Sunday, 26 September 2010

Enthusiasm vs accuracy

Contact from an enthusiastic, I presume, "newbie" to this wonderful hobby reminded me of the wisdom enshrined in the GPS.
No not one of those marvellous devices telling you where you are and how to get to where you should be instead, but the Genealogical Proof Standard.
To quote the Board of Certification of Genealogists (American)

"Proof is a fundamental concept in genealogy. In order to merit confidence, each conclusion about an ancestor must have sufficient credibility to be accepted as "proved." Acceptable conclusions, therefore, meet the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).
The GPS consists of five elements:

* a reasonably exhaustive search;
* complete and accurate source citations;
* analysis and correlation of the collected information;
* resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
* a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

Perhaps it is too much to ask of an enthusiastic newcomer happily copying data from trees found on the web and claiming relationships to people found there on the flimsiest of "evidence", but even the newest of newcomers should be able to distinguish between the possible and the impossible and do some basic checking, even if it is of other trees.

This little lecture being prompted from someone claiming to be my 7th cousin via the DAWs, stating that the relationship was from her Sampsons back to Philip, and down to my Isaac.
As I've never found any proof of a relationship between the Sampson DAWs of Buckland Monachorum, and my Isaac of Lumburn Mill/Tavistock, I asked what her evidence was for the connection.
None was forthcoming, but as one of the links quoted was for a John DAW b 1742 being married to Sarah MOORE, I smelt a rat in the "conclusions" being drawn.
John and Sarah (MOORE) DAW, are only possible parents for my Isaac (as outlined with doubts, on Isaac's page), and happen to have married in 1744.
A tad precocious for a 1742 birth.
A bit of digging on the other names mentioned led me reasonably quickly to my conclusion that her family was that of Joseph and Jenny (DAWE) DAWE who had family at Meavy before moving to the big smoke of London/Surrey.
That Joseph is highly UNlikely to be the Joseph son of Joseph and grandson of Sampson of Buckland Monachorum as his dates don't match, and most census data gives his birthplace as Cornwall, not that I've definitively identified where in Cornwall as yet (I presume somewhere close to the boundary with Devon as the 1861 census says Berehatton(?), Devon, the rest say Beer, Cornwall).
Regardless of the mis-links, it was an interesting exercise, as all of these families have many connections to mine, and one day, who knows, someone might pop out of the woodwork with all the missing links, with accurate source citations, and dates that gel.

It was also quite interesting seeing what others had for the same "families".
Just looking at two of the culprit trees with John (married to Sarah MOORE) shown as the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (CROSSMAN) DAW of Buckland Monachorum.
Several have John b 1742 marrying Sarah MOORE and Elizabeth REED, but with no dates for Sarah, although most do seem to have Isaac as their son and born 1769/70, so technically possible, if you ignore his siblings born 1745 +.

Another has John b. 1730, marrying Sarah MOORE in 1744, and Elizabeth REED in 1799, and dying in 1814.
Not absolutely impossible, but unlikely to be marrying at 14.

But if you look at the same tree from Sarah's viewpoint, she is shown as marrying two John DAWEs, one 1730-1813, the other 1724-1778, both "marriages" producing an Isaac of about the right dates.
For the record, I believe the 1742 John, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (CROSSMAN) married twice, firstly to my Elizabeth KING, and secondly to Elizabeth REED, with a son from this last marriage marrying Mary ANDREWS, another of my Devon relations.

All in all, quite an entertaining diversion from the real life stuff keeping me from this hobby rather too much at the moment.

Monday, 13 September 2010

13th: Legerwood family

Stewart popped out of the woodwork to talk FAIRBAIRNs.
Although we aren't directly related, unless we eventually find out that these are connected genetically to my FAIRBAIRNs, we do share an interest in the same tree.
His and mine intersect at Helen Martin FAIRBAIRN (dtr of the Rev Andrew Martin FAIRBAIRN) who married Sir Russell SCOTT, one of my RICHARDSON descendants. (Sir Russell appeared briefly in Wikipedia under the Home Office link, but when I last checked, clicking on his link took me to Russell SCOTT aka Blinky the Clown!)
Check out the Fairbairn DNA Project Patriarchs page for a brief outline pedigree.
Locally there is another connection.
At one of our Scottish Interest Group sessions some time ago I mentioned my interest in FAIRBAIRNs, and afterwards Joan popped up saying she had some in her tree, would I be interested in finding out which ones.
Turned out she was the x greats granddtr of Helen Martin FAIRBAIRN's grandparents.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Relationships clarified & yet more connections

