While reading the comments on last week’s post on my blog and on Facebook, I realized that a follow-up post needed to be written. I would like to explain the difference between my tree on RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project and my other genealogy work and writing. There was some misinterpretation concerning what is being retired.
As a cousin to you, I am terrified that all of your research will disappear.
There is no need to worry about my genealogy work. The blog will continue. Provisions have been taken for the hundreds of hours of work put into my writing so that it will not be lost.
I’ve been attaching the posts to the individuals in my database. By adding the digital file to the scrapbook of the individual in Ancestral Quest, I’m creating easy access to the posts for a person or family group. Compiling and publishing the articles in book form is a future project.
My family tree is also safe. My working copy is on my laptop. The file as well as backups are on my laptop, in Dropbox, on iDrive, on a second laptop, and on an external drive. These are all up to date.
RootsWeb WorldConnect Project
RootsWeb’s WorldConnect was a perfect way to share my entire family tree publicly on the internet and for FREE while also keeping a backup of the latest version of the GEDCOM file. Contact information was included at the top of each page: my email address and links to my blog and my Facebook page. A notice was included warning users of the possibility of errors, requesting credit when my work was used, and inviting collaboration. Navigating the tree was simple and the search feature worked!
I uploaded the latest version of my GEDCOM file as often as needed. In 2017 I did this every week as changes were made to my family tree file while writing weekly posts for this blog. The link to the latest post was included in the notes of the person of interest bringing visitors back to the post long after it was written.
The file was updated by overwriting and not by creating a new file on the site. It was not a collaborative tree like FamilySearch Family Tree, Geni, or WikiTrees. Changes to the file could only be made by uploading an updated file. Before a hardware failure on RootsWeb in March 2016, visitors could leave post-em notes on individuals. Frequently post-ems were posted to living individuals making me aware of missing death information.
It was hard giving up my tree on WorldConnect. Even if it was only last week that it was deleted, it had been put on ice since December 2017 at the time of the first shutdown of the site. I’ve had five years to get used to not having an updated version of my tree online.
Where will I be able to view all of your data in the future?
I’m looking into other possibilities for sharing my tree. The collaborative trees mentioned above are out of the question.
The FamilySearch Genealogies allows the upload of a GEDCOM that becomes part of their collection of tens of thousands of personal family trees, lineages, and other histories. I don’t see this as a solution as I’m assuming that they would not look kindly at receiving updated duplicate files regularly.
As a member of Luxracines, I upload my GEDCOM to their private site (viewable to members only for €20 a year). Luxracines uses TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) to manage and display the uploaded GEDCOMs. The webmaster furnished easy-to-follow directions for the upload that wasn’t complicated but quick. This GEDCOM usually only gets updated when I do work on Luxembourgish families. I updated it today as a test.
TNG might be a solution but would mean maintaining a website and paying for hosting. I would need someone to help me get started…
Another possibility would be to use Ancestry. It’s been several years since I tried to upload my GEDCOM with notes and sources to Ancestry. At the time it failed as the file was over the limit. Currently, I have 117,000 individuals, and a GEDCOM totals 114 MB. I checked Ancestry and the limit is now 500 MB or smaller. With this limit in mind and as a test, I uploaded my tree with all notes and sources today. The first thing I did was to make it private and searchable.
On RootsWeb WorldConnect I never allowed the download of a partial or full GEDCOM as I did not want my work imported into other people’s trees. For this reason, I would keep it private but searchable if shared on Ancestry. I could give people guest access with restricted viewing of information on living people.
My genealogy software, Ancestral Quest doesn’t sync with Ancestry. Any work done offline in AQ or online on Ancestry would have to be reproduced in one or the other tree. Twice as much work and it would require discipline on my part.
I feel it is best to continue working offline in AQ as I have been doing. This would ensure that sources are cited inside AQ. Then routinely (every month, three months, or six months) upload the updated file from AQ to Ancestry and send out new invitations to the persons who may have guest access to the tree.
While writing this, I planted my tree on Luxracines and Ancestry. The second may only be a temporary home for my GEDCOM file as I don’t feel as comfortable with the platform as I did with WorldConnect. Ideas and suggestions are welcome.
Our Meder-Dempsey Family, a GEDCOM file, was uploaded to RootsWeb’s WorldConnect Project on 6 December 2002. It was renamed Opening Doors in Brick Walls in October 2011. The file was continuously updated until December 2017 when the site was taken down for security reasons by Ancestry®. (RootsWeb’s WorldConnect was brought back online in April 2018. All links in posts on this blog are redirected to the new beta site. As of 9 August 2021, WorldConnect was set to read-only and no further GEDCOM uploads are possible.) ~ From my About page on this blog
I recently found this banner at the top of my GEDCOM file on RootsWeb.
Note: WorldConnect family trees will be removed from RootsWeb on April 15, 2023 and will be migrated to Ancestry later in 2023. (More info)
On the “More info” page there isn’t much more information about this other than:
“WorldConnect family trees (last updated on 9 August 2021) will be retired on 15 April 2023 and migrated to Ancestry as a new free-access collection later in the year. For help removing a tree or its content, contact us.”
Last Saturday I sent a message using their contact form with two questions.
Would the individuals’ links redirect to Ancestry‘s new collection?
Can the tree be removed after migration?
A reply came yesterday. Following the standard explanation about the change, two sentences appear to answer my questions.
“Migrating these features will create an opportunity for members to download, update and build more family trees, share posts and their own research. Once migration is complete, there will be no redirects and the files will probably behave similarly to Public Member Trees in Ancestry.”
They did not clearly state that the trees can be deleted from the collection after migration. The only reason I had not deleted my tree on WorldConnect was when they ported the trees (mine on 19 November 2019) I was told that the individuals’ links would redirect to the new URLs. Since I began blogging, hundreds of links to the file have been added to posts. To date, these have been redirected to the beta site. With the planned migration to Ancestry, all links on this blog to my GEDCOM file will be broken links.
