Monday, October 14, 2013

Gleaning Information From a Record or Article

Geoff Rasmussen had an hour-long presentation on the Legacy Family Tree 2013 Cruise concerning extracting information from an obituary for Nancy Brown.  The broad context was about adding source documents to the software program, but the really interesting material was extracting all of the information.  I worked along with him on my laptop, trying to enter as much information as I saw in the obituary.  I did OK, but Geoff "saw things" that I didn't see.

Therefore, I resolved to do a much better job of data extraction from source documents.

Last night, I ran across a sketch for Andrew Patrick in the book:

Memorial and Biographical Record and Illustrated Compendium of Biography of Citizens of Columbia, Sauk and Adams Counties, Wisconsin, Chicago, Ill. : G. A. Ogle & Co., 1901), Pages 585 - 586 (accessible at

The sketch was of interest to me because it mentions a Carringer person who is a relative.  The sketch for Andrew Patrick reads:

"Andrew Patrick, an agriculturist of energy and ability residing on section 9, New Chester township, Adams county, Wisconsin, was born in Oneida county, New York, September 18, 1833, and is a son of Ralph and Marilla (Skinner) Patrick, also natives of that county, the former born June 25, 1801, the latter March 8, 1801. His paternal grandfather, Ralph Patrick, Sr., served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war under the commands of Washington and La Fayette. After the war he settled in Oneida county, New York, where he spent the remainder of his life.

"On leaving his native state the subject of this sketch came to Wisconsin in 1845, and made his home in Walworth county for five years, at the end of which time he removed to Adams county, locating on the place where he now resides. As the country had not been surveyed at that time, he took a squatter's claim and resided thereon until the land came into the market, when he purchased one hundred and sixty acres from the government. He has since placed one half of the amount under cultivation, and has erected thereon a fine residence, good barns and outbuildings, and made other improvements, which add greatly to the value and attractive appearance of the farm.

"On the 6th of October, 1858, Mr. Patrick was united in marriage with Miss Fideliea Carringer, who died April 6, 1863, and he was again married, March 14, 1865, his second union being with Miss Olive Carringer, by whom he has one child, Louis P. The son was married, March 16, 1899, to Elsie Schieber, and resides at home with his parents.

"Mrs. Patrick's parents were William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer, the former born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, April 3, 1816, the latter in Vermont, May 3, 1813. In 1844 they removed from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and first settled in Walworth county, but in the spring of 1852 came to Adams county, locating in Lincoln township, on what is now known as the Eberhard place. In the fall of 1855 they removed to New Chester township, and lived there until the spring of 1865, when they went to Minnesota. In 1895 they returned to Wisconsin on a visit and remained here a year, but at the end of that time removed to California, where the father died May 19, 1900. He was a farmer and carpenter by occupation, and was a member of the Close Communion Baptist church, to which his wife also belonged, her father, Samuel Churchill, being a minister of that church. She died in San Diego, California, April 23, 1899. Mrs. Patrick's great-grandfather was a soldier of the Revolutionary war and her grandfather a soldier of the war of 1812.

"Politically Mr. Patrick is a stanch Democrat, and has always taken considerable interest in local affairs, serving as chairman of his township for a number of terms and as assessor one term. For a great many years he also served as postmaster of Grand Marsh, which is the oldest postoffice in the county. He has been prominently identified with almost the entire growth and development of the county, and has ever borne his part in those interests calculated to advance the public welfare. He is therefore numbered among the valued and useful citizens of the community, as well as one of its honored pioneers."

1)  What "Events" can I extract from this sketch of the life of Andrew Patrick and his two Carringer wives?  Here's my list:

*  Andrew Patrick resided on Section 9, New Chester Township, Adams County, Wisconsin when the sketch was written
*  Andrew Patrick was an agriculturist of energy and ability when the sketch was written
*  Andrew Patrick was born 18 September 1833 in Oneida County, New York
*  Andrew Patrick's parents were Ralph and Marilla (Skinner) Patrick

*  Ralph Patrick was born 25 June 1801 in Oneida County, New York
*  Marilla Skinner was born 8 March 1801 in Oneida County, New York
*  Ralph Patrick's father, Ralph Patrick, Sr., was a Revolutionary War soldier
*  Ralph Patrick, Sr. settled in Oneida County, New York after the Revolutionary War

*  Andrew Patrick came to Wisconsin in 1845 and resided in Walworth County for 5 years
*  Andrew Patrick moved to Adams County in about 1850 and located to the place he now resides.
*  Andrew Patrick bought 160 acres of land from the U.S. Government.
*  Andrew Patrick married (1) Miss Fideliea Carringer on 6 October 1858

*  Fideliea (Carringer) Patrick died on 6 April 1863
*  Andrew Patrick married (2) Miss Olive Carringer on 14 March 1865.
*  Andrew and Olive (Carringer) Patrick had one son, Louis P. Patrick.
*  Louis P. Patrick married Elsie Scheiber on 16 March 1899.

*  Olive (Carringer) Patrick's parents were William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer.
*  William Carringer was born 3 April 1816 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
*  Irene Churchill was born 3 May 1813 in Vermont.
*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer settled in Walworth County, Wisconsin in 1844.

