Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rules of Thumb for my Family Tree

FWIW: Here are some of the rules I follow when deciding whether or not to include someone in my family tree. This is just off the top of my head.  If I've missed someone or inadvertently implied that I don't consider someone family, please let me know so I can fix it.

1) Publicly post only deceased relatives.
2) When sharing with others, share deceased and any living up to first cousins.
3) Include biological, adopted, foster, etc. relatives and their immediate in-laws: parents, siblings, siblings' spouses. Some exceptions when assisting close cousins with their genealogy. Including generations of relatives for every in-law is just too many people to keep track of. [If I were requested to add a family tree, I probably would because I love my in-laws! 8-) ]

For recently deceased:
4) Don't include all marriages.  Include those that yielded children, the last marriage, marriages mentioned in important sources, like obituaries, etc. This is not hard set.  I tend to ignore it more with ancient relatives, but with relatives recently deceased, I'd rather not advertise someone's difficulty staying married by listing seven spouses.
5) Don't publicly post information concerning mental health, including death by suicide.

6) Where many variations in spelling exist for old families (prior to about 1900?), adopt an American spelling and an immigrant spelling.  For instance Cussen (native Irish ancestors) and Cushing (descendants in the US), or Donley (native Irish ancestors) and Donnelly (descendants in the US).
7) Record a source for all information.
8) Publicly, post only basic information: birth, marriage, death. This is to encourage serious genealogists to contact me for additional information (sources, burial, places of residence, etc.) which I am happy to share (within privacy constraints) and to share information that they may have about the family in question that I do not have.
9) Include individuals ...
Tier 1: for whom primary sources exist (birth, marriage, death certificates, land records, wills, ...)

Tier 2: from living family members closely enough related to know from personal knowledge and family interviews; corroboration with primary sources preferred
Tier 3: some secondary sources, such as census records, obituaries, grave markers, biographies, town histories, etc.
Tier 4: Published, well-researched, well-scrutinized genealogies (such as Douglas, Pierce, Matthew Cushing, ), corroboration with primary sources preferred
Tier 5: Posted genealogies which cite any of the above sources

Don't include:
Posted genealogies/trees with no source citations, or that cite only other posted genealogies, including LDS IGI and AF information, and Rootsweb and other like sites

But ...
Unsourced information can be used to start research that, once substantiated, can be added to my tree. Authors of posted information can be contacted for leads or sources that might lead to substantiated information added to the tree.

10) Respect living family wishes regarding public information, such as fathers of children born outside of a marriage, etc.
11) Don't stir up old family feuds!

Lydia LaBrune Schirmer 1882-1955

Lydia LaBrune is first seen in the family of Jean-Baptiste and Catherine Dooley LaBrune at the age of 13 in the 1895 state census.  In 1900, she is described as adopted. And that is all we knew. Very recently I was contacted by a couple of Lydia's great-grandchildren who had discovered through a living relative that Lydia was believed to have a sister by the name of Verda Moore, who lived in Cedar Rapids in the 1930s. A few hours of research uncovered a good deal of Lydia's origins.

Lydia and Verda and another sister, Bessie, were the children of Emma Gooding and Oscar Arnold.  Emma and Oscar married in about 1879 (they are together in 1880 in the census in East Cascade, Dubuque co.).  The girls were born in about 1880 (Verda), 1881 (Lydia), and 1883 (Bessie).  In 1885 the family is together in Cascade; "Lida" and "Virdia" are both there! According to divorce papers (as reported in the newspaper), Oscar was abusive and abandoned the family in 1885 in Cascade.  In 1887, Emma filed for and was granted a divorce and custody of the kids.  That's the last information I found for them. I couldn't find any more trace of Oscar, Emma, or Bessie. In 1895, Lydia was with the LaBrunes in Jefferson twp and Verda was living with Lewis and Liddie Board and family in Cascade (both in Dubuque co., Iowa). In 1902, Verda married William Gearhart in Dubuque. They had four kids, then William died in 1909. Verda then married Daniel Moore in 1911. I found a newspaper article saying she filed for divorce for cruel treatment in 1920, but apparently they resolved their differences, at least for a while, since they were together as a family in 1930. In 1962, Verda Gearhart was buried next to William Gearhart, so I'm not sure of the history of Verda's relationship with Daniel Moore.

Found more information, regarding Emma Arnold.  She was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Goodwin and Eliza A. Summers.  She is with them in the 1870 census in Cascade. Her father died in about 1882 and is buried in Cascade.  In 1887 her divorce was filed in Sioux co., in the far western side of the state, far from Cascade. Her mother, Eliza Goodwin was there in 1900 and I suspect that Emma had gone to live with her mother who had relocated there. In about 1894 Emma married Lars Peterson and they had four or five children together.  They live next door to Emma's mother in 1900 in Hawarden, in Sioux co.  In the 1900 census, I also found a clue as to how Emma's daughter, Lydia, came to be adopted by Jean-Baptiste and Catherine LaBrune.  A few houses away from the Goodwins and Petersons in 1900 are Caspar and Adaline Luchsinger.  Caspar's first wife was Jean-Baptiste's niece. His second wife, Adaline, was also related to the LaBrune family.  So when Emma gave up or lost her children, Lydia may have found a new family through their Luchsinger neighbors. By 1910, both Emma Peterson's and her mother's families had moved out to California: Emma to East San Diego, Eliza to LA. I believe that Eliza Goodwin died between about 1910 and 1918.  Emma Goodwin Arnold Peterson passed away in 1940 in San Diego.