Friday, September 22, 2017
At the bottom of the startup page for Ancestry.com, there is a link to "Visit our other sites." Here is a screenshot of the menu:
Interestingly, Ancestry.com has other websites that are not listed. Genealogy.org is one of those websites. Although, upon examination, it appears to be mostly a "feeder" website but it does have extensive reference and explanation material. Here is an example:
An interesting feature of the Genealogy.org website is the list of "Top Genealogy.org Member Websites." This is a list of 123 websites around the Internet related to genealogy in a number of different languages. Most of these websites have almost no traffic as shown by the "hits" count provided by the listing. Apparently, at some time in the past, websites could apply to join as a member website but the link now shows that feature to be inactive. I couldn't find any history online about the website but it appears that it was once an independent website acquired by Ancestry.com. That was the case with Genealogy.com and I am guessing further that Ancestry.com wanted to make sure that it owned both the .com and the .org websites with the word "genealogy."
Some of the links listed for the websites seem to be broken and some have redirects which I would avoid. In this age of mega websites for genealogy and sweeping searches such as those done by Google make these older listing websites less useful. But they remain interesting artifacts of the way that technology is changing.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
My guess is that FamilySearch will have a lot of partners in the future. Right now in addition to the existing partnerships, FamilySearch is recently added Famicity.com. Here is an introductory video for the new partner.
There is another video linked from their startup page. Here is a quote from the recent announcement by FamilySearch of the partnership.
Famicity is an intuitive, app-based tool. It is simple to use, and encourages more communication between family members. Stories, photos, and videos are easily added and conveniently time stamped. It also allows users to give other family members permission to add to a story.
Today, families are spread out geographically and lean heavily on technology like social media to communicate and share family moments. Websites like Facebook aim to bring families closer together; however, these websites can be overwhelming and lack family focus with all the content being posted by a growing subscription of friends. Famicity is private and allows invited family members to focus on sharing and preserving family-focused content.
Created from the beginning as a social media platform, “Famicity understands the needs of FamilySearch.org users and that's why we've reinvented social media for each and every member of a family to bond, grow, and celebrate their lives privately and securely,” said Famicity co-founder Guillaume Languereau. “Famicity members can already create their family tree on their own. This partnership makes it even easier for FamilySearch members to sign up with their account and automatically upload their family tree into Famicity to start an online family reunion in private.”Presently, the program is free.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
#RootsTech 2018 is now open for registration. This year's theme is Connect. Belong. The conference will be held February 28 through March 3, 2018 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Quoting from the website:
RootsTech is excited to add a theme to the annual conference: Connect. Belong. We love this concept as it encompasses what family history adds to our lives. We understand that the journey of connecting and belonging is different for everyone, and while each of our experiences and journeys is unique, family history connects us in many different ways and helps us feel a sense of belonging.
It’s our goal at RootsTech to advance your personal journey. Come see what’s new at the conference this year, make connections, and discover where you belong.Of course, I will be an Ambassador again this year.
If you are just a casual user of your local public library, you may not be aware of your library's online, digital reference collections. Your library's offerings may vary considerably depending on local funding. For example, The Maricopa County Library District has an extensive online reference section. Here is a screenshot:
Of course, you will need a library card to access the collections. Many of these collections can be accessed from your own home. One of the most extensive collections of genealogical research material in the collection is the Gale Genealogy Connect collection.
Here is a description from the website:
Gale Genealogy Connect features a wide range of comprehensive references and is powered by authoritative information from Genealogical.com – the parent company of Genealogical Publishing and Clearfield Company, leading publishers of works on genealogy and family history. These unique references – available for the first time in a fully searchable format – cover such topics as genealogy best practices; research methods and sources; immigration; royal and noble ancestry; and much more.The Maricopa County Library District has both the Gale Genealogy Connect collection but also the ProQuest.com collection shown above. ProQuest.com is one of the major suppliers of such online reference information. They have a rather impressive free online collection that rivals the FamilySearch Family History Center Portal.
Your library may also have many local and state historical records of interest in your genealogical research. If you happen to live in a small town like I do here in Provo, Utah, your local library's offerings might be very limited.
Fortunately, many larger libraries offer memberships, i.e. library cards, to nonresidents for the payment of a fee. You might check out your county library or a library in a nearby large city. As I have mentioned before, large university libraries also have online collections. However, few of these collections are available by remote access.
Monday, September 18, 2017
|Elizabeth Tanner Will 1763|
Eakle, Arlene H., and James L. Tanner. 2015. The ins and outs of probate for genealogists research guide. Morgan, UT: Family History Expos.
Despite this shorter citation, Holly Hansen was also an author. See also Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Ins-Outs-Probate-Genealogists-Research/dp/1515034097/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1505743520&sr=8-1&keywords=james+tanner+probate)
There is also a book used as a textbook at Brigham Young University entitled as follows:
At the end of this post, I will provide a list of additional books on these subjects. But now it is time to write more specifically about women, property, and inheritance.