Time to Retire the GEDCOM File
The GEDCOM file is outdated. It’s been over five years since the tree on RootsWeb was updated (upload of the file). From that time on errors have been found and corrected and new information has been added to my database.
In November 2019, the formatting of the notes and sources after porting left much to be desired. I have no idea how this will look in the new collection Ancestry has planned. If Ancestry can migrate the GEDCOM file last uploaded to WorldConnect before the December 2017 shutdown, it should “behave” like any GEDCOM file uploaded to Ancestry. However, if the GEDCOM was corrupted when ported to the new site, the result may be less than desired.
This morning I sent a request to have my tree deleted before migration. I did this with a heavy heart. My tree has grown and been pruned during the 20-plus years it has lived on WorldConnect.
I continue to build my database in my genealogy software Ancestral Quest. Backups are kept in Dropbox, IDrive, and on an external drive. I don’t consider Ancestry a good place to store a backup.
The last time I tried to upload my GEDCOM file to Ancestry with notes and sources, I got a message that it was over their limit. I never had problems uploading it to WorldConnect. I resorted to uploading a GEDCOM file – for research purposes only – stripped of notes and sources and made it private but searchable. I have a small public tree on Ancestry, FTDNA, Gedmatch, MyHeritage, and Geneanet with only direct ancestors and no notes or sources as a courtesy to DNA matches.
Friendships and cousinships developed over the years and a week without a post-em was unusual. I’ve missed interacting with people who found their relatives in Opening Doors in Brick Walls on WorldConnect but the connections continue to be made here on my blog of the same name. Ending this on a positive note: retirement isn’t a bad thing.
Family lore, oral or written, makes for interesting storytelling. Sometimes it contains a certain amount of truth. As the stories are passed on from one generation to the next, we lose track of who recounted which part of a story. And oftentimes, misconstrued facts are added to the story. This is the case in the story of the Henry RUPE family’s travels from Maryland to their final destination in Virginia.
Traveling on what was once the Baltimore and Memphis Turnpike, the Rupe caravan crossed the Potomac at Harper’s Ferry in 1796. The caravan included Henry, his wife Catherine, and their family of several sons and daughters… Henry and family journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley and into Rockbridge County, bound for the southwestern section of the state, then rather sparsely settled. When they reached Buffalo Creek, four miles north of Natural Bridge, a great flood overtook them and they were forced to remain for several days… They settled on Buffalo Creek and built a mill there… Early in the year 1800 they left Rockbridge Co. and wound up in Lunenburg Co., VA where they had at least one child before settling on Pelham’s Branch, near Little River, about eight miles southwest of Christiansburg, Montgomery Co., VA.
Note: Parts of the narrative have been omitted as they contain family lore that cannot be substantiated.1
This isn’t meant to expose previous researchers’ work as fallible but to question and verify the evidence.
Is the story that the RUPE family lived in Lunenburg County plausible?
The story of the RUPE family’s travels includes the claim that they were in Lunenburg County when Mary ROOP was born in about 1802. Afterward, they continued on to Montgomery County.
Did the family take a detour to Lunenburg County on their way from Buffalo Creek to Christiansburg? Geographically, it seems unlikely.
Where did the information come from?
Everette Llavon McGREW (1923-2008) gifted me a 169-page revised version (August 2000) of his original 78-page book My Mother Was A Rupe (1995) on 28 January 2002. I requested and received written permission on 28 February 2006 to quote with credit any portion of his book even though he mentions in the preface that he was not copyrighting his work.
How did the book come to be written?
Linda P. (Dickey) ROOP (1943-1994) and Everette L. McGREW had been working on their respective ROOP genealogies when they met in the early 1990s. They decided that with Everette’s help, Linda would write the book on the family. Everett sent copies of his work to her and in January 1993 Linda sent him a rough draft. He returned it to her with updates, corrections, and comments. Linda died of fast-growing cancer in September 1994 at 51, without publishing the book. Everette “attempted to take it from there” and published My Mother Was A Rupe in 1995.
When or where did the Lunenburg claim come from?
Everette wrote on the second page of the book, “The main facts that we know about Henry and his family came from a report that Redmond Ira Roop, a great-grandson of Henry’s, gave at a family reunion in Maryland in 1927.” He continued with the narrative [short version above] without indicating if it was a direct quote or if the report was being paraphrased.
The above story has been repeatedly shared online but…
Who was the storyteller?
I’ve gone back and forth trying to figure out who may have written the narrative. Which parts came from Redmond ROOP and which parts from Everette, Linda, or another storyteller?
Did Redmond ROOP attend a family reunion in 1927 and give a speech or report?
On 21 August 1927, a Roop family held its first reunion at Dunkard Meeting House, Meadow Branch, Carroll County, Maryland. The following day, the event was reported on in The Evening Sun (Hanover, PA). Redmond I. ROOP was not present.2
Did Redmond ROOP speak at a family reunion at any other time?
On 2 September 1928, the same Roop family held its second annual reunion. Once again the event was reported in The Evening Sun. This time the subtitle read: “Redmond Roop, Christianburg, Va., Gives Interesting Address At Meadow Branch Church Where Clan Meets” and further notes that Mr. ROOP had only learned of the reunion the month before.3(Christiansburg was misspelled in the newspaper headline.)
In 1796 he moved his family to Virginia and settled on Buffalo Creek and established a mill and made his living there for several years when he later moved to Montgomery County where he purchased large tracts of land.
Was the information Redmond ROOP gave at the reunion family lore or did he do actual research?
It’s been 95 years since Redmond Ira ROOP (1869-1947), a lawyer from Christiansburg, Virginia, gave his presentation at the family reunion in Carroll County, Maryland. Did he keep a written copy of his presentation? Did Linda or Everette obtain a copy?
