North Carolina and Halifax County, NC Websites and Assets.

Howell/Vincent
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Website Reviews (North Carolina)

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Background.

I have been researching my wife’s 3rd great-grandfather, Burkett Vincent. I really don’t know much about Burkett. He appears as the head of household in the 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840 censuses. I also speculate that he appears in the household of Philip Vinson, his apparent father, in the 1790 and 1800 censuses. I have no birth record for him, although he was probably born between 1775 and 1780 in the North Carolina colony. I also have no death record for him, although he appears to have died before the 1850 Census.

He was apparently married twice. His first wife’s name is unknown and it appears that they had five children, 2 boys and 3 girls, between 1804 and 1820. I don’t know the names of any of those children. He was also married to Elizabeth Rose. With her, he appears to have had seven children. William, John, James, Elisha, Susan, Nancy, and Burkett. Born between 1814 and 1824.  It is possible some of the seven children were part of the initial five. I am pretty sure that Burkett was born, married, and died in Halifax County, North Carolina.

I have had several people ask that I share my research approach and some of my links.

Typically, my “first pass” uses I am familiar with and use for everyone. I use my various search tricks in doing so. For example, I might use “Vincent of Halifax” and North Carolina as a search term. For newspapers, I often use the individual’s address as a search term.

My regularly used “First Pass” sites include:

My Special North Carolina Links (Second Pass)

I had 29 Links in my North Carolina Bookmarks.  I went through them to clean them up and determine if any of them are particularly useful in my quest. Several links I moved to a separate subdirectory for bookmarks – Counties. I deleted several links as not being useful. I ended up with 11 North Carolina links I think are useful, and another four which are county sites, that make up my second pass.

Top 3 (In my opinion) – Non-Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. North Carolina – County Formation Maps – Interactive Slideshow. – Select a year and see the counties as they existed then.
  2. Digital North Carolina – Includes Yearbooks, Newspapers, Images, Memorabilia, City Directories & Audiovisual.
  3. North Carolina Digital Collections – Browse 26 separate collections or use a single search.

Top Paid North Carolina Sites

  1. $$ – North Carolina Pioneers – Databases for several states – $150.00 per year – I’m not currently a subscriber, but I’m thinking about it.

Other North Carolina Sites worth checking

  1. East Carolina Roots – Genealogy & History of Eastern North Carolina.
  2. North Carolina Encyclopedia (NCpedia) – Biographies, State Symbols, Counties, Geography, World War I, Digital Textbook.
  3. North Carolina Land Grant Images and Data – 216,000 land grants from 1663-1960.
  4. North Carolina State Government Publications Collection – Session Laws of North Carolina
  5. North Carolina State Historic Preservation – HPOWEB GIS Service (General Audience) – Note: This site requires Adobe Flash player to use.
  6. North Carolina State Library
  7. North Carolina State University Libraries

Counties – List of Counties

Finally, in my “2nd Pass” are county focused links. In my case, I have done research in the following counties and have these in my bookmarks.

  • Cabarrus County – Cabarrus Genealogy Society – Concord, NC.
  • Halifax County – NCGenWeb – Includes a list of resources. For GenWeb sites, I prefer doing a Google search of the county’s site.
  • Martin County – NCGenWeb
  • Martin County Register of Deeds – Full System, Includes Old Deed Books U (08/26/1866) thru 0XXXX; There are no “I” books, nor book N-05. Also, there are scanned index books for 1925 through 1984.

Review other potential sites (Third Pass)

For my “Third Pass,” I basically, review the following webpages for resources I haven’t used in my first and second passes. These are specifically for North Carolina; however, the concept works for any location. State and County resources recommended on these sites.

The Ancestor Hunt – North Carolina (for newspaper, obituary, and BMD suggestions.”