The first word that comes to mind when talking about the history of laws in America is diversity. Unfortunately, this term has come to have two radically different definitions: differences in the laws from one city, county or state to another and the employment of different racial, gender and ethnic individuals by law firms. The diversity I am writing about is the difference in laws between different jurisdictions. In fact, every one of the original U.S. Colonies had their own and substantially different laws concerning women, property rights, and inheritance. These differences have been carried over into substantial differences in the laws throughout the 50 states and 3,142 counties or county equivalents.
To get some idea about the scope of jurisdictional diversity in the United States here is a short analysis of the counties and county equivalents in the United States today from Wikipedia: List of United States counties and county equivalents.
Instead of counties, Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes which are functionally similar to counties. Alaska is divided into 19 organized boroughs and a single Unorganized Borough. The United States Census Bureau has divided the Unorganized Borough of Alaska into 10 census areas for federal census and planning purposes. The 38 cities in the state of Virginia are independent cities, which are not considered part of a particular county, and the states of Maryland, Missouri, and Nevada each have one independent city which is not considered part of a particular county. The Census Bureau and the Office of Management and Budget consider the 64 parishes, 19 organized boroughs, 10 census areas, 41 independent cities, and the District of Columbia, though not the Unorganized Borough, to be equivalent to counties for statistical purposes.
|By USA Counties.svg: U.S. Census Bureauderivative work: Abe.suleiman (talk) - USA Counties.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9416002|
Unknowingly, genealogists tend to think of the past as an extension of the present rather than the other way around. I am also guessing that most genealogists view the past with more uniformity than actual historical reality would suggest. This is particularly true about women's rights, property rights and the customs, processes, procedures, laws, and regulations affecting inheritance. Genealogists, like most of the population, also tend to view subjects such as women's rights in the light of recent developments and attitudes. They also tend to view the changes that have occurred most recently as "progress" and additionally filter all writing or discussion on the subject through a heavy-handed censoring mechanism based on vague concepts of "political correctness." Subsequently, there is a danger in writing about a combination of the subjects that anything I write will be controversial.
Never being one to shy away from controversy, I am determined to launch off into a discussion of the interrelationship of these three subjects.
The issue of diversity jurisdiction was addressed in the United States Constitution, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1:
The issue of diversity jurisdiction was addressed in the United States Constitution, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1:
The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;--to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;--to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;--to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;--to controversies between two or more states;--between a state and citizens of another state;--between citizens of different states;--between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.This provision of the United States Constitution was amended by the 11th Amendment:
Amendment XII mention this because genealogical research extends back in time before the formation of the United States and any application of the United States Constitution. At the time of the formation of the United States, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were concerned about the diversity of laws between the various colonies. The United States Supreme Court was set up as the ultimate arbiter between the states. From a genealogical standpoint, it is important to understand both the extent and pervasiveness of the diversity that existed between the colonies with regards to the laws pertaining to women, property, and inheritance.
The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.
This is also an important principle that needs to be understood by any historical researcher including genealogists. For example, I began this post with a screenshot of a will executed by one of my ancestors in Rhode Island in 1763. Here is a quote from an article entitled, "Married Women's Property Laws" from the Law Library of Congress website:
During the nineteenth century, states began enacting common law principles affecting the property rights of married women. Married women's property acts differ in language, and their dates of passage span many years. One of the first was enacted by Connecticut in 1809, allowing women to write wills. The majority of states passed similar statutes in the 1850s.29 Passed in 1848, New York's Married Women's Property Act was used by other states as a model:
AN ACT for the effectual protection of the property of married women.I have left in the footnote references. Note, I have a copy of the will executed by my female ancestor in 1763. This quote from the Library of Congress seems to indicate that Connecticut was the first state or one of the first states to enact laws allowing women to execute wills in 1809. I think we have to be careful as genealogists to sift out historical reality from present-day political correctness. By the way, the statement made by this article from the Library of Congress is the commonly accepted position with regards to early women's rights in America. It is also the reason why I begin this discussion by referring to the issue of jurisdictional diversity.
Passed April 7, 1848.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly do enact as follows:
Sec. 1. The real and personal property of any female who may hereafter marry, and which she shall own at the time of marriage, and the rents issues and profits thereof shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts, and shall continue her sole and separate property, as if she were a single female.
Sec. 2 The real and personal property, and the rents issues and profits thereof of any female now married shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband; but shall be her sole and separate property as if she were a single female except so far as the same may be liable for the debts of her husband heretofore contracted.
Sec. 3. It shall be lawful for any married female to receive, by gift, grant devise or bequest, from any person other than her husband and hold to her sole and separate use, as if she were a single female, real and personal property, and the rents, issues and profits thereof, and the same shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts.
Sec. 4. All contracts made between persons in contemplation of marriage shall remain in full force after such marriage takes place.30
Stay tuned for future installments.