Several claims by Redmond ROOP in the article are false.
“Henry Rupe, as it was first spelled, came from Germany in the early 17th century, having lived along the Rhine river, and landed in Baltimore.”
17th century? That should ring some warning bells! Henry’s parents came to America with three young sons from Oberhoffen (Northern Alsace, present-day France) and arrived in Philadelphia on 20 October 1752 on the ship “Duke of Wirtenburg” (Württemberg) that sailed from Rotterdam and Cowes under Captain Daniel Montpelier.4,5,6
“A son Oscar moved with his family to Missouri and later became a prominent judge.”
Redmond must have been mistaken about this. Henry RUPE and his wife did not have a son named Oscar. The furthest west that any of the sons went was (in order of distance) Pulaski County VA (John), Lee County VA (Jacob), Menifee County KY (William), and Wayne County IN (George).
Of more importance, the newspaper article of the 1828 Roop reunion gives no mention of the family’s stay in Lunenburg County. In all likelihood, Redmond was not the person who added that place to the travels of the RUPE family.
What do we know about the travels of the family?
On 23 April 1793 Henry RUPE of Baltimore County, Maryland, sold Rhineharts Folly in Pipe Creek Hundred to Jacob BOBLITZ. Henry’s wife Catherine relinquished her dower rights. The indenture was recorded on 14 May 1793.7
Henry RUPE and Catherine Barbara NOLL left Maryland in 1793 with five children and made at least one stop along the way in Rockbridge County before continuing on to their final destination.8
An error or omission in the 1793 land deed called for the necessity of the land deed to be recorded again in 1798. Henry ROOP of Rockbridge County left his mark on 19 May 1798 and the indenture was recorded in Baltimore County on 15 September 1798.9 This is proof of his residency.
On 13 January 1801, Henry ROOP was in Rockbridge County when he made the following oath concerning his sister-in-law Polly NULL (aka NOLL):10
Rockbridge County To Wit This Day Came before me a Justice of the Peace for said County Henry Roop and made oath that Polly Null who is about to be married to James Hart is of his own knowledge above the age of Twenty one years — Certified under my hand this 13th Jany 1801 Alex Sheilds
The family was in Montgomery County, Virginia by 1804 when Henry bought land and was first seen on the Personal Property Tax list of the county.11,12
Where did the claim of the family being in Lunenburg really come from?
Apparently, the information that Mary “Polly” ROOP was born in Lunenburg County was given by her oldest son Crockett ROOP in 1868 when he reported her death.
Recently, while searching for another record, I stumbled upon the 1868 register of deaths for Montgomery County. Polly ROOP died on 17 November 1868 in Montgomery County at the age of 66 years of heart disease. Her parents are correctly listed as H. & Catherine ROOP. Crockett ROOP was the informant.13
Where was Polly ROOP born? In the column for “Where born?” the first entry in the register is Montgomery. About a dozen entries follow with ” or ditto marks. In the entry for Washington PARISH, a new place was entered: Lunenburg Co. The next two entries are for ROOP individuals with Crocket ROOP as the informant. Ditto marks indicate the birth was in Lunenburg Co.
The first entry is for “Henrietta ROGERS,” age 28, daughter of “Saml & P. ROOP” (Samuel ROOP and Martha “Patsy” TOWNSLEY). This is Harriett L. F. ROOP, wife of William P. ROGERS. The parents match. The age is a match. The married name matches. The marriage record shows that Harriett was born in Montgomery County.14 Her father Samuel was a brother of Polly ROOP. Crockett was her first cousin and should have known that her name was Harriett and not Henrietta and that she was born in Montgomery.
Further, the entry following Polly’s is for “Zepha WILLIS” with the informant being Chris WILLIS. This is Zelpha DOBBINS who married Christopher WILLIS in 1827 in Montgomery.15 Zelpha was the daughter of Thomas DOBBINS and Mary RATLIFF, a couple who lived in Montgomery County at the time of her birth.
I believe the ditto marks are NOT meant to indicate Lunenburg is the place of birth for Harriett, Polly, and Zelpha. Crockett ROOP and Christopher WILLIS didn’t give incorrect information; the clerk took a shortcut and didn’t fill in Montgomery as the county of birth. See footnote.16
The person before Mary on the death register (her niece Harriet) and the person after Mary (Zelpha) were both born in Montgomery County. Is it safe to say Mary was also born in the same county and NOT in Lunenburg County?
Was Samuel ROOP born in 1801 or 1803 in Montgomery County?
As seen above, Mary ROOP was born in about 1802 per the age listed on her death record. Her brother Samuel ROOP was born in Montgomery County according to his death record.17 Was he younger or older than Mary?
This question is hard to answer. Per the age at death listed in the register, he would have been born about 1803. The year 1801 is found in a published book and on the memorial marker of Samuel’s parents.
Louise Roop Anderson Akers used the proceeds from her book The Family Rub, Rup, Rupe, Roop, Roope (2001) to buy a memorial marker for the spot believed to be the final resting place of Henry RUPE and his wife Catherine Barbara NOLL. Although it includes the names of all of their children only Henry, Catherine, their youngest son Joseph and some of his family were buried in the Henry & Catherine Rupe Family Cemetery outside of Riner, Virginia.
Louise gifted me a hardcover revised copy of her book. The year of birth for Samuel (1803) is crossed out and 9-4-1801 (Sep 4, 1801) was written in by hand by Louise. She made several corrections to his family group suggesting she may have received information from a family member. She likely used this information for the memorial marker that has Samuel’s year of birth as 1801.
The RUPE family went from Rockbridge to Montgomery
The Henry RUPE family didn’t take a detour to Lunenburg County after leaving Rockbridge County and coming to Montgomery County. They took the direct route others took before them, traveling the Great Valley Road.