Family Search Wiki – North Carolina Online Genealogy Records.
Family Search Wiki – Halifax County, North Carolina Genealogy

Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina
Cyndi’s List – United States, North Carolina – Halifax County

$$ Ancestry – North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)
$$ Ancestry – Halifax County, North Carolina (in the Card Catalog)

Road trip or hire a genealogist – (This is a 4th step if needed).

  1. North Carolina State Archives. – Includes a listing of the various records held by each county by the County Offices. It is a very important document to review before a trip to the County Offices.
    1. The Halifax County Guide is here.
    2. The Martin County Guide is here.

University of Leicester Special Collections

I love it when I find a new website that really helps my genealogical research. I was researching my 4th Great-grandfather, Stephen Blackhurst, Sr. (c. 1779-1847) and found “Historical Directories of England & Wales,” on the University of Leicester, “Special Collections” webpages.  They have multiple directories from 40 county’s in England and Wales.  In my case I searched for Blackhurst and found over 100 returned items.  I then added “Yorkshire” to my listing and found 15 records.  Stephen died in 1847, so eliminated directories 1850 and newer. I looked closely at the Directories for 1833, 1841, 1847, and 1849 (he should have been gone for that one).

Stephen Blackwell in the 1833 Sheffield City Directory

Sure enough, there he was; a shoe maker at the Old Workhouse in Pitsmoor and he’s a shoemaker at 57 Pye bank in the 1839 and 1841 directories as well. He was not listed in the 1849 directory (he died in 1847), but two of his children, Adamson and Mary were listed.  Adamson was a shoe and butcher knife maker, at 102 Matilda St., and Mary was a dressmaker at 19 Chapel Street. I’m not 100% positive that this Mary Blackhurst is the right Mary Blackhurst (some of Mary’s siblings could have had a daughter Mary who could be this Mary), but it is likely enough to add it as a tentative entry.

To find the city directories, visit the University of Leicester Special Collections, then select Historical Directories of England & Wales. You can then browse or search the collection by county.  For those of you with Leicestershire ancestors, they have an additional 50 directories at Historical Directories of Leicestershire.

I can hardly wait to apply these city directories to my wife’s line in Workington and Cumberland County, England.

Family Search’s “Watch” & Barbara Bertha Trumpi

Darling/Huber/Trümpi

Family Search Watch

Family Search is one of my favorite genealogical websites. They have many great features, but one of my favorites is their “Watch” function. It is simple but really powerful.

Click “Watch”.

Family Search uses a universal tree. That is to say, everyone with a FamilySearch account sees the same tree (except for living individuals you created). Some people don’t like that feature because it means you do not have complete control over your tree. But once you have a person in the tree, you can watch that individual and be informed of any changes that occur with that person.  Those changes can provide import clues for your own research and can suggest contacts clearly interested in the same individuals as you are.

One of my problem research areas has been my wife’s great-grandmother Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber and her parents [Bernhard and Bertha (Koch) Trümpi]. Little more than their names were in the tree when I began watching each of them. Over the past few months, another researcher has added several children to the couple that I didn’t know about, a second wife, who I knew about but didn’t have a name for, and Bernhard’s parents’ names. Wow!

Now, I don’t accept that new information at face value; but I consider it as clues to other facts, which I can investigate. In this case, the researcher suggested four new siblings for Bertha:

  • New Brother: Heinrich (1886-1914)  Potential –
  • New Sister: Barbara (1888-____)    Probably a mistake (same name as Bertha Barbara)
  • New Brother: Bernhard (1891-1961) Potential.
  • New Sister: Emma (1901-1901) Potential.

The entries also confirmed information I have about Bertha, Frieda, August, and Ernst.

It also suggested a first wife for Bertha’s father, Bernhard was Regula Stüssi and seven children for Bernhard and Regula. Following the Family Search additions, it seems that

Bernhard Trümpi married Regula Staüsi in 1867. They had seven children, four of whom died as infants. Regula died in 1882 and Bernhard married Bertha Koch in 1883. Although Regula was only two years younger than Bernhard, Bertha was 19 years younger. Now the family oral history which said that Bertha Barbara came from a large family makes sense. I had her with six siblings, with the addition of new family members she may have had 15 siblings, 11 of which live to adulthood. That would be a large family.

