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Sat Jan 7, 2012, 03:26 PM

For well documented ancestors, how much do you put in your software?

I'm working on a branch that goes back to a pretty famous guy - Walter Palmer. He came over from England in 1629, help found Rehoboth, MA, and Stonington, Connecticut. Since he had a dozen children and they were all prolific, a LOT of people trace back to Walter.

There are several books about him, a Walter Palmer Society with a regular newsletter, and thousands of references to him on the internet both at historic sites and individual family history sites.

So how much do I want to put into his page on my genealogy software? I've got the basics - speculated birth, immigration, records of where he lived, some about land he owned, his religion, some of the offices he held in different towns, his children with their spouses and children, when he died, his will, where he's buried, and a picture of his tombstone.

I feel as though if I keep putting information in, I might as well put an entire book's worth!

Since I am putting together the genealogy for my nieces and nephews, maybe I should just be sure that the various books and histories that include Walter Palmer are listed so if any of them ever want to read up on him they can find those resources.

What you do with ancestors like this?

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Reply For well documented ancestors, how much do you put in your software? (Original post)
csziggy Jan 2012 OP
kdmorris Jan 2012 #1
csziggy Jan 2012 #2
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2012 #3
csziggy Jan 2012 #4
sybylla Jan 2012 #5
csziggy Jan 2012 #6

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 03:15 AM

1. I put in the basics, like you

But then list the book(s) about the person. That way, if someone wants to, they can go look it up in the book for themselves.

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Response to kdmorris (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 01:45 PM

2. That's what I am trying to do

I've been entering the essentials and what details show the person's life history, such as immigration, land purchases, offices held, etc. Everything is documented with the references linked to each event in the person's life.

In some cases, I have saved web pages with more extensive notes and documentation, so I have those references documented even if I haven't entered it in my program. When the books are available for download from Google Books or Archive.org I give the URL as well as the bibliographic entry.

I've also got some privately published books and manuscripts that were uploaded to the web as PDFs that I need to find out how I might be able to share without violating the copyrights. In some cases the authors are dead and I don't know who to contact about the rights.

At least one is no longer on the internet - the little church whose history it was lost their website. I had downloaded the history for Mom and printed a hard copy for her (an ancestor started the church in the 1820s and the history of the church had a lot of information about his life). I think that a member of the church had set up the website and uploaded the history for their anniversary but no one was prepared to maintain it once that was over.

Another one about one of the ancestors, when it came out Mom bought a copy for each of us kids. Now the author is no longer printing them but he uploaded a PDF. I think it would be legitimate to share that since he did put it out without restrictions. I only want it available for my nieces and nephews to reference - I am not going to distribute copies outside the family or sell them. Since a lot of the source material for the book came from Mom (without him acknowledging her assistance!) and her aunts and uncles using his book as a reference is for ease of letting other people have access to the information.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 06:18 PM

3. I usually include the following:

birth and death dates and locations if known; date and location of marriage, military service and rank if applicable, education, occupation, text of land deeds and wills, date and location of immigration if applicable, offices and titles if any, and possibly a thumbnail biography in the notes, along with references to published books where they're mentioned.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 8, 2012, 06:50 PM

4. If I put in all the land dealings, it would take pages

Same for offices held - Walter Palmer was well involved with the local government in every place he lived, especially in the towns he helped start.

I think with someone like Walter, I will just do the basics and print the biography from the Walter Palmer Society website. They have a new book out about Walter that adds a lot more to the one that was published a century or so ago.

For less famous ancestors that do not have whole books written about them, I have put in all their deeds and other information I could find. But for the famous ones whose lives have been thoroughly researched and explored by authors, I think I will let the kids buy the books if they are interested in learning more.

Frankly, I think part of my reluctance to spend time on Walter Palmer is that I do not like what I have read about him - he beat an indentured servant to death and was acquitted even though it was acknowledged he had done it. He was religiously intolerant which was one reason he moved so much. I don't think I would have liked him if I had met him.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 08:33 AM

5. I, too, just put in the basics with loads of documentation

That way, anyone interested in the family can look up the history themselves.

If anything, I may include a "Note" that describes the famous ancestor, briefly goes over why he/she is famous, and include a brief bibliography there for further reading. That way, when I print part of my tree for someone to read, they see the note and understand the role that person played in the family above and beyond the bare bones.

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Response to sybylla (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 07:59 PM

6. I like the idea of a note with a bibliography

To give people a heads up that there is much more to learn about that person.


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