The evidence of the trail they took was found in tax lists, land deeds, and a marriage record proving that Henry RUPE aka ROOP was in Rockbridge County from 1794 until 1801. He was then found in tax lists from 1804 until he died in Montgomery County proving his residence there from 1804 to 1845. In 1802 and 1803 Henry Rupe was not on the Montgomery County PPT lists.
The story passed down from one generation to the next was enhanced. An event gleaned from a death record was the only evidence that the family might have lived in Lunenburg. By scrutinizing the entire page of the death register and considering where the information came from, I believe an error in the death records of Mary ROOP and two other persons was unintentionally made by a clerk.
Can evidence other than the poorly documented births of Samuel and Mary be found to set the record straight and confirm the RUPE/ROOP family was in Montgomery County as early as 1802? What’re two years in the lives of our ancestors who lived over 200 years ago? Two years make a difference in debunking this family lore.
Everette L. McGrew, My Mother Was A Rupe (1995, revised copy dated August 2000), p. 2. ↩
The Evening Sun, (Hanover, Pennsylvania), A Publisher Extra Newspaper, “Roop Family Holds First Reunion,” Monday 22 Aug 1927, p. 6, col. 3-4. (https://www.newspapers.com/image/520626438 : accessed 22 October 2022). ↩
Annette Kunsel Burgert, Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America (Camden Press, Camden, Maine, 1992), pg. 413-414, entry #409 for Rubb, Joh. Jacob of Oberhoffen. ↩
Dr. Friedrich Krebs, Eine Liste deutscher Auswanderer nach den amerikanischen Kolonien aus Zweibrücken in der Pfalz 1750-1771, citing Rubb, Jacob, von Oberhofen (Kr. Weißenburg, Els.) mit Weib und 3 Kindern 1752 ↩
MDLandRec.Net – A Digital Image Retrieval System for Land Records in Maryland, database with images, Maryland State Archives, Annapolis (online http://mdlandrec.net/), Baltimore County Court (Land Records), WG LL, p 157-158 [2 images], MSA CE 66-86, 1793 land deed for 100 acres (Rheinharts Folly) Henry Rub to Jacob Boblits (accessed 5 March 2016). ↩
Personal Property Tax lists of Rockbridge, Botetourt, and Montgomery counties were consulted. Henry was found in Rockbridge from 1794 to 1800. There is a possible entry for 1793 for Henry but the surname was spelled RUPERT. ↩
MDLandRec.Net, Baltimore County Court (Land Records), WG 56, p 39-40 [2 images], MSA CE 66-106, 1798 land deed for 100 acres (Rheinharts Folly) Henry Rub to Jacob Boblits (accessed 5 March 2016). ↩
Henry first shows up on the Montgomery PPT lists in 1804. The 1801-1803 gap indicates a possible stopover while traveling from Rockbridge to Montgomery. The only county between these two places was Botetourt where no listing for Henry was found. ↩
“Registers of marriages, 1854-1902, births, 1853-1868, 1871, and deaths, 1853-1868, 1871, 1889,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/361834), microfilm of original records at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg, Virginia, Film 32631, DGS 7724885, Register of deaths, 1853-1868, 1871, 1889 (two entries for 1912), image 355 of 360, Death Register 1868, entry 38, Polly Roop, 17 Nov 1868, heart disease, age 66, H & Catherine Roop, b. & d. Montgomery Co., informant Crocket Roop. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BK-LWCT-1?i=354&cat=361834 : accessed 19 October 2022). ↩
“Virginia, U.S., Marriage Registers, 1853-1935,” (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/62154/), citing Virginia, Marriage Registers, 1853–1935 at the Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia., Montgomery County Marriage Register 1867, page 220, line 70, 27 Jun 1867 Wm P Rodgers and Harriett L. F. Roop, both born Montgomery, married by C. A. Miller (accessed 19 October 2022). “.” ↩
“Register of marriages, Montgomery County, Virginia, 1777-1853,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film 32633, DGS 7579015, Index of marriage register, 1777-1853 — Register of marriages, 1777-1853, image 445 of 673, 24 Jul 1827, Christopher Willis and Zilpha Dobbins, Thomas Dobbins father and security (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99XF-F6ST?i=444&cc=4149585&cat=361831 : accessed 20 October 2022). ↩
More information about how the death register was created is needed. It is in alphabetical order, not chronological, line numbers are not consecutive, and all entries are written in the same handwriting. This is an indication that the information was copied at a later date. In the original register, the clerk likely assigned a certain number of spaces for each letter of the alphabet. As some lines were not used, these numbers would be missing on the copied page. ↩
“Death registers, 1853-1906 (Virginia)” browse-only images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/780106), Virginia Bureau of Vital Statistics, citing microfilm of the original records at the Virginia State Library at Richmond, Virginia., Film 2048578, DGS 4225402, Montgomery County, 1853-1896, image 133 of 698, Register of Deaths, np, 1858, line 14, Samuel Roope, May 26, inflammation of bowels, age 55, parents Henry & Catherine Roop, born Montgomery, consort and informant Martha Roop. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6WM4-7Z?i=132 : 10 October 2022). ↩
By the end of 2021, I’d written over a million words. Probably three times that many if you take into account edits and re-writes.
As of yesterday, 682 posts were written in nine years. They’ve been viewed 307,593 times by 170,438 visitors.
I’m 6 followers shy of 600!
Before I started blogging, I concentrated mostly on the census, birth, marriage, and death records in my genealogy research. When I started to write the stories I realized my early research had gotten into a rut. Actually, I’d noticed this earlier on, and deciding to start this blog helped me to grow and change.
Over the past three years, the stats on my blog have been going down. I wrote fewer posts as the priorities in my life changed. This has a lot to do with the coronavirus pandemic we’ve been living through. I don’t think the downward trend has hurt my blog.
