Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ancestor Tracking - 2017 Ancestor Tally

Dear Grandparents,
Many have heard me say each time I identify a new ancestor "now I have two additional people to find." Family researchers who announce that their "genealogy is finished" have always surprised me.
There are many of you that I still need to identify and there are more and more records available.
I figure my work will never be done.

Yesterday I came across Family Sleuther: Solving family history's mysteries a Facebook page ( this is the spelling used on the page) with a post on Ancestor Tracking. He suggested that the beginning of a new year is a good time to tally one's ancestors. I imagine the idea is to compare how many additional have been identified by the beginning of 2018. Having successfully identified more than 1,000 direct line ancestors seems at first glance to be quite an achievement. Looking at the far right column shows how much more work there is to be done.

My first challenge comes with the parents of my 2nd great grandfather William Henry Colby. Most records show him as having been born in New Hampshire. The earliest record found is his marriage to Fanny Hummell 11 May 1855 in Lake County, Illinois. This record contains an inexact spelling of his wife Fanny Hunnewell's name. Below is his entry in the 1900 census.

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 January 2017), William H Colby, Vernon Township, Lake, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 139, sheet 1B, family 20, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,314.
The parentage of another 2nd great grandfather, Simpson Barnes, is also a challenge. He is consistently listed in census records as having been born in New York. He marries Angelina Burgoyne in Cambria, Hillsdale County Michigan 15 November 1848. No record discovered lists the names of his parents.
"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 November 2014), Simpson Barnes, Cambria, Hillsdale, Michigan, United States; citing family 84, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)
The next hole in my linage is identifying the parents of Elizabeth Jane Jones, my 3rd great grandmother on my mother's side. She is my direct fifth generation mitochondrial ancestor.

Elizabeth Jane (Jones) Gibson
portrait copied from Hugunin Family Bible in my possession.

Entries in the Hugunin Family Bible, which were entered around the time of her daughter Sarah Amanda Gibson's marriage to Van Epps Hugunin in 1868, list Elizabeth's birth as 2 May 1821. However, they make no mention of her parents. The earliest record that clearly identifies Elizabeth is that of her marriage to Newsom Gibson 19 December 1840 ("Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950," database, FamilySearch ( 8 December 2014), Newsom Gibson and Elizabeth Jones, 29 Dec 1840'; citing Davidson, Tennessee, reference; FHL microfilm 200,295).

The challenges in identifying each of these great grandparents lies in the their common surnames.
Jones, Barnes and Colby occur so frequently that it has been impossible to differentiate my ancestors from others with similar names. So far.

As the chart shows, I have plenty of work to do this year. Only another 3,860 ancestors to identify. Any serendipitous assistance is welcome.


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