hostages of William, but supposedly against William’s advice, Maud refused them. Having reached a point of no return, William attempted to seize control of his castles. However, he failed at this and subsequently attacked Leominster. As the royal forces approached, he and his family fled to Ireland and his estates were seized by the King.

William III was harboured in Ireland by friends who promised to surrender him within a certain time. However, they only sent William III when John’s invasion of Ireland became imminent. William III proceeded no further than Wales, however, where he later offered 40,000 marks in return for his lands. William’s wife, Maud, was besieged by John in Ireland and fled to Scotland, where she, her son William and his wife were captured in Galloway and escorted to John at Carrickfergus. Using Maud as leverage, John bargained for repayment of the 40,000 marks. Yet again, however, payment was not forthcoming and William III was outlawed, resulting in his fleeing in disguise to France, where he died.

His wife, Maud, who was largely blamed for his downfall, was imprisoned with her eldest son William IV by John in Corfe Castle (see above) and they were both starved to death there.

The second son, the Philip de Briouse, Bishop of Hereford, returned to England on July 16, 1214, and paid a 9,000 mark fine for his father’s lands. As this son died very soon after, John allowed the lands to then pass to the third son Reynold de Briouse on May 26, 1216, who also, under Henry III, recovered the Irish estates.

Sources:

  • Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands./NORMAN%20NOBILITY.htm#BernardIISaintValeryA.
  • Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21; George Smith; Oxford Press, (1885-1990).
  • The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant; G.E. Cokayne with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I).
  • The Magna Carta Sureties; 1215; Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D. (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c 1999.
  • A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited and Extinct Peerages of the British Empire; Sir Bernard Burke (1883).

photo credit: creative commons license; wikipedia.org