Rockdale County Genealogical Society Publication

                                                  February, 2012


                                                              100 Years Ago in Rockdale County


                   Some Interesting Notes

The 1940 US Census will be released April 2, 2012. The indexing won’t
be completed at that time.

The TV show “Who Do You Think You Are” will be back for another run.
You can check the schedule at

Note from Conyers History: John Holcomb was the blacksmith who sold
his land for the railroad. He had a brother named Bob Holcomb. They
were the only people living here before 1845 when the railroad began

Also, A. K. Richardson donated the land for the cemetery (now called
the Old Conyers Cemetery on Pine Log Rd.) in 1853. George Marston’s
child was the first person to be buried there. George Marston was
a carpenter who built most of the older houses in Conyers.

First public school began in 1889.

                      On-Line Discussion of Note

I look at online trees as an opportunity on several levels. At the
very least its a new contact, And sometimes the error turns out to
be ours and not the poster. Strangely enough this just happened to
me so the lesson is fresh.

One other thing; re: posting comments about errors I used to post
lots of comments on the trees at Rootsweb. But I have since decided
that that should be a last option. Instead I contact the tree owner
and discuss the situation. Its less agitating that way. I suppose
comments will be added in the future if civil discourse fails.
Finally there should be a special level of purgatory for people who
post trees that are chock full of errors and who then abandon them.

My wife’s line has had a couple of books published about it (vanity
press type publishing). The first one was done in the 1970-1980 timeframe
and was neither well-researched nor adequately documented (our two
kids were entered as one person with both names). The second book
was in the 1990-2000 timeframe and researched by a Ph.D. who did excellent
research (including ancient paper documents at county courthouses)
and very thorough documentation. Care to guess which book someone
entered in its entirety (including dozens of “Living Lastname”) at

It’s sad that the first writer failed to make the best use of available
resources - especially people - as some of them were no longer with
us when the second writer started his research - and even fewer are
available now. The last name is sufficiently unique for this online
tree to befuddle other researchers for centuries. The best correction
I could make would be a pointer to the second book, copies of which
are very difficult to find - small print run = very few copies beyond
those for the people who initially committed to buy one. My copy has
a “Library of Congress - Duplicate Copy” stamp inside the front cover.
“” <>

                  On-Line Discussion of Dates  

  I was doing one of those RAOKs, looking up in my database and  fleshing
out loose-ends for someone.  Dropped by and
ran the name. Found  several trees, apparently quoting one another,
that appeared to  have conflated two women (mother and daughter) of
very similar  given names. One had a death date a good 15 years after
anything  I had in my database. Played further, checking that later
death-date.  OK, now I’ve got a problem. The state’s Vital records
says she  died 9 Oct 1913. But the county newspaper in an issue published
 in October 1911 says she died the 8th.  The obit listed surviving
children, who can yes indeed be found  where it says they are and
who yes-sirree-bob do belong to the  woman I had.  > No prizes for
guessing which of the two dates I’m keeping (g),  but just for laughs
on dreary rainy day 2 ... which would YOU  keep and why?   Cheryl
Singhals <>

You should ALMOST always accept the source recorded the closest to
the event in question UNLESS there is reason to believe the person
had reason to lie or the record could be error-ridden.
A newspaper published in 1911 obviously couldn’t be publishing a death
two years in the FUTURE unless they are psychic. The Vital record
--- is it a transcription perhaps where 8 sloppily written could look
like 9 to the transcriber? matter, I’d opt for the 8th regardless.
My grandfather’s birth certificate says he was born March 20, 1864
but he was a Quaker and the Quaker records say he was born March 21,
1864. He always celebrated his birthday on the 21st. He was born at
home on the farm and the doctor responsible for reporting his birth
to the state probably got it wrong or who knows...maybe he was born
close to midnight and it is questionable. But for me his birthdate
is the 21st. My mom says her dad always said he was born in the first
day of spring that year and that this was the 21st.


             Follow-Up To Dates Discussion

The first thing I want to say to the original poster regarding this
topic is “Welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy”.

I have run into so many odd things it is hard to know where to begin.
Having sadly been put in the position of having to deal with the loss
of loved ones and being responsible for the arrangements as well as
having been there at the time of death I know where a good share of
the information that goes into the official documents come from. They
come from the person, maybe a family member, maybe not, who happens
to be standing there at the time.

Keep in mind that this person or persons are under extreme emotional
distress when they are questioned for the information that goes into
a death certificate. Any information on the death certificate and
the death record can be wrong, due to circumstances at the time of
the event, dates and places of birth, names of parents, even the true
name of the deceased may be unknown, guessed at, or misstated due
to stress. You don’t generally have that information handy at the
time the person dies.

