Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pruning and Maintaining my Tree

I hate loose ends. When I look at my online tree at Ancestry, nothing makes me crazier than seeing this
No birth or death date.
I was amazed at how often just entering a guess for the birth date will help. Start with a date the same year as the spouse's birth. Very often the hints on Ancestry just pop up.
And there we are! I never did find a sure death date for her, but I found a death date under Minnie Tapply. I used a resource I found looking for Dora North and Frank Summerfield Tapply.
So these entries for the reading of wills very often name the spouse as beneficiary (so you can be sure you have the right person with the myriad Tapplys and Tapleys) and give the place of residence. By entering this place in Dora North's  file, I found her death entry and I used the same method for Minnie.
I've been going through the tree trying this methods with people on both sides of the Atlantic, and I've at least got either a birth or death date for the older parts of the tree. Amazing how entering a date and possible location unlocks those doors.

The next problem I tackled was this:

I've been round and round on this portion of the Smith family. Marion L. Smith had four children. Two were named Dietche and two were named Otto. I felt sure that there had been two marriages, but I couldn't find any record anywhere for the two children or for her. And her second husband was Otto Dietche. Was this a record mistake? I didn't think so. Her marriage record and the census name her as a widow. So I went back to the son and tried again on Family Search.
And lo and behold this showed up:
There it is. Allan G Otto in Fitchburg, Massachusetts who seemed to have died just after the birth of the two children. So plugging THAT into the tree for father and Robert Allan Otto for the son, the hints just fell into place. I found a directory entry for Allan and Marian living in Fitchburg just a year before his death.  I also  found exact birth, marriage and death dates for the children and neatly tied up another loose end.

It doesn't work every time. Older records are difficult. Families with many people of the same name are almost impossible. But using FindaGrave, Family Search and Ancestry I've made good progress. I found a few duplicates, loose ends, branches that needed pruning altogether and satisfied my own urge to tidy up the tree.  It may only be January, but it's time to try a little spring cleaning.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another Mappy Monday


A map of Spencer, Owen County, Indiana where the Johnson, Archer, Dunn and Harrod branches of my family lived. My great great grandmother left Spencer to marry George F Smith and live (eventually) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Sign of the Times


Here's something you wouldn't see in a local paper these days. Despite all the kerfluffle over private gun ownership, the police departments have de-emphasized marksmanship in favor of "community policing". The idea of a police revolver team posing with guns drawn seems quaint. In the 1930's, however, The Fitchburg Sentinel was full of the exploits of the local police department. I suppose this was as close to tabloid reporting as the public was likely to get at the time. Third from the right in this picture is my great uncle Harry J Tapply. He was my grandmother's older brother. He must have been a good shot to make the revolver team. Stories about his career as a policeman were a regular item in the Sentinel. Sometimes he got to save a life:
Dec 26 1929
Harry Tapply walked a beat, saved a life or two, kept good order for the city of Fitchburg AND was a crack shot for the revolver team.  I think I'd still call that "community policing".