Looking Toward the Future
Last year as I reviewed blog posts from my first year, I crafted missing source citations (learning while doing) and added them to my database. As I worked on these, research questions I hadn’t thought of came up. It was hard to NOT re-write some of the posts. I’ve saved the questions and hopefully the answers for future posts.
When you’re on a journey, it’s not always smooth sailing. There are canceled flights, delayed trains, and missed buses. My love for genealogy research remains the same. The journey continues, even if the road gets a bit bumpy.
The things I’ve learned over the past nine years have taught me to be a better genealogist, researcher, and writer. I’m going into year 10 motivated and determined to open doors in brick walls by using all the skills that blogging has brought me.
No goals or plans for writing were promised for 2022. Seven posts were published during the year. Of the seven, only four were articles about research and DNA while the remaining three were stats for the new year, blogiversary, and ancestors’ count. My blog was pretty quiet but I was still busy.
During the past year, I worked on adding source citations to the blog posts I wrote in 2014 for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. At the same time, I fixed some of the images, resizing them and adding watermarks. I also created a featured image for each post. Being new to blogging in 2014, I hadn’t used this feature.
Each Sunday I shared the link to the revised post of the week on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Unfortunately, my email followers didn’t get notifications as these were not NEW posts.
The revised posts were well received in Facebook groups for genealogy with many distant cousins letting me know their connection to our common ancestors.
Making my life easier…
…out with the bad, in with the new.
I joined Twitter in 2015 to share blog posts and follow genealogy friends. Traffic from Twitter grew to about one a day in 2017 but dropped off from there. I deactivated my Twitter account at the end of October 2022 and removed the feed from my blog. It hasn’t been missed it.
I joined Instagram in January 2021 but didn’t really do much with it. In 2022 it was time to use it to share content from my blog. I resized the featured images for the 2014 posts to fit the Instagram format and shared the entire #52Ancestors series during the year. I love the way they look on my profile page!
I began using the free online version of PicMonkey to clean up images and add watermarks towards the end of 2014. Then in 2017 when they locked down some of the features I used, I began paying for the service. In late September 2022, I tried Canva and found that I could do everything I’d been doing with PicMonkey – for free – and canceled the subscription. Featured images for the last quarter of my 52 Ancestors posts were made with Canva.
What’s coming in 2023
Genealogy has been a hobby for 30 years. I’ve evolved during those three decades. As I’ve strived to learn from others, I’ve become a better genealogist. I take more time to research efficiently, record and cite accurately, and analyze the evidence. My blog has become an extension of my research method, a writing tool used to help evaluate the research.
My blog isn’t monetized and blogging isn’t a job. I won’t be making plans or promises for my blog but will reveal a few ideas I have to start off the year.
❦ While revising the 2014 posts, I discovered stories that could be told. I’ve been working on drafts for several of these and hope they will inspire me to become more productive in writing posts.
❦ In a couple of weeks, I’ll be celebrating my 9th blogiversary and will give a brief review of this adventure.
❦ On Valentine’s Day, I’ll bring you the Ancestor Score for the 10th time.
❦ March is going to be about some strong women in my family tree.
We’ll see how it goes from there.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein
Stats for the year 2021 show I haven’t been as productive as the pre-COVID years, 2019 and 2018, but staying on par with 2020 by writing 35 posts compared to 33 in 2020. Views were much lower at a bit over 34,000 compared to the past three years when they were 40,000+. The number of visitors in 2021 was lower but my followers grew to 577.
By the end of November, I finished writing about half of my maternal fifth great-grandparents. This avenue will not be followed up on any time soon. This was decided at the end of November when I wrote…
I took a break from writing in December hoping to come into the New Year with more energy and enthusiasm. Our lives, however, are often influenced by things we cannot control.
Mom’s husband died unexpectedly early in December. The month was spent helping her get through the first weeks of once again being on her own. I was suddenly made aware of the fact that I need to prepare for my own or my spouse’s death.
Focusing on the American families
Still, with all the behind-the-scenes goings-on in our lives, I hope to do more research and write blog posts on my paternal lines that have been in America for 250 years and longer.
There are no goals, no promises, or any kind of schedule for my blog posts in 2022. With less than usual time for genealogy, I’ve become more conscientious about keeping a log via entries in the Research Manager of Ancestral Quest and noting results that might make interesting reading on my blog.
Amy Johnson Crow started my blogging journey in 2014 with her very first edition of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. I did three years of #52Ancestors (not consecutively). Yesterday, just to get some fresh ideas, I signed up for the 2022 edition and was delighted to read that she is changing things up a bit this year. I may try her new spin on the challenge…
Wishing you beautiful moments, treasured memories, and all the happiness a heart can know. Happy New Year 2022!
The Ancestors series is taking on a new look and perspective.
I finished writing about all of my children’s 5th great-grandparents in January of 2018. Those posts were part of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge. I’d planned to continue with the next generation, their 6th great-grandparents, with my series The Ancestors but dropped the ball several times.
Family history research will never be finished or ready to publish. Share what you have, make corrections and additions, write about your ancestors. Yes, it probably will remain a work in progress or a draft of a family book. By sharing what you think is incomplete, you may reach someone who has the missing information or the key to open the door in your brick wall.
The Ancestors – 9th Generation
The list of 6th great-grandparents is LONG. I’ve spent a lot of time researching a few of them, as seen in the number of posts I’ve written for the maternal ancestors (my side of our children’s tree) at the end of the list. Ancestor numbers in bold indicate those that have been featured on this blog.
Fourteen couples are brick walls, i.e. names are not known, and fifteen couples have already been featured. That leaves 99 known couples who have been looked into (some research done) who still need to be written up.
Blogging has helped me to improve my research skills. As I worked on the posts, I found that I was doing deeper and more thorough research into all couples’ children, siblings, and parents. This was taking up a lot of time as I documented each new piece of evidence. New research questions came up as the records were analyzed. Interesting facts were found and asked to be researched further – taking me down some very interesting rabbit holes.
