Monday, December 4, 2017

Adoptions and Roots Magic Genealogy Reports

An orphan named Jacob sent me into the weeds this weekend while accepting a challenge on genealogy errors. Read a bit of Jacob's story as told to me by his son and think about where you would place him in the family tree.

My father was born about 1887 or 1888. He was orphaned at a very early age and existed as a waif on the streets of Dallas, Texas. Sometime in the early 1890's a rancher by the name of Lucas took him off the streets back to his ranch to raise.  It would have been Andrew Jackson Lucas ... Whether he was officially adopted or just brought in as a foster child I don't know. My father didn't know his name so he took the name Theodore Lucas.

He lived with the Lucases until their daughter [Nora] married Frank Allee [in 1896] and he then went to live at the Allee place. He stayed with them until in his mid to late teens, when he left... He also said he was called Jakey. At one time while he was living with the Allees he considered changing his name to Jake Allee.
- Fayette B. Lucas, 2000

Was Jacob a foster child of Andrew Jackson Lucas and Mary Elizabeth Houston or was he a foster child of Nora Bell Lucas and Abraham Frank Allee? There is no right answer. The choice I made was flagged as an error in Roots Magic when I took Randy Seaver's challenge for Saturday night genealogy fun: checking for errors by running a Genealogy Database Problem Report.

To respond to Randy's challenge, I imported my Family Tree Maker database into Roots Magic, as I highly value the Roots Magic reporting capabilities. I started with the same values he used, but changed them a bit as I had a number of girls who married as early as 13. Jacob was flagged as being born when his mother (Nora) was 12 and his father (Frank) was 14. I understand that this could be an error, even though he was a foster child. The idea is to look at the dates to be sure there isn't a typo or research error.

After marking some items as not an error, including Jacob's birth, there were 18 errors remaining to be reviewed for 6,299 people and 10,688 events. That's an error rate of 0.29% on people and 0.17% on events.

However, checking on Jacob's error did show me a gap in Roots Magic. In the two versions of Family Tree Maker that I use, there are options to create a report of people who are not biological children of one or both parents. Roots Magic does not seem to have any way to create such a report. I also could not find a way to make these relationship indicators print on a family group sheet in Roots Magic, while they can be selected in FTM. I spent hours looking for how to report on relationships, as my intent is to entirely switch to Roots Magic and away from the now-defunct FTM.

That missing information is a problem, as adoptions are scattered throughout my tree and step-parents abound. With the new focus on DNA, it's an important piece of information. The primary way to see the relationship is on the specific family page. The relationship for Jacob shows as foster, while the other children have a relationship of birth, meaning biological children.

When the child has a different relationship with each of the two parents, there are two words in the relationship column, one for father and one for mother.

The reporting features of Roots Magic still make it my favorite reporting program. There is a new version in the works and I have high hopes it will include options to include relationships on reports and forms.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Save the NANDS

New Ancestor Discoveries (NANDs) on the AncestryDNA site tend to sneak quietly onto the main page and, after hanging out a while, they sometimes disappear. NANDs can be descendants of ancestors, but they can serve as clues. If your tree is not deep enough, like some of mine, the NANDs can be actual ancestors.

Quite a few NANDs walked off the pages of my family members recently. Sadly, one NAND that I wanted to research disappeared. A few wandered off my own page and onto the pages of other family members.

Having lost a cherished NAND, I decided it was time to keep track of the NANDs. I've created a spreadsheet that includes just the key information, including who the NAND was given to. You may want to keep track of your own NANDs, saving that information in case they walk away.

Not everyone has NANDs, so I'll show you what one looks like. David Donald Dickey and his wife, Margaret S Hayes, may turn out to be very important to me. They appear to be from my Mother's Pennsylvania lines, possibly through her Lake family or her Kerr family. Fortunately that couple wandered over to another family member. Here's a look at how they appear on the main page and what you'll see if you click into a NAND.

A NAND is a composite of a number of trees and can be a bit of a mess if some of the trees are messy. But a clue is a clue.

Here's my simple spreadsheet.

Now I'm saving my NANDs. You might want to save yours.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Who's Your Daddy - Part Three

Have you ever examined a confusing census record and wished you could go back in time and travel with that census taker? Perhaps there are extra or missing family members. Ages, birthplaces or relationships could be missing or wrong. Even worse, maybe the family is entirely missing in the index or in the microfilm. You'll never know how the census taker got their information. Was it a child, a senile adult, a neighbor or even personal knowledge and assumption?