Reading old newspapers, as one does, I stumbled upon a different obituary for the Rev John FAIRBAIRN of Greenlaw than that I had previously seen. This one was in The Free Church of Scotland Monthly (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1 Jun 1895, and contained a new interesting little snippet for my FAIRBAIRN research: "Along with his more distinguished brother Dr Patrick FAIRBAIRN, Principal of the Free Church College Glasgow, he spent his youth at Hallyburton, ... while his two cousins Dr James FAIRBAIRN of Newhaven, and Dr John PURVES of Jedburgh, had their homes at farms a few miles further west in the same district."
I've been tripping over the Newhaven James often enough in the past but had never managed to place him in any of my known FAIRBAIRN trees, his death cert showing his parents as James FAIRBAIRN and Elizabeth TAYLOR, with the only other known (to me) family being an unmarried sister Eliza.
Knowing that the Rev John's grandparents were a James and Elizabeth (PURVES) FAIRBAIRN, and quickly finding out that Dr John PURVES was the son of Peter PURVES and Margaret FAIRBAIRN, with Margaret looking highly likely to be a dtr of James and Elizabeth (PURVES) FAIRBAIRN, I've now placed the Newhaven James as brother of Margaret and the Rev John's father John (marr. to Jessie JOHNSTON).
The informant for the Newhaven James' 1874 death was his cousin, a Peter someone of Ferry Rd.
I had initially taken a stab at the squiggle being THOMSON, but have subsequently confirmed that it is actually Peter Chas PURVES, who was living in Ferry Rd in 1881, Peter Charles being the son of the Jedburgh Dr John PURVES above, and being yet another minister in the family - presumably ministering to my own FAIRBAIRNs at Morebattle, given he was the Free Church minister there in the 1861 and 1871 censuses.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

7th: Longevity helps

Although a lot of my research these days is chasing direct male line FAIRBAIRNs and RUNCIMANs for dna project representatives for wanted lines, I don't necessarily overlook the females of the species.
We have to have our uses after all.
The benefit in finding out who a Jane FAIRBAIRN, aged 83, born Kelso, lodging in the same boarding house in North Berwick as a George H FAIRBAIRN, 47 born Edinburgh, was in adding additional weight to the paper trail for the family of both Andrew & Margaret (HENDERSON) FAIRBAIRN, and his nephew John (marr. Sarah MORRIS), Jane being Andrew & Margaret's daughter (died 1874 North Berwick).
The FAIRBAIRN DNA Project is still looking for representatives for the lines mentioned here.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

4th: A recent exchange with Microsoft Support

Had a call back from MicroSoft "anxious" to close a call I had already indicated via email that could be closed, given that they couldn't understand what I'd told them, namely that their instructions could not be carried out because I couldn't access where I needed to be to initiate them.
(which part of "I cannot access a command prompt to do any of that" do you not understand?")
I mentioned that I had solved the immediate problem caused by their dratted security patch myself, but now had outstanding subsequent issues, such as every time I started a MSoft Office program it insisted on configuring itself, as if opening for the first time.
He promised to log that separately, and arranged that someone would call me at 11am the following day, NZ time.
11am came and went, as did all of the day, without my phone ringing.
6:58pm NZ time an email arrived:
Hi Lorna,

My name is [xyx] from Microsoft Technical Support.

This is a follow up email in regards to your case [nnnn]. I've tried
to contact you via telephone, however was unsuccessful. We would be
happy to continue to assist you if necessary.

If you have any feedback regarding Microsoft support, I would be glad to
hear from you. Otherwise, you can email
on any other feedback.

Thank you for contacting Microsoft Technical Support.


(names and numbers changed to protect the guilty)

My response:
thank you for your bog standard email.
My phone has not been in use all day, and I have been at home.
You were scheduled to ring about 11am. I waited. .....
(with a list of the further issues that were now manifesting themselves, having solved the reconfiguring problem by uninstalling and reinstalling MSOffice, and yet again, upgrading it to SP2 - my network provider must love my additional bandwidth use at the moment).
Yours, a still very annoyed MSoft customer.

His, immediate, response (which implicitly says he hadn't called me at 11am):
Hi Lorna,

Apologies for not being able to call you this morning. The person who was supposed to call you called in sick today and it was just now that the case was endorsed to me. This is the phone number that we have in your records: +61 nnnn, and also the one I called but I only got your machine. If this is the wrong number, please let me know so I can update your records and be able to provide support to you.


My response:
+64 (nnnn) might help. I'm in NZ and there is nothing on my answer machine, but presumably on someone in Australia's.
(and given that someone had already called me the day before, why ever did it have an Australia country code?)
So, all in all, not a jot of useful help from Microsoft.
Several more issues have since manifested themselves, and mostly, gradually, been fixed.
All of this is keeping me from the fun things in life such as researching my own family tree, the FAIRBAIRN and RUNCIMAN One Name and DNA studies, and writing the course I'm about to give in a fortnight's time.
But I suppose it does have it's fun, ironic side.