Home > Genealogy > Personal

The Genealogy Pages - Personal

This page is all about my ancestors. If you want general genealogy tips for beginners, go to the Public pages. There is a navigation bar to the rest of the site at the bottom of the page.

You can see my research on
Roots Web World Connect

These two sections were too short to make into individual pages. You can scroll down to read them in order, or click to jump to:

Conventions and Limits: How I estimated dates, what "x gen bef yyyy" means, unknown names, how far out I research.

A Gentle Warning to people who take this too seriously.


As a guide to anyone who uses the data I accumulate to do further research, I estimated birth and marriage dates. It is easier to look for someone if you have a rough idea of where and when he or she was born and married.

For birth dates, if I had the parent or child's birth date, I estimated most women bore children between the ages of 16 and 42, then added or subtracted as needed. I did this for parents or children only. Further forward or back I used the phrase "x gen" bef (or aft) yyyy", where "x" was how many generations and "yyyy" was the definite year. For example, the great-grandfather of someone born in 1800 would be born "3 gen bef 1800".

If I had the date of one spouse but not the other I would estimate most spouses were within 10 years of each other. For example, if the husband was born in 1800, I'd estimate the wife was born 1790 - 1810.

If I had some dates but not others I'd refine the estimate. For instance, if a lady was born in 1800 and had her first child in 1820, I'd estimate her marriage date as 1816 - 1820.

Not all of my ancestors were married. I gave them all the benefit of the doubt.

I use "(unknown") for unknown names. Some people use LNU (Last Name Unknown) and GNU (Given Name Unknown). Someone always asks them why their cousin "Gnu" was named after a wildebeest.

My program won't let you enter siblings without at least one parent, so there are some fathers whose names are pure guess. If I knew Alan Smith had a brother Bob and a sister Catherine, I named their father "(unknown) Smith" and entered the siblings.

If you go back far enough, people have only one name and some identifiers; "Emperor Charlemagne, King of the Franks", for instance, or "Margaret the Saxon". I put their single name in the "given" field, leaving the surname blank.


(So many relatives, so little time.) Just to put some sort of limit on my passion I have restricted myself to direct ancestors, their children, and their children's spouses. My wife gets upset when the lawn goes unmowed, the cats unwatered, and the fence unpainted because I'm hot on the trail of a third cousin six times removed who was eaten by a bear.

A Gentle Warning:

Genealogy is a harmless hobby if you don't take it too seriously. All of the information in a family tree is subject to error, and anything I send out should be treated as a guide to further research, not the definitive word.The further back you go the more errors creep in. "1831" becomes "1834" or "1837" or "1813". People change the way they spell their names. Old letters referring to "Uncle Joe" may be referring to a cousin, a good neighbor or a grandfather. People, especially those who moved west, sometimes lied about why they came, where they came from, and what their last name was. "West" was California for people who lived in Kansas in the late 1800's, Kansas for people who lived in the Atlantic states in the early 1800's, and upstate New York, along the Erie Canal, for people who lived in New England in the late 1700's.

As an example of how far you can take genealogy, one branch of our family is supposed to go back to Charlemagne, Emperor of the West and King of the Franks. The chain depends on 1,200 years of record keeping, through fire, flood, worms, the fury of the Norsemen and the Black Plague. In one place our royal blood depends on a lady who worked in a castle, came up pregnant without a husband, and told her parents it was the King.

Well, let's see. Assume you are in that lady's situation. You can approach HRH and say coyly "Oh, you royal stallion, you've done it again." If the child is a boy and looks like him, the king may make him an earl, and you can live out your days in an upstairs suite in your son's country manor, with a maid. On the other hand, if you tell the hulking young assistant gardener that you have to get married, you'll end up living in a hut at the foot of the Royal Onion Patch, cooking for a man who washes his feet every other month. Some women are practical.

I told my kids not to give themselves airs.

Sections of my web site:

Home | Christmas Letters | Genealogy | Homilies | Misc. Essays | Peace Corps | Web Design

Problems, comments or complaints? Need an opinion? Send E-mail to:
This page updated: June 21, 2014