Additionally, the US census images that we see on microfilm or online are generally not copies of the original census book. There are copies which were hand-copied from the original. When the copies were made, mistakes and shortcuts may have crept in. The copy that was sent to the federal government is usually the one that was filmed. The original book may be in an archive or may have been destroyed. I once had my hands on an original 1880 census book while looking for a court case in the vault of a county courthouse. At the time, I had no idea it was different than the microfilm. I missed my opportunity to examine it.

The 1850 census of Cass County, Illinois, is so full of errors that I try to validate every single piece of information. This post continues looking at the assumed children of Lindsay Lake.

The Mystery Children with Lindsay Lake

The children in the household of Lindsay Lake in 1850 are listed as:
  • Precious Moore, 16 (niece)
  • Joseph Lake, 14
  • Aaron Lake, 10 (female, whoops)
  • Jane Lake, 8
The date on the page is December 12, 1850. Did the weather play a part in the errors?

Lindsay had married multiple times. His wives by 1850 were:
  • Milly Carter, married  August 28, 1834, Morgan County
  • Mary Kinman, married April 23, 1846, Brown County
  • Caroline Evans, married October 12, 1848, Brown County
  • Mrs. Doratha Hatfield, married December 24, 1850, Cass County 
It is possible that the children listed with the surname Lake should have been listed with a surname of Kinman or Evans. It is also possible that the names and ages of Lindsay's children were just scrambled.

An Amazing 1845 Census

A state census of Illinois was taken in 1845. There are only three counties for which copies survive, one of which is Cass County. This particular census was similar to the 1850 census, as the census taker wrote the initial(s) and surname of each person in the county, along with their age. The other two counties are similar to the 1840 census.

The 1845 Cass County census is a gem. However, you have to study it very carefully, as the females and males were listed on different pages. There were approximately 500 more males than females, so the page with Milly Lake is many pages away from Lindsay Lake. Only by reviewing names before and after can family groups be identified. The Lake and allied families lived along the border of Cass County and Morgan County, so families living in Morgan County, though neighbors, are not included.

The census was completed on October 25, 1845. Females were on left pages and males on right pages. Free white females end on image 65 at Ancestry. The last three images are free white males, non-whites and summary. Look at the top of each page for whether it contains males or females.

Family members can be found on these pages and images:

Lucinda _____ Lake Carter page 112 (image 55)  John? Carter page 116 (image 57)
Angeline Lake "Carter" page 112
Rebecca Lake Hardy page 112  N Hardy page 118 (image 58)
Precious York page 114  (image 56)  John York page 132 (image 65)
Milly Lake page 114  Lindsay Lake page 132

Summary on image 68
Males 2972, Females 2484, non-white 15, total 5471

The Lake family, as shown below, included the following names:
M Lake 25 (Milly)
C Lake 6 (Cynthiana born 1837?)
L Lake 35 (Lindsay)
A Lake 9 (Aaron born 1835)
J Lake 5 (John born 1840)
J Lake 3 (unknown boy)
T Lake 1 (unknown boy)

Comparing the Census Years

Matching the 1845 census to the 1850 census, it appears that the name Joseph (14) in 1850 should be Aaron, while the name Aaron (10, female) should be Cynthiana or John. Child Jane (8) doesn't fit, but could be John.

We need more clarity to sort out the children. The 1855 census is an old style census, so doesn't help. By 1860, the family had gone through many more changes. So let's go beyond the census to a very simple solution.

Probate and Guardianship Answer the Question

There is a guardianship in Cass County that absolutely names the children of Milly Carter. Every child in the 1850 census, if truly a Lake, would have been a child of Milly Carter Lake.

Milly's father, Thomas Carter, had died in 1849. Milly's children, his grandchildren, were among his heirs. Guardianship at that time was about assets, rather than children, so the children needed to have a guardian for the assets they would inherit from their grandfather. The guardianship states that the children "have an interest in an estate not derived from their father".

On March 18, 1850, Lindsay Lake became the legal guardian of the assets of Aaron Lake, Cynthia A Lake and John Lake. The other two children from the 1845 census were not included, so either had died or were not Milly and Lindsay's children. None of the mystery children from the 1850 census were named.

The bondsmen with Lindsay were James Pointer and Jonathan Lake. Jonathan Lake died a few months later and he will be examined in another post. Scaled-down images of the guardianship follow.

This ends the proof case for the children of Lindsay Lake: Aaron, Cynthiana and John were his only surviving children in 1850.