How many of us have those shaky leaves on Ancestry.com? Sometimes there are 2 on mine and sometimes there are 32. I think it all depends on how much I’ve worked on the site in recent days.
Today I thought I’d check a couple of leads that had popped up on a particular branch of the family.
The first thing I do is click on the shaky leaf and see what kinds of records they are referring me to. Then I go to my Legacy database and see what information I have on that person.
NOTE: I use the Ancestry tree for the purpose of connecting with cousins and others who might be researching my line. And, for the shaky leaves that refer me to records that I can follow up on. My primary family tree is on my personal database on Legacy. ALL my research notes are on Legacy, as are most of my sources and the majority of my images. I absolutely DO NOT rely on the family trees on Ancestry as sources. They are merely possible leads. That’s a whole other blog post. But, trust me when I say that there are more errors on those trees than you and I can even count.
What I found today was a shaky leaf for Elliott H. BOGGS. He is a 3rd Great Granduncle and I’m very interested in knowing more about him. All I had in my database was his approximate date of birth & place and his wife, their marriage date and 6 children.
Here is a screenshot of what I have in my Legacy database for Elliott & his wife & children.
As you can see, there is a LOT of missing information.
Here is one of the leads that showed up in Ancestry. I have him as having died in Iowa in Sep 1882, which is very close to the death date listed here.
When I clicked on that lead, here is what came up.
I didn’t know where he was buried. Is this really him? What should I do next?
I decided that my next move would be to go on FindAGrave.com and search for Oliver Cemetery in Monroe, Ringgold, Iowa.
Here is the result of my search:
I clicked on the cemetery. It shows the 392 interments and that it is 94% photographed. I entered Boggs in search box for last name and clicked on “search.”
NOTE: I rarely, if ever, enter a first and last name when I am searching for someone on findagrave. The site has a very narrow margin in it’s search engine. In this case less is always better. I’d rather see 100 Boggs come up and pick the one I want, than have none come up because I entered Elliott and the memorial spells the name Eliott.
In this case I got the dreaded “Sorry, there are no records.”
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
- Give up?
- Assume that the record on Ancestry is incorrect and he isn’t really buried here?
- Look for other places that might have records for this cemetery?
I conducted a search on Google for “Oliver Cemetery in Iowa” and got the following results:
Are we having fun yet? I know I am.
I reviewed these entries before clicking on any of them.
- The first one looks promising.
- The second one is Mount Olivet in Dubuque County, Iowa, so I don’t think that’s a hit.
- Nor is the next entry from wikipedia.
Let’s click on that first entry and see what we find.
OH NO! There are no Boggs listed here at all.
SHOULD I GIVE UP NOW?
Heck no! Let’s scroll further down the list from Google and see what else is there.
I like the looks of that second entry with a reference to the GenWeb Project. In my 10+ years of experience I have found that GenWeb projects can contain a lot of good information. Based on my experience I will click on that one.
NOTE: If you don’t have years of experience, you would probably have to click on each of the results found on Google to see what they contain. We learn as we go.
Once I clicked on that second entry here is what I saw:
A close up shows that they have Oliver Cemetery Transcriptions – with links to gravestone photographs, biographies, obituaries and family pages.
What? WOW! I sure hope they have a listing for Elliott Boggs.
I clicked on the link shown in blue “Oliver Cemetery Transcriptions.” They had all the letters of the alphabet, so I clicked on “B” with my fingers crossed. Here goes……..
I scroll down the page of B surnames.
THERE HE IS!!!!!
Am I excited? You bet I am. As I quickly review what is listed here I realize this is, more than likely, the correct person and matches my entry in Legacy. Not only does this give Elliott’s name and his location in the cemetery, but there is his wife, listed right next to him. And THERE’S MORE.
This listing contains:
- Both Elliott H. Boggs and his wife Elnora H. McCoy Boggs.
- Their location in plot 62 in the cemetery.
- A full date of birth for Elliott and a place. And a year and place for Elnora.
- The full date of death, place of death & age for Elliott and the full date for Elnora.
- In the comments area we have the name of the parents of both Elliott & Elnora, but also their marriage date & place.
WHAT WILL I DO NEXT?
Once I’ve gotten over the excitement of my find, I will begin looking for other records to confirm what is here.
How does it compare to what I already know?
If there are conflicts, are they small ones or major?
What other records can I locate that will help me confirm this information? Maybe a death certificate, marriage record, probate record.
Is the cemetery still in operation? I’ve made many a phone call to cemeteries all over the country and had some wonderful results.
I’m pretty convinced that this is “my” Elliott Boggs. Small discrepancies like years of birth being off, Eleanor McCoy being listed as Elnora, his death year listed as 1893 and not 1892 as in my database, the marriage being listed as 18 Apr 1849 and not 18 Apr 1839 are not reason enough for me to believe this isn’t “my” Elliott.
That being said, I have a LOT of proving to do. So, off I go to find more records. This has been a good day of research and very rewarding.
LESSON: NEVER give up. Keep on looking and keep on clicking until you’ve exhausted all possibilities.
What if I would have given up after that first search on FindAGrave or Google that turned up nothing?
Copyright © 2013 Diane Gould Hall