At a rate of one post a week, it would take two years to get this generation of ancestors done. Researching, analyzing documentation, citing sources, and putting everything together to write the post (as I have been doing them) now takes much longer than a week.
The length of my posts has also become an issue. I need to choose between too much information in one post, writing multiple posts, or trying a new concept.
I’ve decided that for the 3/4 of my children’s tree that is Luxembourgish, I will be featuring the marriage record of each couple and a list of known children. The records will be more easily located for their maternal side as they are from the mid-1700s to about 1800. For their paternal side, these will be records from the early to mid-1700s. If they are non-existent, I will have to use substitutes to “prove” the marriage. The Genealogy Sketch box will be included at the end of each post, bringing together all articles written for the direct line of the ancestral couple to my children.
I’m thinking of working my way up the list from the bottom to the top, starting with ancestors 494 & 495: Sébastian LANSER and Maria Catharina HASTERT. Hopefully, this will get me back to blogging and give me a little more time for the other important things in my life.
In September 2020 I participated in the Research Planning Magic Challenge hosted by Julie Cahill Tarr in a private Facebook group.
Participants ranged from beginners to advanced genealogists. Even though there were a little over 150 members, the group worked well together. Each participant focused on their own research project. The group remained positive as members helped each other by reviewing the day’s assignment, giving suggestions, and useful resources.
During the 5-day genealogy challenge, we learned to craft a research question, evaluate the background information, brainstorm ideas for records (even if non-existent), and set up a research plan.
This is my research question, the background information, and the research plan developed from the brainstorming.
Was William DEMPSEY (b. abt. 1779) who married Martha LANDRUM in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1799, the same man as William DEMPSEY (b. bet. 1771-1780 per 1840 census) who married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831 and found on the 1840 census for Noble County, Indiana, where he died in 1845?
William(1) DEMPSEY, son of Susannah (maiden name unknown) DEMPSEY and an unknown father, was born about 1779 in Virginia. He married Martha “Patsy” LANDRUM in 1799 in Amherst VA with his mother’s permission.
They had 6 children who lived to adulthood as seen in probate and chancery records. He was named on the 1820 census; no tick was made for his age group. His wife was named in the 1830 census. After his wife died in 1834, newspapers in Ohio were “requested to publish the foregoing (wife’s death), for the information of Mr. William Dempsey, the husband of the deceased, who is supposed to be somewhere in that State.”
William(2) DEMPSEY born bet. 1771-1780 married Jane CALHOUN in Gallia County, Ohio, in 1831. They were the parents of 6 children mentioned in an affidavit relative to his will. His children’s places of birth show he moved from Ohio to Indiana about 1833-1835 (a coincidence that this overlaps with the published death notice of Martha in the Ohio newspapers?). He died in Noble County, Indiana in 1845. No records have been found for him before 1831 although a son was born about 1822 in Gallia County, Ohio.
I’ve known for 20 years that William(1) of Amherst went to Ohio and never returned.
Shared Clustering of my AncestryDNA turned up a match who descends from William(2) of Indiana. The match is in a cluster that goes back further than William(1) of Amherst has been traced – to Barnett Dempsey of Spartanburg, South Carolina. I have 2 clusters for this potential ancestor – possibly for him and his wife OR for his parents. I was trying to find the connection between William(2) of Noble and Barnett of SC when I ran into the brick wall. William(2) “appears” in Gallia OH for his 1831 marriage with no records found prior. I wondered if he might be my 4th great-grandfather who “disappeared” in Ohio after 1820 and before his wife died in 1834.
At this time no records have been found that would definitely prove William(1) and William(2) are two persons – no records placing both men in different places at the same time.
Originally formatted to include a column for Date (search performed) on the left and a column for Notes at the right, the table was not WordPress friendly.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
1800-1958 – Ohio, Marriages, 1800-1958 at FamilySearch Historical Records – free; Index. Name index to marriage records from the state of Ohio. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and some FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Marriage record for William(2) DEMPSEY
Was William(2) married 1822 or earlier as a son was born abt. 1822 in Gallia
Chancery Records: Amherst Co., VA
Chancery records have recently gone online for this county. Do they cover the period following William(1)’s wife’s death? The probate, chancery, land deeds, etc. from a cousin who did courthouse research includes photocopies of records found. But were all records found and/or copied?
Case files (digitized) for Amherst are presently only available up to about 1836.
NOTE: This was checked when the records for Amherst were added. The file is indexed (as of Sept 2020) but not yet digitized.1848-03 Original Case No. 024. Now available. Needs to be transcribed.
Presumption of death – law in Virginia for the 1830s period?
Would there be records other than the administrator’s bond, inventory of the estate, sale of land that would indicate William(1) was deceased when his estate was administered?
DNA matches(1) Re-new contact with the match on AncestryDNA that lead to William(2). Would he consider sharing his paternal ICW matches for research purposes? At this time only two matches have been proven to be descendants of William(2). Other cousins may have matches I am not seeing.
Analysis of DNA data in Genome Mate Pro, master repository.
War of 1812 Pension Record
Pension records need to be checked as William(2) is seen on Find A Grave as a veteran of the War of 1812. If this was the case, his widow might have tried to obtain a pension.
War of 1812 Veteran
William(2) DEMPSEY is on a list of veterans for the War of 1812 (see photo on Find A Grave)Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 September 2020), memorial page for William Dempsey (15 Feb 1770–17 Aug 1845), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46143160, citing Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana, USA; Maintained by Kay Cynova (contributor 47064119).
Cosperville Cemetery, Wawaka, Noble County, Indiana
Collection not loading 21/9/20. Still not loading 9/1/21: We’re sorry, this page is temporarily unavailable.
