21 February 2010

Frustrated and Waiting

Ancestry.com seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties.  I just found two databases that I had not previously used that contain documents for my ancestors.  A birth record on a brick wall line! Land records! But no matter how many times I reload and re-click, I get error messages and cannot see the images.  From a few folks on twitter, I see that I'm not the only one having problems.

I've composed a haiku to vent my frustrations:

Ancestry dot com
Why do you torture me so?
Please fix yourself

20 February 2010

Surname Saturday - Witt

My Witt Family line can be traced back to David Jefferson Witt, born 1833 in Abbeville County, South Carolina. David J's wife was Sara Walker, also born in 1833. They married around 1850 and lived in Edgefield County and later Greenwood County, South Carolina. According to census information, David was a farmer and unable to read or write.

David died on 21 Jan 1901 and was buried in the Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery in Callison, Greenwood, South Carolina.

David J & Sara had five children, including James S, David Jr, Moses P, and Martha. I descend through David Jr, who married Alice Miller. Their son, William David married F Iola Quattlebaum, who had my Great Grandmother, Auline Witt.

The Witt family continued to live in Greenwood Country, with many of the family buried at the Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery and the Bold Springs Baptist Church Cemetery.

I would love to share information with anyone connected to this family.

15 February 2010

Protecting vs Sharing

     A big aspect of genealogical research is collaboration and the sharing of research.  If researchers do not share information and documents, the research process may be slowed or even impeded. On the other hand, if you are in possession of a document or photograph, you have certain owner rights and want to protect these items.  So, where should we drawn the line between protecting and sharing?

     Personally, I place all historic family family history documents and photos online in multiple locations.  I do this for a few reasons.
  • First, I want to attract other researchers who share my family lines. Placing these items online acts as a lure. If I place a photo of Great-Great Grandma Nina online, another researcher who's searching for her can find the photo and may be attracted to my website or family tree. 
  • The second reason is a large part of the first: I want to connect with them and my share information.  By putting these visuals online and luring the researcher to my information, I'm able to present my research to others. Hopefully others will find my information useful to their research.
  • Finally, I hope that those researchers will provide some of their information in return.  If they contact me, we may be able to help each other further our research.
     However, my effort to share information often works too well for others and not very well for myself.  I have found many, many times that my family photos and documents wind up posted on someone else's family tree without any credit attributed to me.  These researchers found my information and, obviously, found it valuable - but they did not contact me to communicate and share information.

    Honestly, this can make me a little grumpy. Now, there's a simple solution to protecting my photos and documents: take them off the internet.  But that would certainly defeat the original purpose of posting them online. I want to share, but at the same time I'd like credit and acknowledgement and to connect with others.

     So, how can I share my information and still protect it? Here are a few ways:

  • Only post thumbnails or small resolution versions of an image online.  By doing this this, other researchers can see the photo or document, but do not have access to high-quality copies of it.  This makes it hard for them to distribute your media and might entice them to contact you for a better copy.
  • Add a watermark to your images. Watermarks are usually simi-opaque words or images that can be placed on the photo or document.  They can work to cover part of the media to make them partly obscured, or can be used more like a signature. To the right, you can see to watermarks that  ancestry.com adds to their documents. 
  • Pick one place to post your items online - a website that offers protective features.  Chose a website that allows you to maintain ownership of your media.  By placing your items in one location, you might be able to choose who can see your items and may be able to better track your items when they end up other places online.  Photo sharing sites like Flickr allow you to choose a license for your media. Ancestry.com allows other researchers to add your media to their family trees in a way that links back to your tree.
   And remember to keep these thoughts in mind when views the research of others. Don't just take - share in return.

11 February 2010

Trying Out Ancestry.com's Expert Connect

I'm stuck at a brick wall with my Barfield ancestors. On Tuesday I posted William Barfield's tombstone, along with the information that I know about him. I'd really like to know who William's father was, as well as more about his mother, Sarah.

William was my Great-Great-Great Grandfather. I have his birth and death dates, but no death certificate or obituary. He did not live long enough for a social security application and, though it was required, I cannot locate a death certificate. So, I'm moving on to see if I can locate an obituary. There are numerous other obituaries that I'd like to locate on this family line, and the local newspaper is available on microfilm at the local library in Swainsboro. However, I'm not able to make a trip to Emanuel County right now.

