Rockdale County Genealogical Society Publication

                                                                August, 2005


             August 21, 2005, Meeting

The August meeting has been changed from the second Sunday to the
third Sunday due to a conflict in scheduling at the library. The Rockdale
County Genealogical Society will meet at the library on the twenty-first
of August at 3:00 P.M. The public is invited to attend.

The theme of the program will be “Show and Tell”; so, this will be
your opportunity to tell us about that remarkable discovery which
you have made. Or, it can be your opportunity to expound on a particularly
difficult line you have. Maybe someone will be present who will know
just where the information you are looking for is located. You never
know; but, unless you let the right person know, you won’t find out.


   Library Visitors Share Research Names

Tyler Stewart, Conyers, Ga. Researching John F. Kennedy

Beulah Barningham, Lithonia, Ga. Researching ancestors.

Eula Pope, Stone Mountain, Ga. No names given.

Jenel Ship, 3061 Stonebridge Trail, Conyers, Ga. 30094. Researching

Jim Boyd, 543 Cordillera Trail, Boerne, Tx. 78006, Researching Boyd
and Mitchell.

Helen Littlejohn, No Address. Researching Perry and Cromer.

Donald Freeman, 113 South Broad St., Bowman, Ga. 30624. Researching

Ron Sims, South Georgia (No specific address given). Researching Rice.

Debbie Crawford, blondacor4@bellsouth, net(?) Researching McDaniel.

   Students and New Member List

1st class:
Ellen Trainer
Norma Owens
Susan Hardie
Ragan Hardie
Linda Reynolds
Mildred Carey
Jackie Smith
Linda Mitchell
2nd class:
Walter Gentry
Duane Prambert
Roy Peek
Donna Peek
Sherry Pierce
Jenel Shipp
Ann Jenson
Debbie Benton
Rachel Fuller
3rd class:
Teresa Palmer
Maxine Tomlinson
Lori Allen
Melodie Hood
Rosalie Holmstrand
Donna Fulford
Georgia Wieler
Carole Dooley
4th class:
R. G. Mitchell
Janie Mitchell
Bob Buhler

We have a few old members in this list.  We want to encourage the
new people to attend our meetings and take an active part in the activities
of the club.  Our thanks to Gerre Byrd who is teaching the classes
and provided the list. 

Programs for the Remainder of the Year

September 11th – Ken Thomas Genealogical & Historical Columnist for

the AJC Newspapers who will talk on "Unmarried Ancestors".

October 9th – WALTER J. FREEMAN, PH.D. , Subject: D N A


           New Computer Programs Reviewed

Smart Computing’s August issue (See Nancy Guinn’s periodical section
for a copy) has a comparative review of the two current premier genealogy
software programs, Legacy Family Tree 5 Standard and The Master Genealogist
6 Silver. The Master Genealogist reportedly has a more advanced data-entry
option while Legacy seems much more user-friendly and intuitive to use.

We first reported on Legacy in our November, 2004, issue

(See  Click Here.

A free download is available at: http:\\ Click here.

The Master Genealogist is probably more aptly suited for use by experienced
computer genealogists. It reportedly has a steep learning curve which
will be difficult for novices to master. Of course, this goes along
with a large number of useful features which will be quite helpful
to someone who has a mature data set. The program can be downloaded
from: for $34.00 or purchased via CD for
$35.00.  Click here.

          WEB Search Criteria Ideas

I have been going through my data base reviewing all the Browns in
Gloucester Massachusetts that do not have parents. I have been doing
Google searches on them.

In one case Hannah Brown married William Somes 27 May 1827.
The easiest way to enter my search criteria is: somes +william +hannah
+brown +gloucester +1827. However this got 105 hits with lots of erroneous

Another was is to enter: “hannah brown”|”brown, hannah” +”william
somes”|”somes, william” +gloucester +1827. This got one hit which
had nothing to do with Gloucester MA.

I then tried: “hannah brown”|”brown, hannah” +”william somes|soames”|”somes|soames,
william” +gloucester +1827. Five hits, none pertinent.

Does anyone have other ideas and ways to do better genealogical searches?
bob gillis
bob gillis <>

This may give you some ideas on how to structure your own searches
to define the names in such a way to give you a more useful result.

    Proving Your Sources in Todays Genealogy

Can someone point me to a description of primary/direct and
secondary/indirect sources?  Are there other types of sources
besides primary/direct and secondary/indirect, or do all sources
fall under one of those two categories?

Just back from the NGS conference with this news: The terms "Primary
and secondary" are no longer used.

Now we say  "Direct" and "Indirect."

If readers are interested I can give a few more details.  Evidence,
proof, sources have been redefined and fine-tuned.   I would say the
RootsWeb dictionary of genealogical terms isn't the best source....

Jan Hall

I was at the conference as well, and I have to say that I disagree
with your perspective.  At least among American genealogists there
is, and has been, a 3-dimensional aspect to genealogical information
for several years.  The components are:

1. Primary vs. secondary information - based on "informant's level
of participation or knowledge"

2. Direct vs. indirect evidence - based on "relevance of information
and adequacy to answer question"

3. Original vs. derivative source - "documents, publications,
databases, people or artifacts"

Source of quotes is Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Sources & Citations
Simplified," syllabus material, Tennessee Crossroads Program
Syllabus, 1-4 June 2005, p. 56.

