Thursday, March 6, 2014

Warren connection to Global Family Reunion Tree

I have Erin Breen-120 to thank for this thread because it got me started:

So I took those names I found on that thread and started some hopeful research to see if I could find any interesting connections.  Sure enough I found one:  Nellie Crowley Kuntz (  As I dug, I found a book that discussed her father William Crowley's life and his Humphrey background:

If this book is accurate, it connects William Crowley with the Humphrey and Munro families of Rhode Island, and one Nathan Munro (  So far, the book's timelines and stories match up nicely with the records I've been able to find, so I have gone ahead and built the profiles to connect William Crowley to Nathan Munro.  If you follow the tree back, you'll find that Nathan is a known descendant of Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker of the Mayflower. 

And for me, that means both my wife and I are connected on WikiTree to the Global Family Reunion Tree through this Warren connection.  Does that help any of you connect? 

Here's my connection:  Me > my father Francis S Dane III > his mother Edith Thacher > her father William L Thacher > his father Thomas Thacher > his mother Abigail Swift > her father Silas Swift > his mother Abigail Gibbs > her mother Alice Warren > her father Nathaniel Warren > his father/mother Richard Warren/Elizabeth Walker > his daughter Elizabeth Warren > her son Benjamin Church > his daughter Elizabeth Church > her daughter Hannah Rosbotham > her son Nathan Munro > his daughter Lydia Munro > her son Squire Humphrey > his daughter Sarah Humphrey > her son William Crowley > his daughter, Nellie Crowley Kuntz -> her husband, Edward Kuntz -> his sister, Emma Kuntz Ferrell -> her daughter, Georgia Ferrell Hirsch Takacs -> her husband, Irwin Hirsch -> his mother, Harriet Friedenheit Hirsch -> her sister, Sophie Friedenheit Kingsbacher (AJ's 2nd great grandmother).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Disappointment in Genealogy

Disappointment in Genealogy
Yes, doing serious family tree research can result in some disappointment.  I had one of those last night.  Readers of this blog may recall my three posts titled “We’re All Cousins” which talked about common ancestors I had found between the family trees of my Father, my Wife and my Mother.  I was particularly enthusiastic about finding a connection between my Dad’s and my Mom’s families ( since it had always felt, since I was a kid, that those families were so different from each other and that a crossover between their family lines was unlikely. 

Well, at least for now, I have to grudgingly accept that the lines leading to the common ancestor I’d found for my Mom and Dad have turned out to be incorrect.  As background, I have recently become a convert to the methods of, specifically that every person in my family tree should have one and only one WikiTree profile and that each profile should contain sources for the dates, locations and family relationships they contain.  If I find no profile on the WikiTree One World Tree for my ancestor or relative, I add one.  If I do find one there, I update it with sources if it isn’t already updated (and many of them need updating).  The site is a Wiki, so I can do that and I’ve gotten a LOT better at sourcing and updating in the three months I’ve been on the site. 

Naturally, one of my research projects was to reproduce on WikiTree the family lines I had previously found to cross over.  I have successfully updated and sourced the connection between my Dad’s tree and my Wife’s tree ( so that both of our WikiTree family trees trace back to Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker of the Mayflower.  Last night I started down the track of verifying my Mom’s line back to Timothy Wheeler and Rebecca Sayre (I’d already completed the path on my Dad’s side).

I decided to start at Timothy and Rebecca and work down since some of the profiles were already on WikiTree and just needed to be sourced and the relationships linked.  It didn’t take long to work down to Joseph Dutton (, his wife Rebecca Merriam ( and their daughter Rebecca Dutton.  My process now is to do my research through my family tree on (where I can take advantage of Ancestry’s very useful hints and search functions), and supplement through, and searches.  I was in the middle of putting together the WikiTree profile for Rebecca Dutton when I started noticing some worrying signs.  The first and most obvious was that the town marriage record for Joseph Dutton/Rebecca Merriam was dated 1685 while the birth date I had for Rebecca Dutton was in 1679.  Next came the finding that the town birth record for Rebecca Dutton born in 1679 showed her father as Thomas Dutton Jr., not Joseph.  Okay, so maybe the data I had was wrong and my Rebecca was the one born in 1686.  I didn't initially find the town birth record, just a “Millennium File” record, known in WikiTree circles to be unreliable.  I was getting very nervous, though and feeling like a lot more research might be necessary to establish the connection.  Then I remembered that I had referenced the record for Joseph Dutton ( to confirm his death date.  On the Findagrave profile was a biography.  I tend not to give a lot of weight to these biographies, because so often they are unsourced, and this one was no exception, at least for the first half.  But the second half referred to Joseph Dutton’s will, and within the will, importantly, to his daughter Rebeckah Gates.  It also included a link to the Findagrave memorial of Rebeckah (Dutton) Gates 1686-1749.  All the pieces fell together, and it wasn’t good news: Rebecca (Dutton) Millard (profile:, born in 1679, my ancestor, belonged on a different family tree line than I had been led to believe.  Her parents were Thomas Dutton Jr. and his wife Rebeckah, not Joseph Dutton and Rebecca Merriam.  I've included a note on both profiles at WikiTree in the hope that no one else gets tripped up the same way.  Rebecca (Dutton) Gates is here: (

Naturally, I’m disappointed to find that my earlier “research” was wrong.  But a little more background that I didn’t tell you was how I had found Rebecca Dutton Millard in the first place.  Well, it’s pretty simple, I found her by piggy-backing on the family trees of other researchers that I found at makes it soooooo easy to do this.  With the press of just a couple of buttons, you can add the family trees from other researchers right into your own, pulling in names, relationships, dates and locations as you go.  Eventually, I realized the error of my ways in taking advantage of this method of expanding my trees, but obviously not soon enough to avoid this kind of mistake.  And while I am sad about this “lost” connection, it helps to cement the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having lately ( that the genealogy methods I’ve committed to on WikiTree are the ones that will help me avoid this kind of error in the future, both for myself and for others who might rely upon my work. 