First, I looked on RAoGK, but there were no volunteers in the county. So, I thought I might try out ancestry.com's ExpertConnect for this project. I posted my "project" through the site, which only took about five minutes. My project is a request for five obituaries with death dates known. It was crazy easy and totally free to post a request. After posting my project, I'm just supposed to sit back and let the bids roll in.

Well first off, there are no researchers advertised for the area I'm researching in. If there had been, I could have simply viewed the "expert's" prices and decided whether or not to hire them. As it is, I'm waiting for someone to contact me and see if I like the amount that they "bid" to complete the project.

With no one listed in the area, I wasn't even sure if I'd get a response. Regardless, I had to decide how much I was willing to pay if I did get a bid. The way I figure, it would probably cost about $50 to make the trip myself, so I'd like it to be less than or equal to that price.

To my surprise, I actually received a response within 24 hours. The researcher says that they have three of the obituaries in their possession. For a fee of $45 (my price range!) they will digitize them and send them to me. It's great to hear a response, but it's not quite what I was hoping for - for a couple reasons:
  1. They have three obits, but didn't mention the other two. Those two were actually the ones that I really wanted: William's and Sarah's.
  2. They already have these obituaries - they're not actually proposing to do any research.
For these reasons, I'm really not sure if this bid is worth it. Is it worth $45 to have someone digitize records they already have in their possession and email them to me? They don't have to really do more than 30 minutes work. And, they aren't even fulfilling my full project request.

But that's not to be-little the offer. This person is in no way required to share their research and I am happy to hear from them. I guess what it really comes down to are the two other obituaries. If the researcher had those, I'd gladly pay the money - the same amount it would cost me for a the trip. But they don't, and their bid does not offer to find them. And really, those two obituaries were the original reason I posted the project.

So I guess for now I'll wait and see if I receive another bid that would complete the full project. If that doesn't happen, I might go ahead and accept the bid.... or not.

Any thoughts?

09 February 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Barfield

William L. Barfield

William Leander Barfield was my Great-Great Grandfather. He's one of my brick-wall ancestors. He was born in 1872, supposedly in Glascock County, Georgia. I married Frances Boatright in Emanuel County, Georgia in 1902.

William died in 1924 - a time at which death certificates were mandatory. I cannot find a death certificate for him in Georgia, though I have tried multiple indexes. He was a farmer with a large family, working on his "own account" on rented land in 1920. I find it hard to believe that he left the state - but who knows? I just know I'd really like to get a copy of his death certificate!

He's buried at Hawhammock Missionary Baptists Church near Swainsboro, Emanuel, Georgia.

05 February 2010

SC Historic Newspapers Online

Online newspaper subscriptions can be pricy. Before making the investment, make sure to see what newspapers are available for the areas that are important to your research. I've previously comprised a list of Georgia newspapers available online (updated as of today).

Here's a list of digitized South Carolina Newspapers available online at the major database sites. If you looking for a specific newspaper, remember to check their website. Many major newspapers now offer programs to access their archives on their websites.


