August 26, 2011
Charles F. Clark's annual city directory of the inhabitants, business firms, incorporated companies, etc., of the city of Detroit, for 1868-9, p. 256.
So while my mother and grandmother explored the sights in Fort Wayne, I settled in at The Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library for two days of research. One of my major goals was to verify death dates and locations for my 4th great grandparents Lt. Hugh Massy and his wife Jane Alison Massy. I have a date for Hugh from Burke’s Irish Family Records but I haven’t been able to locate a place of death or burial. As for Jane I have her showing up in Detroit directories up through 1869, nothing in the 1870 Census, likely death record in Middlesex Co, Ontario in 1870, and written testimony from her son, Henry R. (my single most untrustworthy ancestor to date) who said she went back to Canada to visit a daughter and died there sometime around 1863. I spent hours going through cemetery transcriptions—especially around Strathroy and Wisbeach (Lambton Co), where other family members are buried, but still no luck. I did however take the opportunity to go through just about all the materials published by the Lambton Co., Ontario Genealogical Society and a good chunk of Middlesex Co., as well.
I was also able to track some of the families that married into Lt. Massy’s extensive family who were landowners in Co. Limerick, Ireland. A number of Burke’s volumes include information about the Massy’s—two of which I was able to work with at the Library of Michigan in Lansing. But entries in those books referred to other editions that I was able to work with at ACPL. Going through those volumes kept me busy for the afternoon. I photocopied a lot of pages and have a huge number of leads to work with on the matrilineal lines (including a sketchy but intriguing connection to Sir Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen) through the Travers family.
I also got to tell Gran that while a portion of her family has been present in Ireland for 300 years she’s still in that category of Brit transplant to Ireland. She was not amused. She still has high hopes that the Shea’s will prove to be the stereotypical Celts—Irish Catholic to the core and anti-British. She might win out there but one never knows with her family.
August 21, 2011
Last month I attended the Michigan Genealogical Council’s annual Abram’s Genealogy Seminar and Jan Alpert, in the intro for her presentation “How My Michigan Ancestors Have Made Me a Better Genealogist,” hit solidly on one of my largest problems in researching… Coming home and not effectively working through the information I find. So many of us are always on the go and only able to catch time for the trip itself and we forget about the important follow-up–cleaning up those notes, making photocopies understandable when you come back to them, and generally pulling the new information into your research.
So, as I mentioned before, I had been effectively away from my research for almost two full years and the interruption came after a really frenzied period of trying to collect data from my local Family History Center, the Library of Michigan and Allen County Public Library. Evidently in my rushing around and as life took a turn away from genealogy the most I had done was folder the found materials.
Imagine my surprise two years later when I start going through folders and realize… foolishly… that I had a military service record for my 4th great grandfather Lieutenant Hugh Massy who served in the 90th Light Infantry and 33rd Regiments of the British Army (from Record of officers services, 1770-1919). It included date and place of birth, marriage information, and birth information for 5 of their children. Not one bit of it had made it into my database. I remember being thrilled at finding the record but I’m not sure if even then I had time to really look at all the fabulous detail in it. So on the one hand it was like Christmas in July but on the other hand I was mortified. Hence my post to twitter.
So, two important things are changing in my research:
- I’m doing a massive clean-up to see what I have and hopefully I will avoid totally repeating steps
- I am scheduling time to sort out my finds as soon as I get home–while I still know what I have and why it’s relevant.
Both very basic, but both easy to forget in any projects you have to work on part-time.
Learn from my mistakes,