Thursday, May 21, 2015

Refreshing My Database Using the 52 Ancestors Weekly Theme

As astute Genea-Musings readers know, I've been posting biographies of my ancestors in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts every Friday morning.  I'm up to Week 73 (I started in January 2014) this week.  I chose to do this task in ahnentafel (ancestor list) order, starting with my 8 great-grandparents, then my 16 2nd greats, then the 32 3rd-greats, and I'm working on the 64 4th-great-grandparents at present.  I have some "missing" 4th greats, so the next biography will be for #88 in my ahnentafel (ancestor list), who is Humphrey White (1757-1814).

For many of these ancestors past my 2nd great-grandparents, I researched in libraries and on FHL microfilm, and relied on authored works and New England vital record books to provide information about these families in the 1988-1998 time period.  For Humphrey White, the major find was this work:

Ruth Wilder Sherman, "Some Descendants of Jonathan White of Dartmouth MA and of Humphrey White of Glocester RI," The American Genealogist, Volume 56, Number 2 (April 1981), pages 113-118, page 115, Humphrey White sketch.

Each week, I try to discipline myself to review my earlier research (if I can find the binder!), then do some online research to find records that will add content to my biography.  I search mainly in,,, MyHeritage, and GenealogyBank, and ChroniclingAmerica for records pertaining to these persons.

When I find a record, I download it, rename it using my file naming scheme, and add it to my surname/family file folders.  I then create a Fact/Event in my RootsMagic family tree database, craft a source citation for the Fact/Event, transcribe or extract information from the record for a Fact/Event Note, and usually attach the record image to the person in my database and then tag it to the Fact/Event.

Here is my "Edit Person" screen for this week's biography for Humphrey White:

Before I started searching for records for Humphrey this week, I had only the birth, marriage, death, burial and probate Facts/Events for him.

By critically reviewing what I knew about Humphrey White, I realized that I did not have U.S. Census records for him (I found records for 1790, 1800 and 1810 on Ancestry), or land records (two records were listed in the Sherman article, so I found them in the FamilySearch database for Massachusetts Land Records).  I also know about a land record in Glocester, Rhode Island, so I need to find my notes about that deed and add an Event and source for it also.

In this review and refresh process, I found a Dartmouth, Massachusetts town record for Humphrey's marriage to "Sibbel Kerby" on and a newspaper notice where his administrators are notifying creditors to submit their claims on GenealogyBank.  I'm still looking for more information about him.

The beauty of adding these Fact/Events, Sources, and Fact/Event Notes, and updating the Person Note, is that I can create the typical 52 Ancestors biography with an "Individual Summary" report.  I do need to edit it a bit, but the hard work of typing details is already done by my input to the RootsMagic program (and earlier programs) over the past 27 years.

By reviewing and refreshing my RootsMagic database, I have been adding significant content, source citations, and media to my database every week.  It may not be periodical or book quality, but it's better and more complete than what I had.  Perhaps it will help other researchers with the same ancestor find records that will help them in their family history.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at

No comments: