Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Genealogy Resolution Continued

So, I didn't really talk about my GENEALOGY resolution for 2016, and I do have one!

My MASON family.

I have neglected this family line for decades because, well, it is difficult!

#1 - It is a common surname. But hey! I have SMITHs, JOHNSONs and WILLIAMs, the top 3 most common surnames in the country, so that is no real deterrent.

#2 - They all named their sons, William and John. No kidding! Generation after generation of William and John Masons. But that is not that uncommon with English ancestors.

This is photo from FindAGrave of a "cemetery" in WV.

#3 -  They lived in West Virginia. Don't get me wrong! I love my West Virginia ancestors and their West Virginia Archives and History is one of my favorite web sites for birth, marriage and death records. But my ancestors seemed to have a cavalier attitude for registering such events. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't. And the terrain can be quite challenging.

 The MASONs are well researched back 4 generations, to my 2X great grandfather, William H. Mason (1860-1935), but his father, William B. Mason is where the information is incomplete and contradictory.

So to tackle this problem all the information on the family will be reviewed. ALL OF IT!
I will be looking for:
  • Incomplete information. For example, I don't know when or where William B. Mason or his wife died or were married. The most obvious sources have been checked. Less obvious sources and locations need to be investigated.
  • Contradictory information, such as two of his daughter's death certificates, list different names for their mother. Is the information on the death certificates wrong or did William have two wives? 
  • His wife's name is given as Elizabeth in the 3 censuses they appear in, but Elizabeth starts out as 12 years his junior and ends up being 19 years younger. Same woman, fudging her age, or two different women with the same first name? I have seen that happen, too!
  • Collateral lines need to be fleshed out and investigated for possible clues.
  • Was William B. Mason in the military? He would have been about 44 years old during the Civil War. West Virginia came into being during the Civil War. Which side might William have served on?
  • Did he own land? In the 1850 Census, his occupation is "overseer". The next two censuses list him as a farmer, but with little personal property. Did he own or rent?
I will probably create several spreadsheets to view all the information and identify missing and conflicting information.

Periodically, I will post updates as to how this research is going...

Want a quick laugh? Check out this list of how to "fail at family history":

New book coming to the Medina Library soon: Great Migration Directory

This book promises to list the names of all people known to have come to New England during the Great Migration period, 1620-1640. Each entry provides the name of the head of household, English or European origin (if known), date of migration, principal residences in New England, and the best available sources of information for the subject. This book will be shelved in the Franklin Sylvester Room in the very near future!

Robert Hyde has generously donated 3 scrapbooks on the Medina High School Class of 1950 Reunions. These are already shelved in the Franklin Sylvester Room above the yearbooks.