Wednesday, January 4, 2017

DearMYRTLE Panelist~Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group-Chapter 1

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Used with permission

When DearMYRTLE sent out an announcement a few weeks ago for participants for her Study Group for Christine Rose's book Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, I decided to give it a try. I have participated as a viewer in many of Myrt's hangouts and study groups but this was the first time to actually be a part of the panel.  With help from Cousin Russ, I was able to overcome some tech issues and join in on the discussion of the first chapter.  Homework written about a topic in the chapter is due on  Monday before the hangout, read by Myrt and Russ and provides discussion material. Viewers can add comments which are brought in and shared with everyone. This is a wonderful way to hear what others think about the chapter.

Going first to talk about my homework was good because I continued to have a few hiccups with tech. Myrt gave out Gold Stars and I was surprised to receive one for this assignment! All the panelists did a great job with their homework and we learned something from each of them.
 Hopefully, with Cousin Russ's help again after we wrapped up, there won't be any problems next week.

The video of the hangout can be watched via youtube

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Here is a copy of my homework submitted for this session. 

Genealogy Proof Standard Study Group
Homework Chapter One-What is the Genealogical Proof Standard?
Cheri Hudson Passey
Reference: Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case 4th Edition Revised, (San Jose, California: CR Publications) 2104

Chapter one of Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case explains the importance of using the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) when researching your ancestors.

How to evaluate evidence for usefulness and quality is a skill that I wish I had learned earlier in my research pursuits.  Many mistakes were made when I began collecting records and documents over 30 years ago.  Like others, I assumed that if an official document recorded information, it must be correct.  I did not know that it was critical to determine who an informant was, or if the information was primary or secondary. My Great Aunt’s genealogy book was copied into my database without any worries about source citations. 

That lack of information almost had me researching a person who didn’t exist.

The death certificate of my 2nd  Great Grandfather, Manning Daughrity was an exciting find. In my early years of researching, I was thrilled to see that it listed his parents. William Daughrity and Martha Stafford. I typed in their names and recorded his birth and death dates. I could move back another generation! I found William and Martha in the census with Manning and his new to me siblings. I also looked for a Stafford family in the census to see if I could connect Martha to her parents with no luck. None of them had a Martha or a family that would have had a daughter her age. 
  Then, I discovered a death certificate for Manning’s sister Mary. It listed William as her father, but Martha Mathis as her mother. I had a problem. Which was it? Stafford or Mathis?

What I had was two original records with conflicting evidence. I realized that just because a record was an official document, it wasn’t necessarily correct. There was the possibility that there were two wives of course. Both with the first name Martha.  
Continuing my search, I discovered the death certificates for more of William Daughrity’s children that indicated the name of their mother was Martha Mathis. The time frames of their births convinced me that there was only one wife and her maiden name was most likely Mathis. 
Looking again at census records showed the William and Martha Daughrity family had Mathis neighbors over many years. A search of the cemeteries in the area the family lived in showed Martha buried in a plot filled with members of a Mathis family. These provided indirect evidence of a possible connection with the families.
Evaluation of the records shows the death certificates are primary evidence of the death, medical and burial information and secondary information for the birth and parent information.  Census records place more than one Mathis family in the area of William and Martha Daughrity adding indirect evidence that the families may have been connected. The burial of Martha in a plot with Mathis family members is also indirect evidence that she may have had Mathis ties. Although there is no one document that proves Martha was a Mathis, with most of her children have a family informant naming her mother a Mathis and the indirect evidence of other records adds to a probable maiden name.
Why did David Daughrity, the son of the deceased Manning Daughrity, claim that his father’s mother was a Stafford?  In fact, he was the same informant (M.D. Daughrity), who named Martha Mathis as the mother of his Aunt Mary Dority when she died in 1922 just four years later.  
There may be many reasons, but a person grieving the loss of a parent may inadvertently give the wrong answer when filling out a form. The passing of his Aunt a few years later may not have been quite as painful and he was able to answer correctly.
  Where might the wrong last name have come from on his father’s death record?  Interestingly enough, further research may have answered the question. Stafford was a name David was familiar with. It was his wife’s maiden name, not his mother’s.  It seems David, in his grief over his father’s death, gave a maiden name, just not the right one.
In another twist, Mary Stafford Daughrity, the wife of David Daughrity was the daughter of James Stafford and Rovenia Mathis! Another Mathis connection. You would think he would remember that name! 
This research problem was one of my first experiences in learning how important it is to look at our evidence and determine what it is telling us and if it is reliable. How glad I am that I didn’t stop at that death certificate and create a Martha Stafford brick wall!

          Death Certificate-Manning Daughrity
South Carolina Department of Archives and History,South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1961” database, Ancestry ( accessed 2 Jan. 2017), entry for Manning Daughrity, certificate number 1763 (1918).

         Death Certificate-Mary Dority
South Carolina Department of Archives and History,South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1961” database, Ancestry ( accessed 2 Jan. 2017), entry for Miss Mary Dority, certificate number 2028 (1922).

I invite you to register and watch the live broadcasts over the next few weeks! How? Simply click on the registration link for this and other DearMYRTLE Hangouts and you will get an email message reminding you to join in the conversation!

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