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Ancestry Is NOT A Golden Source

… or even a primary source.

As I am learning more & more each day, Ancestry seems to fall short for many reasons, and it really cuts deep knowing that so much information is being misused & mislead to those thousands looking for their roots. Ancestry is simple a “helping tool” not a “source”.

“What did they do this time?”, you ask.

I was surfing Amazon with my great ninja skills & came across Ancestry’s paperback publication of “The Standlee Name In History”. I, of course, bought the book with no real expectations, but with a little hope that might guide my research on the “Standlee” line of mine.

The Standlee Name in History

I was highly disappointed! First off, it was a book mostly in the trends & history of general immigration with a few little “Standlee” facts thrown in along the way…. but their facts don’t match my research. I instantly thought, “Am I wrong? Did I miss a huge step or ancestor in my research?”

The answer of course is, “NO! My research is solid.” Their research however, is lacking in great detail a lot of DETAILS! Say, maybe,… just maybe… there’s an entire “other” Standlee line that was over looked… MY Standlee line!

It started for me with their statement that most Standlee (Standley, Standly, etc.) immigrants were from Germany. “Wait? What? Who’s from Germany? What Standlee is from Germany?” No one in MY Standlee line has ever heard of a “German” connection. So my red flag was thrown & I started really reading & absorbing the details as they followed (or didn’t follow).

Then they made a bold statement that in 1840 only 6 Standlee families resided in Arkansas: 3 in St. Francis County & 3 in Greene County. Umm… however, that is not correct. As you can clearly see below, in 1840 below is three Standlee Households of the many “Standlee” families living in Sugar Loaf, Carroll County, AR. Why didn’t Ancestry count them in their research? (Not helping in making my lineage more justified in their poor attitudes towards genealogy & Ancestry… )

They didn’t even start to count MY Standlee’s until the 1900’s & even then they are missing a few in their stats.

This book made it appear that the Standlee family that Arkansas holds dear to their history & was located in St. Francis & Greene Counties (central Arkansas) were the only Standlee’s to be in state & the only ones worth recognition.

It wasn’t until the end of the book that two things happened: 1 – they started looking at the England-Wales Standlee names in their history & 2- they proved my entire research as valid to the point that there is NO connection with the “central Arkansas Standlees”.

Dropbox!

I have recently been brought into a group research effort on my Standlee line. It’s a big effort in research & it’s been amazing!!

As you can imagine we have a lot of different family & a plethora of documents, groupsheets, & analyses…dating into the 1600’s!

How do we share all this research? Dropbox! Individually sharing records takes up so much space in emails & on your computer, as well as very time-consuming. Like most things I’m leery of using anything online, none-the-less in group sharing. It usually gets so confusing.

But with Dropbox’s free service & FREE APP… Not only can you share 2GB of files & photos… You can take it anywhere with you!

It’s great being able to see what we are all looking at & knowing who has seen what; it brings us all up to speed easily at our own pace without losing our collections in the mumble jumble of emails & computer files. But adding to my arsenal on the go is perfect! Let’s face it, Ancestry.com doesn’t hold all our found records (not yet) & dragging our computers is sometimes too much… Here’s a great solution to taking it all with you on your next “hunt”! Just whip out your smartphone! :D

Fun Friday

FINALLY!  Denise Barrette Olson created a wonderful resource on using my Mac as the creative machine it should be! I love Mac, but like all technology, you have to learn or re-learn things when we make big changes … a.k.a. PC to Mac :)

She takes Mac’s Keynote software program & creates these amazing genealogy scrapbook pages!

Please read her post below:

Keynote offers both functionality and creative opportunities to create a family history project that will both entertain and inform. Here\’s a look at some of its capabilities.

via Scrapbooking with Keynote.

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I have to say, I am one who is always leery of new sites making big claims… especially in the genealogy world. I have pretty much accepted that Ancestry.com owns what appears to be “everything” these days.

So when I stumbled onto “Genealogy Your Way” blog & read about this “new genealogy site”, I couldn’t prevent my fingers from clicking on the link :)

Mocavo is a very interesting site. It literally pulled up every single post I made on various forums! I have to say that alone was a great asset to me! :) I can never remember where I posted what or what I even said… most the time not even getting a follow up post email if there was one.

Mocavo has given me many many sources with full text to read through & analyze that no one else has provided for me :) I strongly recommend at least a visit & one search!

A Printer With A Saloon

Before 1885, there is no listing for a Heinrich Emil Neuhaus anywhere in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There is only a Henry & Theodora Neuhaus, a tailor & a midwife, in 1884.

In accordance to his claim of coming to America January 1885 (which in reality was October 1884 to New York from Germany), he begins his debut in the city directories of Milwaukee city.

In 1885, the listings for Neuhaus were:

Neuhaus, Emil, printer, r. 1045 4th
Henry, tailor, r. 634 4th
Theodora, midwife, r. 634 4th

The only three Neuhaus in the 1885 Milwaukee City, WI, directory! You can see clearly Henry & Theodora Neuhaus share a relation of sorts sharing the same residence. After further research, they are indeed husband & wife. However, Emil is living on the same 4th street a block or four away. So is Henry a relative that encouraged him to move to America & thereafter, to Milwaukee?

Almost every year he is listed as a printer, then a compositor, then an editor! Just as the family history has passed down over the years, Neuhaus was indeed in the printing business.

Almost every year, except 1888! Just three years after immigrating & settling in Milwaukee, WI, he apparently moved his family from their home at 1045 4th street to 423 3rd street where he was trying his hand as a saloon owner?

Saloon Owner!

To prove it wasn’t a misprint, I searched the business listings of the 1888 Directory & sure enough! Our Mr. Emil Neuhaus indeed had a saloon listed on page 596:

By 1890, Emil & his family moved again, this time to 1066 5th street, where he’s listed solely as a printer. So where did he get this saloon & why?

I went back as far as I could online, but skipping from 1882 to 1879, I find the only listing of a Neuhaus who can be related to any “saloon”.

Neuhaus, Christian, brewer, res. 903 Winnebago

The ONLY Neuhaus listing in 1879! He doesn’t appear in the 1882-1900 directories, so…. Did Emil take over for a family member, or was he honestly a micro-brewer on the side hoping to make a big buck? Was it a business deal gone bad? I suppose we may never know…

In 1881, there were over 200,000 saloon listing in which people paid to have their names listed, thus it’s not even a complete list!!!

Germans are known of their breweries & their beers: Pabst, Schlitz, Miller & Blatz… maybe you have heard of them? All from Milwaukee, WI! History holds that there were many many microbreweries in the city, this saloon had to have been then just one of many.

In 1893, Emil & his family have a Mrs. Augusta Neuhaus (widow of Frank), & a Max Neuhaus, a carpenter, residing with them. Are they family? They are not his children. His son, Herman, has entered formal schooling, listed as a “student” at age…

1897 is the last city directory listing for Emil Neuhaus. He’s an editor! He works at The Fram, located at 1136 7th street, on the Der Fuehrer, a semi-monthly German Spiritualist paper.

City Directory Resource

I can’t find a Lee that links our Frank Herbert Lee anywhere to anyone! So I wet digging even deeper…

There are many resources out there. Most every family historian & genealogist is familiar with censuses, vital records, & newspapers. Many are also familiar with wills & probate records. Right? You probably have had your hands on a few of the above, more than once :)

However, the one I always feel gets over looked, mostly due to its lack of digital nature, are the city directories! – (What a great genealogy society or historical society project! Digitalize the directories!!… Wink! Wink!)

To me, these are a gold mine in genealogy from about the turn of the mid-19th century…even heavier weighted gold if before 1850!

Many early state censuses were still on a “tick” system or “number” system until after 1900, listing only number of household members by gender & race. So sometimes, many censuses leave you in more doubt :(

These city directories can, & often do, include the missing person from a census. If your ancestor isn’t on the censuses (or when the 1890 census fails due to its disappearing fire act…lol) or the directories, there’s a good chance they aren’t living in this area at the time. However, they can be missed on a census but appear in the directory! What a great way to confirm a location!

Another affirmation is when you find their city directory listing & it includes an occupation! In my Neuhaus family, for example, they were said to be printers & indeed at least one of them was! How many times have you heard that an ancestor was of an occupation you cannot locate on the census? Or have you heard a story where they used to own an off the wall business never listed on a census? Did you check every year of the city directories?

When you look at the whole picture year to year, you can tell so much about family immigration/migration, when a child came of age in the time & earned their own listing, even if living at home! If you can go back far enough, you often can find missing links to parents, siblings, cousins, etc.

Through directories alone, I’ve watched the early years of a business start with one person grow into a family operation for a few generations! I’ve even found the “no way!” events in life I would have NEVER known without a directory filling in the 5-10 year gap between censuses :)

Directories also help with locating when an individual left the area & moved on…as they appear no further in the listings.

You can even learn of a death within the year, since many will list a woman if the man has past, or even better, it’ll say “wid. or widow of ….”!

Lastly, directories can also tell you so much about the times with the ads, the occupations, & what the listings include. One day phone numbers started appearing, but at first not everyone had one! To a sociology major like myself, directories speak volumes about the people & our society as history took its place :D

For an example of directory use into a story of one’s history, stayed tune for my next post: Heinrich Emil Neuhaus

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