Here is the mission directly from Randy’s post:
1) We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Online Research tonight...
2) Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very first person on your list of E surnames is. Or the first person on your list of I surnames. Or Q surnames. Or any other name you need to research. Your choice!
3) What do you know (or not know) about this person based on your research? It's OK to do more research if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!
4) How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
5) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.
Here is my random person:
2) I chose to go to the first letter of the alphabet in my Legacy database. The very first person listed is Lou Emma Abbott. I didn’t even recognize her name, but see that she is married to a Lunsford, which is a name I recognize.
3) What I know about Lou Emma Abbott. She was born about 1868, possibly in Mississippi, she was married to William Lunsford. I have 7 children in the database, born to this couple. I have William’s estimated birth date and an exact date of death for him. The only sources I have for this scant amount of information is a 1910 census and William’s Louisiana death index information.
Here is how they appear in my Legacy database:
Pretty sparse information as you can see.
Here is the new information I was able to find in under an hour, for this couple.
I first checked my Ancestry tree to see if there were any usable hints.
NOTE: I look for the vital and census records first and rarely refer to the Ancestry Member Trees as they are generally unreliable and poorly or not sourced.
Here’s what I found on Ancestry:
- 1910 census – she and William with 7 children living in Louisiana
- 1920 census – she and William with 2 children still at home, in Louisiana
- 1930 census – she and William living in Louisiana
- Texas Death Certificates (this is an especially good find)
- Death records for her husband, William and her children, Huntington, Milton, Paul & Florry (married name Chesnutt)
Next, I checked FindAGrave. Based on the death certificate I located for Lou Emma, she is buried at Forest Park-Lawndale Cemetery in Houston, Harris, Texas. I did not find a memorial for her at the cemetery, but I did find one for her daughter, Florry May Lunsford Chesnutt, memorial #127921340, and for Florry’s husband, Bert Chesnutt.
Here is how the entry for Lou Emma Abbott Lunsford now looks in my Legacy database:
There is certainly more work for me to do. BUT, look at how much information I was able to fill in for Lou Emma Abbott. This truly was just a random pick from my database and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I found more information.
4) Lou Emma Abbott Lunsford is the wife of my 1st cousin 4 times removed. That is probably why I never bothered to pursue more information about her. I will work on the more distant collateral lines, only if I think that doing so will help me with something I’m looking for.
CONCLUSION: This was a worthwhile expenditure of my time. Why? Because it reinforced how important it is to go back to people in our database and review what we have or don’t have. In this case I was able to locate 3 census records, 6 death records and 1 burial location. I’m sure I could locate other records, but I will stop here.
Thank you to Randy Seaver for suggesting this exercise. If you decide to review someone in your tree, please share it with me in the comment section of this post. I’d love to hear about it.
OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST
EVALUATING RECORDS ON AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON - WHAT YOU WILL LEARN - Gladys Lillian Gould
QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS
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