Others besides Mills gave presentations at the NGS conference that
included these three dimensions, such as Beth Stahr and Christine
Rose among others.

The terms primary/secondary, direct/indirect, and original/
derivative are not interchangeable.  Any piece of genealogical
information can be assigned a level on each of these three
dimensions.  For example, a birth date on someone's birth
certificate would usually be primary information, direct evidence,
and an original source document.  If it was a photocopy of the birth
certificate it would be primary information, direct evidence, but a
derivative source.

The purpose is to help you weight the value of a given piece of
information.  All else being equal (or unknown), primary information
would be valued more highly than secondary information; direct
evidence would be valued more highly than indirect evidence; and an
original source would be valued more highly than a derivative

While I think these terms are generally helpful, I think that to be
truly useful they need to be combined into an index that can
consistently and accurately provide weight to a given piece of
information.  If you have three two-level attributes you have
2x2x2=8 possible combinations.  These would include:

1. Primary/Direct/Original
8. Secondary/Indirect/Derivative

If it can be assumed that #1 is the best possible outcome and #8 is
the worst, then the goal would be to rank the remaining six outcomes
in the sequence.  Then theoretically, any piece of genealogical
information could be placed on this scale, and the higher its rank,
the more weight it carries.  Keep in mind that it doesn't mean that
a piece of information ranked as #1 would be correct and one ranked
#8 would be incorrect if they disagree.  The opposite could be true.
But with no additional knowledge or information on the topic you
would give greater weight to the probability of #1 being right than
#8 being right.

The beauty of an index like this is that any given piece of
information can be placed into an objective category.  You would
have a "surety value" (to borrow a genealogy software phrase) from
1-8 that would be reasonably consistent across all genealogists.

There are two problems with this index scenario as I see it.

1) If you can't come up with a ranking that works fairly
consistently for any given piece of information - one that
reasonably rational and experienced genealogists can agree on, the
index is of little value.

2) The second problem I have is a general one related to the
original/derivative dimension.  I simply don't see that dimension
being useful as a 2-level attribute.  For example, the birth
certificate I mentioned previously could be original or derivative
depending on whether it is a photocopy or not.  Even though a
photocopy can be "doctored," if I received it from the state I would
consider it to be basically interchangeable with the original - the
information on one is as good as the information on the other.  You
might come up with scenarios where that isn't true such as
additional information on the back of the original that was never
photocopied.  However, a derivative that is photocopied/photographed/
microfilmed is generally pretty true to the original.  Not so for
derivative text such as a deed transcription - even one made in a
deedbook by the county clerk.  Mistakes happen regularly with
derivative text.

Therefore, I would suggest that you need to differentiate between
derivative photocopies and derivative text for this concept to have
any value at all.  The original/derivative measure needs to be
expanded to four levels:

1. Original form
2. Derivative photo reproduction
3. Derivative text reproduction
4. Derivative photo & text reproduction

This causes the index to be 16 levels instead of 8; pretty unwieldy,
but hopefully a better measure.  Any way, these are just some things
I have been thinking about with respect to meaningful evidence
evaluation.  It may simply be an impossibly complex and inconsistent
process that provides no greater benefit than the subjective
evaluation of an experienced genealogist.

While my index may or may not be feasible, the three dimensions of
information are alive, if not well, in genealogical circles.

Best regards,

Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis <>

(Reprinted by permission)

              Civil War Pension Information

I have found someone I think is an ancestor. I know what company he
was with, when he enlisted, and when he was mustered out but I can’t
 find any record of a pension. Who do I write to in order to see if
 he had a pension?  “patga” <>

Was he union or confedrate? That makes a difference. The confederate
pensions were paid by the individual states where the veteran lived
after the war.

The union pensions were paid by the federal government. I think they
are in the national archives.

Edith Fensom <>

If he was a Union vet, you’d go to the National Archives web site
and download a form to send in with your money. Sorry, I forget which
form number it is. As with acquiring all military records, spend the
extra money for the ENTIRE file.

If the ancestor fought for the Confederacy you will have to contact
the Southern state where he was LIVING after the war. If you know
which state, it should be pretty easy to find the correct place to
contact using Cyndi’s List:

If he fought for the Confederacy but settled in the “North” after
the war, you’re out of luck, I’m sorry to say. Northern states did
not pay pensions to people who fought against the union.

Good luck,

Ed: Nancy Guinn Library has an index of the Georgia Confederate pensions.

JEANS & GENES is a publication of the Rockdale County Genealogical
% Nancy Guinn Library
864 Green St. SW
Conyers, Ga.  30012

President:  Bill Freese
V. President:  Martha Brown
Treasurer: Jackie Smith
Secretary: Bertha Little
Program Cochairmen: Sherry Pierce,  Norma Owens
Membership Chairman:  Gerre Byrd
Publicity & Newsletter: Marion T. Farmer
                                    1500 A. Pine Log Rd NE
                                    Conyers, GA. 30012