Following the Research Plan
After setting up the research question, reviewing the known information, and drawing up the research plan, I set everything aside.
Since the preliminary work has been done and recorded in writing, I can always come back to the research question to work on as I have time.
As the Amherst County Chancery record I mentioned above is now available, it will be the first thing I’ll pursue in more detail. I’ve skimmed through the 36 images but a transcription of the pages needs to be done to save time and get all pertinent information recorded.
I’m hoping that other DEMPSEY cousins will become interested in this research question.
I’d love to hear from any DEMPSEY cousins who have DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas as this is where the descendants of Barnett DEMPSEY were found. Also, DNA matches with DEMPSEY lines coming out of Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri where descendants of William(2) DEMPSEY lived. It is always possible that the matches share DNA from an as yet unknown distant “common” ancestor.
What did I miss in the brainstorming part? Any suggestions as to other resources that might help bring me closer to the answer. Were William(1) DEMPSEY and William(2) DEMPSEY the same person or two different individuals?
The year 2020 got off to a good start on my blog with The Ancestors series. The plan was to get back to working on my children’s 6th great-grandparents on a more regular basis AND write a single post about each set. The WOOD, McGRAW, HONEGGER, and WISEMAN 6th great-grandparents (all on my paternal side) were done before Luxembourg went into COVID19 lockdown in mid-March. As these distant ancestors become more difficult to research and write about, a single post is not always feasible as seen in my having to break up the HONEGGER post into two parts.
A few how-to posts on using the block editor on WordPress, Luxembourg birth and marriage records, and an updated post on transferring AncestryDNA raw DNA files to Gedmatch got me to the end of the year.
Posts, Views, and Viewers
As you can see by the year in review, 2020 was not as productive as previous years on my blog. I wrote 33 posts compared to 50 in 2019 and 51 in 2018. Views were a bit lower than in the past two years but still 40,547. A total of 23,348 viewers visited my blog during the year. The number of followers grew from 500, a milestone reached in December 2019, to 544 by the end of 2020.
Even though it was quiet on my blog during the summer months, I was still busy.
Mom’s AncestryDNA results came in a few days before the first lockdown. I went through each of the steps I’d set up for my brother’s and my own test. The matches were clustered using Jonathan Brecher’s Shared Clustering Tool and notes with the cluster numbers were transferred to Ancestry. The raw DNA file was uploaded to FTDNA, MyHeritage, and Gedmatch. All DNA data (from the four sites) was imported into Genome Mate Pro, my major repository for DNA matches, trees, notes, correspondence, chromosome segments, mapping, and analysis.
I spent several Mondays in Walferdange at the Luxracines archive working with two other ladies from our genealogy society. With the archive being closed to the public, we had time to work on the inventory of the books in our collection, set up a classification system, and labeled all books with identifying numbers. The library was ready to receive visitors on an appointment basis due to COVIC19 restrictions. But before long we were once again under a soft lockdown and then a more strict lockdown at the end of the year. Other members of Luxracines were busy extracting marriages that took place in Belgium for people born in Luxembourg under the direction of our president Rob Deltgen.
I spent 241 hours (121 days out of 365) riding my racing bike with my husband. My longest activity was 114 kilometers. I rode a total of 5,657 kilometers while he chalked up 10,100 kilometers.
And still, I had time to keep up with new DNA matches. I developed a new color system for my AncestryDNA matches. It is so brilliant that I plan on sharing it in a future post. What I had before was good but this is even better – and transferred over to chromosome mapping it clearly shows from which of my father’s four grandparents matches with MRCAs are coming from.
What’s coming in 2021
Along with the last mentioned, I’d like to write about DNA discoveries and highlight the tools I’ve been using.
I hope I will be inspired by my mother’s DNA matches to work on my children’s 6th great-grandparents who have not yet been introduced here.
With two of her five children tested, Mom’s results include one 2C1R, three 3C2R, three 3C3R, and all other matches being “4th cousins or more distant.” Mom was an only child, had only three first cousins (1 paternal and 2 maternal), and her entire ancestry lies in the “greater” Luxembourg area. Clusters of matches include descendants of Luxembourg and German (from areas once part of Luxembourg) emigrants who for the most part settled in the US.
One FOURNELLE post still needs to be written on my 5th great-grandparents Pierre FOURNELLE (1713-1765) and Jeanne NEU (1723-1783) to complete the line between my grandmother Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE (1909-2005) and her most distant FOURNELLE ancestor.
These are things I would like to work on in 2021 but I’m not setting goals. 2020 taught us to slow down and enjoy what we can as long as we can. The year also brought blessings in the form of a granddaughter, our first grandchild.
Happy New Year 2021. May it be filled with hope and a brighter future.
WordPress would like us to believe that footnotes are not as popular as they once were and that linking directly to the source is much easier. This might be the case for many blogs but serious writers, including genealogists, need to cite their sources, i.e. include citations in their blog posts.
There are several ways to integrate citations into our writing. In-text or parenthetical citations interrupt the flow of our writing and our followers’ reading. On the other hand, a reference outside the main text to the source of information (or even a comment for consideration) adds professionalism to our research and writing. These references are footnotes.
Cathy, I learned a new trick you might like. It’s a little bit faster than how you have been doing it.
Amberly pointed me to an article on Markdown and a footnote cheat on the Markdown Quick Reference Cheat Sheet. After adding [^1] where the footnote number should be, a new line starting with [^1]:followed by the source citation is added below the line or paragraph. When published the Markdown functions are converted to HTML code. All of the [^#] become superscript numbers with links to the footnotes. The [^#]: with citations are listed at the bottom of the post as footnotes with a link back to the original reference. Quick and easy.
The New WordPress Editor: Block Editor
In the last few years, WordPress has been working on and promoting the Block Editor on its platform. The Classic Editor is still available although accessing it is a bit tricky. We’ve been told that the Classic Block in Block Editor can be used instead of the Classic Editor. But will the Classic Block also one day disappear?