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Since 1996, Canadian, Lorine McGinnis Schulze has been online on the Olive Tree Genealogy website publishing a huge portal to free Ships' Passenger lists, Naturalization Records, Palatine Genealogy, Canadian Genealogy, American Genealogy, Native American Genealogy, Huguenots, Mennonites, Almshouse Records, Orphan Records, church records, military muster rolls, census records, land records and more. The Olive Tree Genealogy has a 3-step Genealogy Finder. Quoting from Lorine's website:
- First the free transcribed genealogy records - there are over 1,900 now. Look for your family ancestors in free genealogy records marked with the Olive Tree Genealogy logo.
- Second the Genealogy tutorials and help files - Genealogy Help on finding your ancestors in census records, land records, ships passenger lists, birth, marriage and death records, and more.
- Third the Genealogy Resource Guides. Genealogy How-to-Guides help you easily find your ancestors as you search ships passenger lists, Huguenots, Native Americans, Canadian Immigration, Palatines and more.
Lorine is also one of the major genealogical bloggers in the world with her Olive Tree Genealogy Blog:
As people become more involved in genealogical research and begin to realize the huge resources online, it is almost inevitable that they come across the bright spots on the internet such as the Olive Tree Genealogy website. She also has an Olive Tree Genealogy YouTube Channel and has written a number of books.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
In a recent post, I discussed some of the law in the United States concerning common-law marriage. After receiving a comment to the post, I realized that there were some major unanswered questions about the impact of common-law marriages on genealogical research. The main issue here is the effect of a marriage on property ownership.Common-law marriages fall into the category of undocumented marriages and could be considered to be quasi-legal. Here is a statement regarding the property rights of women before 1839.
Under the common law legal doctrine known as coverture, a married woman in Great Britain's North American colonies and later in the United States had hardly any legal existence apart from her husband. Her rights and obligations were subsumed under his. She could not own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary. See Wikipedia:Married Women's Property Acts in the United States."In other words, when a woman got married all of her property belonged to her husband. There were some exceptions. Common law provided that a woman owned a "dower" interest in the property of her husband's estate upon his death. A woman could relinquish her dower interest in real property by executing a disclaimer deed. Failure to execute the disclaimer date resulted in the wife's dower interest being preserved and enforceable upon the death of her husband. For example, if the husband sold a piece of real estate during coverture (the existence of the marriage) without the wife's consent, then the wife could enforce her dower interest in the property after her husband's death.
Here is a quote from the Stewart Title Agency in Massachusetts about Dower release. I would suggest that upon reading this explanation you would begin to understand why lawyers, courts, and judges all exist.
The release of "all other interests therein," as appearing in the clause relating to dower and homestead is to be read within the context in which it appears, and it has been held that the language refers only to marital rights and does not extend to convey any other interests in the land, including the fee title. Anttila v. A. E. Lyon Co., 222 Mass. 126, 109 N.E. 950 (1915).
Although such a deed will not pass the title of the spouse who joins in the conveyance for such a limited purpose, if the parties held title as tenants by the entirety, and the spouse who so joins dies before the granting spouse, the title under the deed will be good, inasmuch as the conveyance by the grantor would not have severed the tenancy by the entirety and the death of the other spouse will allow title to flow through that grantor. It is important to remember, however, that in order for this "cure" to work, it must be established that the spouse who joined and the granting spouse were still married to each other when the spouse who had joined in the conveyance died. If the parties had been divorced, the title (or at least a half interest therein) would remain defective, because the divorce would have "severed" the tenancy, transforming it into a tenancy in common, and thereby destroying the survivorship feature. And, the order of death is crucial, because even if the parties remained married, the death by the granting spouse before the death of the joining spouse would, where the parties had held title as tenants by the entirety, cause the entire title to find its way into the hands of the joining spouse, thereby totally destroying the chain of title of the grantee claiming under the granting spouse.Now, it is time to go back to common-law marriage. In essence, none of these property rights exist unless there is a valid marriage. So, assuming that two individuals lived together, how does a genealogist determine that there was a marriage? By the way, the quote above from the title agency does not even address the issue of the validity of the marriage.
The idea of the common-law marriage is to provide a method by which individuals who live together as husband and wife for an extended period of time and have "issue" or children obtain property rights. On the other hand, the restrictions on common-law marriages were designed to prevent people from claiming property rights improperly.
Modern law has modified marital property interests considerably. Beginning in the early 1800s, states began to pass women's property rights laws that modified the claims that a wife had on her husband's property particularly upon the death of the husband. During the same time period, laws concerning the acceptance of common-law marriage also evolved. Many states abolished the recognition of common-law marriage entirely. Whether or not a marriage exists turns out to be amazingly complex.
From a genealogical standpoint, absence of a marriage record does not indicate that the couple was not married. We have to assume that any couple shown to have lived together as husband and wife and particularly those that had children were married absent specific records negating the marriage. There is really no other option. However, a record showing, for example, that the wife signed a disclaimer deed indicates clearly that the couple were married. Other indication of marriage, i.e. coverture, can be found in probate files.
It looks like to me that I am going to have to continue discussing this issue. I don't think I'll make it into a series, however.