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Mon Nov 27, 2017, 01:24 AM

Family Search.org

I was reading a thread in this group, but I can't find it.

They recommended familysearch.org

So I plugged into on my mom's side, which is Southern/Anglo.....

The bad: I found a record that showed one of my relatives owned slaves. I was expecting it, but it still hits you, just like it does on TV. I'm sure there will be more of them down the road. (grhh)

The good: Someone did a bunch of research on this family. I've got relatives going back to 1540. A fellow by the name of Simon De Villepontoux De Jaure from Bergerac, Dordogne, Aquitaine, France. (I have no idea where that it is, except that it is in France)

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 01:31 AM

1. Just be careful with that site

There is a lot of good info there, but also some incorrect info. I have documented proof of part of my family back to about 1600 and some at familysearch had it all wrong. Just don't take it at face value. Interesting discovery and I hope it proves true for France and false for slaves.

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Response to radical noodle (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 01:58 AM

4. Unfortunately, the slave stuff is true

It was direct lineage. My grandmother's great-grandfather. It was in the 1850 census. He was 24 and owned a 25 yo and 8 yo slave.

As for the French stuff...who knows..right?

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 02:42 AM

5. I'm sure it's in the ancestry of many of us n/t

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Response to radical noodle (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 06:21 AM

8. I agree...be careful with this site. The info is only as good as those providing it

and some folks just want to make things fit. As to the slave issue....I have found that I have ancestors were slave owners and slaves. You cannot change what your ancestors did but you can learn from it.

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 01:37 AM

2. I came across someone who had done a family tree on a branch of my family tree

from Lunenberg, Nova Scotia Canada. They followed the Crosby line back to the 1600s in the mid Atlantic colonies of the US. I assume at least one person was a slaveowners or supported slavery. You can't get away from it if you go back to anywhere in the US at that time. Point we should take from it is we all have the capacity of being good and bad. Depends on the choices we make.

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 01:49 AM

3. Another vote to be careful

On FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com - or any other online genealogy site, for that matter - there are a lot of inaccurate trees. The insidious part is that many people do not check the information so the inaccuracies spread.

I use both of the sites mentioned for research but I do not rely on other people's trees. I use the sites to get access to original documents. Occasionally if I hit a dead end I check to see if other people have found sources I missed. Too often, the other trees have not checked the data thoroughly and have added information that is not correct.

As for your bad news - I have known pretty much all my life that my ancestors owned slaves. My Mom began researching her family tree when I was a kid. I taught myself to type so I could transcribe wills, deeds, and other documents for her. This was at the same time our schools were being desegregated. Nothing like finding that your xxx great grandfather owned dozens of slaves and divided them up among his children - when you have to turn around and go to school with kids whose xxx great grandparents were slaves.

Cool about the family from Aquitaine! All I know about it is that is where Eleanor of Aquitaine came from. I learned that from The Lion in Winter.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 02:51 AM

6. Too good to be true - LOL

I went to where the Redneck meets the French. They changed a name from Simons to Simmons and married it in the family tree. The birth location does not make sense either.

The French/Charleston family tree is beautiful and extensive, but I don't think it is mine.

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 12:00 PM

9. Yeah, it is so tempting to believe some of those trees

Even the published genealogies can be deceptive especially those published in the late 1800s. Nearly every one seems to trace their lines back to some sort of royalty. While it is possible that every European immigrant was a descendant of a royal family line, I simply don't believe that every single one can be traced back to them.

As for messed up trees, I have a line that traces back to the Harlan family that bought land in Pennsylvania from William Penn. The original immigrant, George Harlan (or Harland), had a son named Aaron who sired a series of Aaron Harlans. One of the trees I found on Ancestry had one of the later Aarons married to his mother and as his own father. Obviously the person who created that tree never actually read the material they were linking!

But FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, and other online sources can lead you to some wonderful discoveries. A wife of the first Aaron Harlan came from Mobberly, Cheshire, England. Her family traces back to some of the earliest Quakers - who kept excellent record. On Ancestry I have found scans of the original Quaker records that take the families back to the 1500s. Solid, definitive records, no speculation or creative writing!

One of my husband's lines, the de Prefontaine family, was a dead end with Peter who lived in Maryland and was supposedly from France. I accidentally searched English records on Ancestry and found the will of his half sister in England. She left property to her siblings who had moved to America. Through that will, I traced the de Prefontaines (who were actually named Papin or Pepin but were from Prefontaine) back to their immigration to England as part of the Huegenot expulsion from France. I have not yet delved into the French records but may be able to take that line back farther - if I can translate from the archaic French!

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Response to LeftInTX (Reply #6)

Thu May 3, 2018, 09:18 PM

12. Don't discount a connection based on the spelling of a name

In my experience, spelling means nothing. Records depended on the information provided by individuals, how they were heard and written down. An official who is of German heritage may hear the name Deal and write it Diehle. Even within a family - some spelled a name one way and a generation before it was spelled differently. When you come up with different spellings, check Soundex for your indexes; you might run into different spellings. So, unless the names, dates and places don't fit, don't discard a name just because of spelling.

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Mon Nov 27, 2017, 04:11 AM

7. Yeah, I would be very very careful of any information you get from unsourced family trees

Last edited Tue Nov 28, 2017, 09:50 PM - Edit history (1)

you should try to independently verify anything you discover, since a lot of people make wild leaps and impossible connections based on nothing more than a similarity of names.

And if your ancestors have been in the South since the 1600's then it's almost certain that you'll probably find at least some slave owners in your family tree...the various branches of my family were mostly 17th century Southern colonists, in Maryland and Virginia, with a few ending up in the Carolinas and Kentucky; from what I can tell, collectively, my ancestors between them probably owned at least a thousand slaves...and the odds are pretty good that any African-American who has my (uncommon, English-origin) surname is probably a descendant of slaves owned by my ancestors/relatives. All of which are things I wasn't really aware of back when I started with geneaology, although I suppose I should probably have expected it.

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Thu Nov 30, 2017, 09:41 AM

10. In my ancestry research, I found slaveowners in NY,NJ,CT, RI, and Massachusetts

up until late 1700's. One of them owed money and in NY court when person he owed was awarded possession of his 2 slaves, my ancestor argued that one of the slaves was actually his daughter and should not be taken from him.

Another ancestor was a Rhode Island Quaker pacifist who sat out the Rev. War but was paid to allow use of 2 of his slaves in Revolutionary army.

My Boston ancestors, Mayflower passenger Mary Chilton and her husband John Winslow owned both Native and African slaves, however one of their descendants in my direct lineage married a Native descendant and that lineage had several abolitionist and suffragette Quakers by early 1800's.

Family search website has been a great help to me as they have had some records available that were not on Ancestry. Some of their family tree info is wrong however, but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to confirm my Italian family tree going back 300 years that had been posted there without proof, after I figured out how to access original Italian records online.

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Response to wishstar (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 30, 2017, 10:33 PM

11. I looked up John Winslow's family tree

They have his ancestors going back to 200 AD.

I've got some of the same ancestors on one of my FamilySearch trees.

Mine are supposedly through someone named John Cotton who came to Virginia.

John Winslow's and John Cotton's ancestors diverge into separate branches around 1,000 AD.
They supposedly share Robert Capet and go back to 200 AD from there.

I have no idea if I am related to these people.

However, I am amazed that there are family trees that go back this far!!!!


For what it's worth, my other half is Armenian. I only know the names of my second great grandparents. There is no family tree. All records were destroyed. My great grandfather tried writing a narrative in old country prose, but names such as, "Hasso the Mysterious Horseman", "Goofar the Starry-Eyed Lover" and "Ashek the Minstrel" seem more like family-lore than facts.

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Thu May 3, 2018, 09:28 PM

13. I'm so pleased to see the cautions about on-line trees

It has been a pet peeve of mine since Ancestry started bombarding the airwaves with commercials about how easy it is to research your family tree: just plug in your name and all will be revealed! I've been doing this for over 45 years and believe me, it is complicated and time consuming (and a very interesting hobby, I might say). Ancestry and Family Search are useful for access to original documents that used to take me weeks and letters to courthouses to obtain. But I've seen too many errors on subscriber-submitted trees. Don't people proof-read any more? For example, how can a father's birth year be only two years before his son's? Just sloppy, if you ask me. Why would anyone post a tree with such an obvious error? And, when people are electronically attaching to on-line trees, an error is perpetuated.

P.S. In the case of father/son, the father was actually the brother and the birth year lined up with the son's (checked census returns).

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Response to LeftInTX (Original post)

Sat May 26, 2018, 07:15 PM

14. One more vote for caution about what you find on the web

People simply copy and re-submit unverified rubbish so that the same mistakes come up again and again. There are so many mistakes floating around out there, that it raises my blood pressure significantly. It is highly annoying.

If your family has mostly been here since the time of the American Revolution, it is statistically almost impossible to be free from the taint of your ancestors having been slaveholders. Amongst some families there are slaveholders, people who freed their slaves, people in the Underground Railway, and people in the reverse underground railway (kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery). Reading the records of slave-owning is highly nauseating, and if you want to have your eyes opened, go down to some of the Eastern Kentucky County courthouses, and go through the deeds and manumission records.

Disgusting - and occasionally refreshingly uplifting.

However, those people are not you, and you did not know them, nor approve of what they did. You do not bear the sins of your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents however many generations back, even though to some degree you may be alive today because those ancestors directly benefited from the evil of slavery.


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