GenealogyBank.com ($)
- Aiken Standard (2008-Current)
- Anderson Independent-Mail (1998-Current)
- Anti-Monarchist (1811)
- Beaufort Today (2008-Current)
- Belton & Honea Path News-Chronicle, The (2004-Current)
- Bluffton Today (1999-Current)
- Camden Gazette (1816-1822)
- Carolina Gazette (1800-1828)
- Charleston Courier (1803-1822)
- Charleston Evening Gazette (1785-1786)
- Charleston Mercury (1854-1859)
- Charleston Morning Post (1786-1787)
- Cheraw Chronicle, The (2006-Current)
- Chronicle of Liberty (1783-1783)
- City Gazette (1787-1833)
- Coastal Observer - Pawleys Island (2009-Current)
- Columbia Gazette (1794-1794)
- Columbia Star, The (2004-Current)
- Columbian Herald (1784-/1796)
- Daily Evening Gazette (1795-1795)
- Daily Journal-Messenger - Seneca (2006-Current)
- Echo du Sud (1801)
- Evening Courier (1798-1798)
- Gaffney Ledger, The (2004-Current)
- Georgetown Gazette (1798-1826)
- Herald Independent, The - Winnsboro (2008-Current)
- Herald, The - Rock Hill (2004-Current)
- Herald-Journal - Spartanburg (2004-Current)
- Horry Independent, The (2007-Current)
- Investigator (1812-1814)
- Island Packet (2009-Current)
- Messenger, The - Hartsville, (2007-Current)
- Miller's Weekly Messenger (1807-1820)
- Newberry Observer, The (2006-Current)
- Oracle 1/1/1807 - 12/8/1807 Historical News
- Pickens Sentinel, The (2008-Current)
- Post and Courier, The - Charleston (1994-Current)
- South Carolina Gazette (1792-1793)
- South Carolina State Gazette (1800-1828)
- South Carolina State Gazette (1799-1828)
- South-Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser (1783-1785)
- South-Carolina Independent Gazette (1791-1792)
- South-Carolina State-Gazette (1794-1802)
- South-Carolina Weekly Advertiser (1783-1783)
- South-Carolina Weekly Gazette (1783-1786)
- Southern Chronicle (1822-1825)
- Southern Evangelical Intelligencer (1819-1820)
- Southern Patriot (1831-1848)
- State (1891-1922)
- State Gazette of South-Carolina (1785-1793)
- State, The - Columbia (1987-Current)
- States Rights and Free Trade Evening Post (1831-1832)
- Strength of the People (1809-1810)
- Sun News, The - Myrtle Beach (1996-Current)
- Telegraph (1795-1795)
- Telescope (1815-1815)
- Times (1800-1820)
- Times and Democrat, The - Orangeburg (2002-Current)
- Union Daily Times, The (2006-Current)
- Winyaw Intelligencer (1817-1833)

- Aiken County Journal, The (1969)
- Aiken County Rambler (1981 - 1983)
- Aiken County Register (1983 - 1984)
- Aiken Courier Journal (1874 - 1878)
- Aiken Journal (1874)
- Aiken Journal and Review (1885 - 1935)
- Aiken Journal and Review, The (1925)
- Aiken Recorder (1882 - 1907)
- Aiken Standard (1924 - 2009)
- Aiken Standard and Review (1935 - 1969)
- Aiken Standard and South Carolina Gazette (1930 - 1935)
- Aiken Tribune (1871 - 1875)
- Columbia Star Columbia (2005 - 2009)
- Columbia Star Reporter (1966 - 1971)
- Conway Horry Independent (2008)
- Daily Mail Anderson (1952)
- Daily Times-News, The - Burlington (1957)
- Florence Morning News (1929 - 1977)
- Horry Independent (2003 - 2009)
- Journal and Review, The (1892 - 1899)
- Loris Scene (2008 - 2009)
- Loris Sentinel (1953 - 1959)
- Morning News - Florence (1933 - 1936)
- Morning News Review, The - Florence (1924 - 1928)

- Aiken Standard (1969-1977)
- Daily Times News - Burlington (1957-1957)
- Florence Morning News (1929-1977)
- Morning News - Florence (1936-1936)
- The Morning News Review - Florence (1924-1928)

- Columbia Star (2003-2004)
- Horry Independent (1999-2004)
- Loris Scene (1998-2003)
- Loris Sentinel (1953, 1956-1959)
- Star Reporter (1963-1971)

- Camden Gazette (1816 - 1822)
- Southern Chronicle (1822 - 1825)
- Carolina Gazette (1800 - 1828)
- Charleston Courier (1803 - 1822)
- Charleston Mercury (1854 - 1859)
- City Gazette (1800 - 1833)
- Echo du Sud (1801)
- Investigator (1812 - 1814)
- Oracle - Charleston (1807)
- Southern Evangelical Intelligencer (1819 - 1820)
- Southern Patriot (1831 - 1848)
- Strength of the People (1809 - 1810)
- Times - Charleston (1800 - 1820)
- South-Carolina State-Gazette (1800 - 1802)
- South Carolina State Gazette (1800 - 1828)
- State - Columbia (1891 - 1922)
- Telescope - Columbia (1815 - 1843)
- Anti-Monarchist - Edgefield (1808 - 1811)
- Georgetown Gazette (1800 - 1826)
- Winyaw Intelligencer (1817 - 1833)
- Murfreesboro Union (1939)
- Miller's Weekly Messenger (1807 - 1820)


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