I have an uncle who died as an infant in 1919 due to the flu and pneumonia
epidemics that were occurring at the time. The death record has this
child as buried in Armstrong, Iowa but I know for a fact that he was
buried in Wallingford, Iowa many miles away. I know this because my
father, brother of the infant, knew where the grave was located. I
have been to the grave site and seen it for myself.

As to inaccuracies in dates, my great aunt was a nurse during this
same time frame. She was in the Des Moines, Iowa area with her hometown
being Goldfield, Iowa. Her brother, my great uncle wrote of having
the misfortune of learning of his sister’s death through the hometown
newspaper. He learned his sister had died as a result of having contracted
the illness through nursing the seriously ill at work. Understandably
he was outraged to learn of her death in such a manner. He couldn’t
understand how his sister should become so ill and then to die without
someone in the family letting him know. As it turned out, Gladys had
been ill but had not died; she recovered, married, had a family and
did not leave this world for another 60 years.

I have worked for a newspaper; I know that most attempt to be accurate
in what they print but some work at it harder than others. A check
of a later issue may or may not, produce a corrected article. These
corrections are generally buried within the issue and do not leap
out at you. They do not necessarily occur in the very next issue either,
time can pass depending upon when the error was caught, if the error
was caught and even whether or not the paper considers it worth the
space in the paper to correct.

I guess if I have a point to make it is this, document what you can,
get as many sources as you are able, use the most logical documented
information in your tree but make sure that you identify any discrepancies
in your field notes along with where you obtained the information.
That is about as good as you can do. After all, you are dealing with
time, distances, and the fact that we are all human and thus prone
to mistakes.

Good luck in your research and may these occurrences be few and far


                Using "Hints" From Ancestry.Com

A few weeks ago there was a discussion on this site about the unreliability
of “hints” that pop up on family trees.

I had not paid much attention to the hints until I read that discussion
and, since then, I’ve scoured my online tree at Ancestry and ignored
all but two of over 250 hints.

In reviewing the hints on my tree, I have found staggering amounts
of poor research by others whose trees are posted on Ancestry.
Now, I don’t claim to be a perfect researcher but most of the hints
I found -- and discarded -- come from others who seem to accept every
piece of information at face value.

Two examples:
1. My wife’s g-g-grandfather was born in SC, lived most of his life
in AL, moved to TX in 1881 and died there in 1884. These facts are
documented in census records, dates and notes in family bible, dates
on headstones, and newspaper obituaries. However, an individual with
a similar -- not same -- name died in Memphis in 1861 and every single family tree that lists his name (he appears on 21 other
trees) show his death date as 1861. After looking carefully at these
other trees, it’s clear that all or almost all of them were copied
from a single tree that is filled with errors.

2. My wife’s g-g-g-grandfather was born in VA and died in SC. Yet,
five other trees that contain him have a photo of “his” grave marker
in Michigan -- but all of these trees list his place of death and
burial as South Carolina. In fact, he’s resting quietly in a churchyard
in South Carolina and his real headstone is on Find-A-Grave, put there
by a local researcher who is a distant relative of my wife.
These two examples are not the most egregious errors I have found
in other family trees.

On the other hand, I found another family tree with many ancestors
in common with mine that contained information for which I had been
searching. I contacted the owner of that tree and found she is a careful
researcher who documents every fact. She shared with me many of her
documents and has pointed me toward the answers for a number of questions
I have about our shared ancestors.

                  Beginning A New Year

Welcome back for another year of genealogy.  Here's hoping that you
have a fresh outlook that will enable you to dig into those dead ends
you have found in your family tree.  We could all use a little pep
talk to get us in the mood. 

There are many experienced individuals among the members of the Rockdale
County Genealogical Society who can assist you with any problems which
you have found.  Larry Knowles comes to mind.  He is very knowledgeable
about courthouses and original records therein.  He has visited many
of Georgia's courthouses and knows the ins and outs of getting access
to those hard- to-find documents.   Give Larry a call.  He could fill
you in on how to find  what you need.

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

President:  Chris Zawadski
V. President:  Gayle Vivian
Treasurer: Ellen Trainer
Secretary:  Claudine Jackson
Program Chairman:  Gere Byrd
Membership Chairman:  Vacant
Membership Committee: Vacant
Trip Coordinator: Claudine  Jackson
Board Member:  Vacant
Newsletter: Marion T. Farmer
                   1500 A. Pine Log Rd NE
                   Conyers, GA. 30012