Finally, the researcher suggested that Bernhard’s father was Bernard and his mother was Anna Maria Oertli. That knowledge opens an entirely new avenue of research.

That which I thought was a brick wall now has many new holes for me to pick at and find a way through. Thanks to the “Watch” feature of Family Search I circle around and have a new direction for my research. If you aren’t using the Family Search “Watch” feature, I highly recommend you do so.

Review – DNA Painter

Tech Tuesday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Last fall, Blaine Bettinger mentioned in his Facebook group, “Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques” an introduction video was available on YouTube for DNA Painter. I respect Blaine’s opinions, so I knew that I wanted to give it a try. It took a while for me to get to it and I’m glad I finally did. Wow, great program.

DNA Painter helps you understand exactly where your DNA came from. With it you can determine if a segment of your DNA you have may have come from your great grandmother on your maternal grandmother’s side or from another ancestor.  You can paint with common DNA information from GEDMatch, Family Finder (Family Tree DNA), or 23&Me. Sadly, Ancestry doesn’t provide DNA segment matching data, so it can’t be used. However, the raw data from Ancestry may be exported by the DNA owner and then imported into GEDMatch or Family Finder where you may export the data for use in DNA Painter.


The DNA Painter video was great. I only needed to watch it once and I was confident I understood the tool enough to use it for DNA painting. I was right; the tool is very easy to use.

I am fortunate because I have had my mother tested and I have her results. So, if my mother has a DNA Segment and I have it, I know it came from her. All the other DNA that I received from my biological father, who passed away before autosomal DNA testing became available.

I began doing the DNA painting, copying the data about matching segments of DNA from various cousins. When I looked at the matches from my half-aunt and myself, I could see exactly which DNA segments came from my maternal grandfather (and his ancestors). I compared with a known third cousin and saw which DNA came from our common second great-grandparents.

Image of Note: Chromosome 3 has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has a long DNA segment known to be from Hugh Eugene Roberts
Image of Chromosome 3 has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and a one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.
Note: Chromosome 3 (top line) has two DNA segments (in pink) known to be from Asa Roberts and one segment from an unknown Ancestor, not Asa.

I could see where bits of DNA came from.  In another example, I received a nice 141cM chunk of DNA from my father on Chromosome 3. Based upon other DNA matches, of that fragment of DNA a 21cM piece of it and another 17cM piece of was inherited from Asa Roberts. He also had a sizeable 47cM chunk of DNA inherited from another ancestor that apparently was not Asa. I don’t know who it was yet, but additional samples should show its source. It was fun to do, but I couldn’t see a substantial genealogical reason for doing it. How could I use this tool?

Image of DNA Painter - AHW match on C13
DNA Painter shows three DNA segments match on C. 13 for Glennis.

Then, I thought about my half-sister Glennis, so I started a new profile and began painting her DNA. We share a common mother, so, once again, I was able to copy that information into her profile and have all of her maternal DNA. Then, I could focus entirely on her unknown paternal side.  I began finding any of her biological cousins that do not contain our mom’s DNA. That is when I started to see a pattern.  There were segments that were shared by a common ancestor of multiple individuals. That proved, to me, that these segments were from a common ancestor. Their trees indicated that they shared a known ancestor, so I know that Glennis shares either the same common ancestor or an ancestor of that individual. Furthermore, if the individual is more genetically distant than a second cousin, I know that the descendants below the person’s second great-grandparent cannot be a direct line. That can save me considerable research disproving a potential family line.

DNA Painter is a great tool that can help identify likely genetic ancestors and help identify unlikely descendant lines. I like it.

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DISCLAIMER
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Website Review – Lost Cousins

Tech Tuesday – Lost Cousin

Review by Don Taylor

I recently was listening to a podcast about the UK based service Lost Cousins. I had heard of it before, but I hadn’t given it a try nor had I looked at it for what it might be able to do to help folks in their genealogical research.