*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer removed to Adams County, Wisconsin in Spring 1852 and located in Lincoln Township.
*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer removed to New Chester Township in Adams County in Fall 1855.
*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer removed to Minnesota in Spring 1865.
*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer returned to Wisconsin in 1895

*  William and Irene (Churchill) Carringer removed to California in about 1896.
*  William Carringer died on 19 May 1900 in Califronia.
*  William Carringer was a farmer and carpenter.
*  William and Irene Carrringer were members of the Close Communion Baptist Church

*  Irene Churchill's father was Samuel Churchill.
*  Samuel Churchill was a minister of the Close Communion Baptist Church.
*  Irene (Churchill) Carringer died on 23 April 1899 in San Diego, California.
*  Mrs. Olive (Carringer) Patrick's great-grandfather was a Revolutionary War soldier.

*  Mrs. Olive (Carringer) Patrick's grandfather was a soldier in the War of 1812.
*  Andrew Patrick was a staunch Democrat at the time of writing this sketch.
*  Andrew Patrick served as chairman of his township for a number of terms
*  Andrew Patrick served as assessor one term.
*  Andrew Patrick served as postmaster at Grand Marsh for many years

There at least those 37 "Events" or "Facts" that could be entered into my genealogy software database concerning these families.  All from one source!

2)  But how reliable is this source?  It is not an Original Source - it is an Authored Work (with information from a number of persons and many original and/or derivative sources).  Who was the Informant - the person who wrote this sketch before 1901 for publication in this book?  I don't know, but my educated guess is that they are Andrew Patrick and his wife, Olive (Carringer) Patrick.  They may have relied on family papers, one or more family Bibles, church records, gravestone records, etc.  So most of the Information on the list above is Secondary Information (obtained from other records or hearsay).  A lot of the Evidence provided is Direct Evidence - the dates and places are Direct, as are the relationships with spouses and parents.  Different "Quality Levels" can be assigned for each Event or Fact.

The information in this sketch may or may not be accurate - determining the accuracy of the information depends upon finding other records that provide more information, analyzing all of the available evidence, and resolving conflicting information.  Based on what I knew previously about the Carringer family, the information is very accurate.

Some information about persons mentioned in this sketch is not provided.  For instance, the birth dates of the two Carringer wives, Fidelia's parents names (she was a sister of Olive), and Fidelia's death date in 1863.  The birth and death of Andrew and Fidelia's child, Fidelia, in 1863.  The locations of many of the events are not provided, although the events for Andrew and his family can be inferred to be Adams County, Wisconsin, and probably New Chester Township.

I have found that sketches of this sort are both self-serving and informative.  They are usually accurate for the persons who contribute the information and their children, but are often sketchy (or even wrong) for their ancestral families.  Sources of this nature should be treated with suspicion until Events and Facts provided by them can be compared with information from other sources (e.g., vital records, church records, gravestone records, census records, military records, etc.).

3)  What other "Events" or "Facts" did I not enumerate?  I'm sure that I overlooked some of them.
Do you do a similar listing for every Source that you obtain during your research that applies to your ancestral families?  Should you?

See, I was listening to all of the presentations on the Legacy 2013 Cruise.  This one was a lot of fun since I got to participate in it!

The URL from this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Cousin Russ said...


Welcome back.

The only event I saw that you didn't mention was:

"The son was married, March 16, 1899, to Elsie Schieber, and resides at home with his parents."

Not that this is important, but it is a starting point, as to where they lived for a 1900 Census perhaps.

Not included in the article about this couple would be "why" were they living with "his parents". Not that this is a bad thing, just the question that went through my mind while reading the story.

Totally agree with you, I do much that same, and as I learned with Mastering Genealogical Proof, don't trust anything.

Thank you for the details and process of capturing the data.


Randy Seaver said...

Russ, the marriage of "the son" (who I assumed was Louis P. Patrick) was in #16 on my list. I didn't add anything about "lives at home with his parents.

Probably living with his parents because they were fairly old, they needed farm help, and he would be the heir since he's an only child. Conjecture.

Cousin Russ said...


Certainly makes sense to me.

Thank you,


Geolover said...

Randy, your notes regarding caution/suspicion of these accounts are spot-on. A factor in addition to the usual wishes for happy tales, in this case, is that the main subject was a politician, and maybe only some of his offices were listed. Persons don't get appointed and reappointed Postmaster for 'many years' without some fairly hefty connections. Such sketches and obituaries tend not to mention such items as might have been newsworthy, and the upshots of personal temptations might only be buried in court records. And even then such court items might have been sealed.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Randy, Great post. Since I learned to make assertions in the program Evidentia, I have been listing assertions from sources when I record them in RootsMagic.

Here is an example of what I'm working on now: an obituary of Harry R. Gorrell.
"What is learned from the obit:
--Harry was 64 when he died, making him born about 1880
--Harry was born in Jamestown, Ohio
--He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan university in 1903
--He taught school for 3 years in Bloomington, Illinois"

I then use these assertions to find additional sources.

bgwiehle said...

As Russ said, you had missed the son's residence with his parents. That was the only explicit fact missed. You might also make deductions, such as, Louis was born after 1865 and probably before 1880, and that Andrew and Olive must have died after 1901.

You didn't explain what you do with the text of the article.

In my database, I put a copy of the full text in the primary person's Notes, and include specific excerpts with the source citation for each event. I put name and relationship information with the name citation and I add events to document people referenced in the article that I can't definitely identify yet or won't be researching extensively. As I enter the new citations, I review existing citations for conflicts and questions and may add or revise comments and explain deductions. As the various facts are documented, new research approaches or gaps are noted in the appropriate location.