In the past few days, my friend Amy Cohen of Brotmanblog has been talking to the support people at WordPress about the problems she is having with footnotes in the Block Editor. What she came away with was that footnote functionality is not a top priority at WordPress and the ability to use Markdown is also disappearing. This is hard to believe as the Block Editor includes a Markdown Block.
If you search online for articles on how to add footnotes to blog posts you will find either how-to’s on adding and using footnote plugins or creating footnotes with HTML code. Plugins are out of the question for the free-plan users on WordPress and HTML code is, for most people, too complicated.
Preparing for the unavoidable
The fate of the Classic Editor, now only available on the WP-Admin page, is at this time unknown. We need to prepare for the day we can no longer use it.
Presently, Markdown is a standard feature of the built-in plugins on WordPress.com sites with the free plan. Even if WordPress doesn’t get rid of Markdown on the free-plan sites, it isn’t compatible with the new WordPress Editor. This is one of the reasons Amy got in touch with support.
Until two days ago, I had not bothered to look at the Block Editor. I’ve been using the Classic Editor for nearly seven years and have finally developed a routine that works for me. Learning how to use the blocks is not as easy as the young ones at WordPress would like us to believe. This is my first post written in the new editor.
Adding Footnotes in the Block Editor
After a bit of searching, reading, and experimenting, I worked out this routine to add footnotes to a post in the new editor.
The main function needed is Page Jumps, the term WordPress uses for the advanced HTML anchor. This is the same function as bookmarks in Microsoft Word. Although the feature is called HTML anchor, we won’t be working with HTML code.
To make this simple, let’s pretend we have a post in the Block Editor ready to publish and all it’s missing is the footnotes. We want to make it easy for our readers who want to consult the citations while reading our post to switch between the post and the list of sources. This requires linking to and from the list.
The routine to add footnotes and sources to the post
Add footnote numbers to your post. This can be a 1 or , in regular font or smaller text slightly above the normal line of type (superscript) – whichever format you prefer. For superscript, highlight your footnote number, click on the down arrow in the top toolbar, and choose superscript. Do this with all footnote numbers.
Add the citation list. For our list of citations, we need a List block. Add it below the first paragraph with a footnote. In the top toolbar choose a numbered list.
With your cursor in the List block, scroll to the bottom of the right sidebar, click the down arrow open the Advanced option. In the HTML anchor box enter fn. This will be your anchor or bookmark for the footnote list. The List block is now ready for citations to be added.
Add the source citations to the list. With your List block below the paragraph with the first footnote, click into the List block and add the citation for footnote . At the end of the citation, leave a space and add a return arrow symbol – ↩
Using the down button on your toolbar, move the List block down below the next paragraph with a footnote. Add the citation. Repeat to the end of the article.
Add the link to the source list to all footnote numbers. Highlight the footnote number (including brackets if used), click on the Link symbol in the top toolbar or Ctrl+K, type #fn in the pop-up and return. Repeat with each footnote number.
Add an anchor to the text with a footnote. Each paragraph with a footnote requires an anchor to jump from the citation list back to the text. Go to the first paragraph with a footnote, add fnref-1 as an anchor (same procedure as with the fn anchor in List block). Repeat with each footnote changing only the number.
Recap of what we’ve done so far. All footnote numbers are formatted and linked (#fn) to the List block (anchor fn). The citation list is complete, anchors back to the text are in place (fnref-1, etc.), and we can now add links back to the text with the footnotes.
Add links to the end of each citation in the source list. At the end of the first citation, highlight the return arrow symbol ↩, add the link #fnref-1 back to the anchor. Repeat with each citation. #fnref-2, #fnref-3, etc.
Add a Separator block above the List block. Place the List block with the citations at the end of your post. To separate it from your post, add a Separator block. Choose Wide Line as the style and choose a color. (I believe white may be the default color and if your background is white, no line will be seen in your Separator block) Following the Separator line, you could also add a heading or paragraph titled sources, references, etc.
What this looks like when published
Caveat. There are some limitations to this procedure. Only one anchor can be used per block. If more than one footnote is in a paragraph, you can only use one anchor. Example: If , , and  are the footnotes in one paragraph, I would suggest always using the lowest or highest number consistently (fnref-5 or fnref-7) as an anchor.
Speeding up the process
Once you understand the routine, there are some things you can do to speed up the process.
If you write directly in the WordPress editor, footnote numbers can be added and formatted to superscript while you write.
You can place the anchors for the footnote reference number (fnref-1) in the paragraph block while writing.
The List block can be positioned below your writing area and citations added as you write.
Consider creating a Reusable block for the source list including links to each anchor for the return arrows to take the reader back to the text. If you average 3 or 20 footnotes and citations per post, create a List block (1. Source. ↩) with your average number of footnotes and save it as Sources.
You can also group blocks. I’m going to try grouping the Separator block, a title for the source list, and the List block for the sources. Then after the three are grouped as one block, I will make it a reusable block. I’ve already tried this with my signature image and my copyright line that I use at the end of each post.
Getting over the fear of using the Block Editor
While writing this post I had to learn how to use the Block Editor. There are things that frustrated me. For example, I was unable to copy/paste snippets of text from one block to another. This was very annoying as I ended up re-typing things I wanted to copy. Adding images to the media gallery while in the Block Editor failed every time today and I hope it was only due to the servers being busy. On the positive side, I like that blocks can be moved around so easily.
The routine I described above is my first attempt at footnotes in the Block Editor. It may seem like a lot of work but once you get used to the routine of placing anchors and links, it becomes easier and quicker to do.
If there is a better way or if you can think of anything that would improve my routine, I’d be happy to hear from you. Feel free to ask for help if anything is unclear. Good luck with your footnotes and using the Block Editor.