The primary purpose of LostCousins.Com is to help you find lost cousins so that you may better collaborate in your genealogical research. Most sites that connect you with other researchers do so based upon name and submitted tree information. This leads to many potential connections but few actual relatives. Consequently, many connections are unlikely to respond to your queries because they are too distant, often related by marriage, sometimes by multiple marriages. Lost Cousins does it a bit different; they focus on the quality of matches to other researchers rather than the quantity of matches. They use key census records as the key to finding cousins. You tag an ancestor in a particular census, on a specific page, with a relationship to you. Another person does the same thing. For example, in the 1880 Census, my 2nd Great-Grandfather is listed.  If the same person on the same page of the census is your ancestor too, then we are related.

Signing up is very easy to do. The site has a free level which doesn’t require you to provide a credit card nor detailed personal information.  You only need to subscribe (pay) if you find a lost cousin that you want to contact. (A subscriber may contact you, but you need to be a subscriber to initiate the first contact.) Even then, the service is very inexpensive (£10 per year).

Although Lost Cousins uses eight specific census records, the majority of users enter data into either the 1881 England & Wales Census or the 1880 US Census. The vast majority of my ancestors were in the United States in 1880, so I began entering my ancestors into the system.  For the 1880 Census, they ask you to enter the Roll / Film number, Page / Sheet number and letter, Surname, Forename, Age, and Relationship to you (typically, “blood relative” or “direct ancestor”).  In my case, into the 1880 US Census, I entered Roll 575, Page 374A, Surname Barber, Forename Frank, Age 40, and Direct Descendant. (Note: I entered “Frank” as he was entered into the census and not “Franklin” as was his actual name.) Then, I entered a second person, Asa Roberts and all was well. Neither of them had any cousin matches, but that was okay. I knew I have lots more ancestors to enter.

After only two entries, I ran into MY problem. I realized, particularly in some of my Family Tree Maker corrupted source entries (see Review and Rant), but also, some of my early entries didn’t have all of the information that I should have entered. Sure, I had enough information to find the record again, Name, Place, and Census Year is sufficient to search and find most entries, but it wasn’t the right information to enter into Lost Cousins. So, I need to go back and clean up some of my Census Record citations. That’s okay; I should clean them up regardless. I  entered other direct ancestors into the system, but so far no matches to cousins.

The eight censuses that Lost Cousins uses are:

  • 1841 England & Wales
  • 1880 United States
  • 1881 Canada
  • 1881 England & Wales
  • 1881 Scotland
  • 1911 England & Wales
  • 1911 Ireland
  • 1940 United States

In the two I entered, I did the “Search for Cousins.” No matches.  I’m not surprised. With only two entries in the 1880 US Census, Lost Cousins suggests I only have a match potential of 0.06%.

There are two ways for me to increase the likelihood of finding a lost cousin. First, I need to enter more of my ancestors from any of the above censuses into their system. Second, more cousins need to register and enter their ancestors into the system. I can take care of the first item, but I need you to help out by you to fulfill the second item. So, if you aren’t registered with Lost Cousins, I encourage you to register. Maybe, we are lost cousins, but if you don’t register we may never know.

The process doesn’t take long, and there is a potential for a big hit. Consequently, I think it is time well spent. The process of adding ancestors brought to my attention the need for me to clean up some of the census citations in my records.  Sigh….

Note:  Lost Cousins also produces a newsletter that registered individuals may subscribe to. Past newsletters are searchable, so registration may not only provide leads on lost cousins but may also provide leads regarding other websites and resources.

Reminder to Self:

  • Never take shortcuts in source citations!

My Future Actions:

  • Clean up my sources for the 1880 US Census, the 1881 England & Wales Census, and the 1881 Canadian Census.
  • Enter remaining ancestors with 1880 or 1881 census entries into Lost Cousins.

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