Alas, I’m going to have to re-establish my “We’re All Cousins” link between my Mom’s and my Dad’s family trees along some other family line.  Looking on the bright side, though, I did do some digging into the Millards and found that it’s pretty likely my Mom is a cousin to President Millard Fillmore.  I’m not going to say for sure, though, until I’ve documented and sourced all the profiles in between, though!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


What is "ancestery"?  Is it simply the search for your ancestors, your family tree and your family history?  Or is it something more?  I recently noticed that the search term "ancestery" gets quite a bit of traffic on google.  My first guess is that it is simply a misspelling or a typo of the word "ancestry".

It could be.  But in my latest family tree history kick, I'm working on becoming a more disciplined and reliable genealogist through my commitment to create source-full profiles of my ancestors at, so when I think of "ancestery" I also think of the term "mastery".  As in, I now strive for "mastery" in my ancestry research.  Ancestor mastery = ancestery.  Cute, I know, but that's how I roll.

Monday, January 20, 2014

What you know (and can prove)

Reblogging this post from the New England Historical and Genealogical Sociey's Penny Stratton: 

“Write down what you know” is the first step in family history research. For many of us, what we know includes family stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. But sometimes those stories can be misleading – or just plain incorrect. For example, my stepmother had always heard that she was related to Ralph Waldo Emerson and General William Tecumseh Sherman. I have a set of notes written by her aunt, Minerva McGee (1897-1972), which begin like this:

General Sherman — younger brother of Catherine Sherman
Ralph Waldo Emerson — younger brother of John Emerson
John Emerson — Catherine Sherman, My Great Grandparents.
Unfortunately, Aunt Minerva was wrong.


As wonderful as these stories have been, their failure to hold up under standard methods of genealogical scrutiny makes me question other family lore I encounter. Yes, it’s wise to start with what you know, but perhaps we should reword that advice: start with what you know and can prove.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

WikiTree and Genealogy Source Rigor

For many, many years (20+) I have been content to build my family trees through methods that I’ve known to be unsourced. I have had several hand-written family trees passed on to me by relatives and I’ve taken advantage of numerous on-line family trees to fill in the blanks and gaps and to extend my family tree back in time beyond the handwritten trees.  To be honest, I was more than happy to believe that these materials were accurate and to assimilate them into my own files without questioning their accuracy too much. Oh, I’d go through the whole “preponderance of evidence” process, you know, I’d look at Rootsweb and to see if there were any differences of opinion, and as I went further back in time I’d tend to exercise more and more doubt about what I was seeing and often I would ignore the extended trees that others have put out there. But often enough, I’d go ahead and add the information to my own tree, even if I couldn’t see or verify what sources were used to make the connection. To be frank, I felt that there was no way I could single-handedly go through the process of verifying that everything I was finding was thoroughly sourced (I have a non-genealogy job, a family, etc.). On that point, I think that I was and still am correct, there is no way for one person to verify their sources for a family tree that has thousands of entries as mine does. I’d prefer to have my family tree be a model of accuracy – one which only verification and documentation can attain, but haven’t felt capable of making it so.

 For a shorter number of years, I’ve suspected that a Wiki could solve this problem. Wikipedia is the ultimate example, of course, and I use it almost every day. But I’ve felt for several years that some form of Wiki for Genealogy would be ideal – we all could be researching our own family lines and feed them into one giant tree and over time the entries would be properly sourced and fleshed out, photos and written materials added, etc. and the work of ensuring all this accuracy could be distributed so that, as volunteers, we each could add our little part. I thought that would turn out to be this sort of Wiki, but quickly found that the ease of uploading gedcom data to that site made it impossible for the site to function as a Wiki. On the other end of the spectrum is, which has its place in genealogy research, no doubt, but which suffers from the inability of users to edit the profiles there unless you’re the owner. I’ve noticed that does suffer from the gedcom problem as well, but much less so than Geni and Wiki seems to have much more of an ethic of collaboration than Geni. In fact, I myself tried to upload my gedcom here and found I was unable to. I’m sure I have someone here to thank for that. Well, thank you to whatever group or individual made that decision. I’m so glad I wasn’t able to upload my gedcom at first. Because it forced me to rethink my entire approach to the site (in a good way!).

That rethink has led to my personal WikiTree pledge: I, Kyle Dane, am not going to add a profile to without at least one source. That means I am going to have to type all of my profiles onto the site one-by-one, and along the way verify that I have source materials to back up what I enter. I’m also not going to edit a profile without having a source. I have been going through this process for three weeks now and I have been able to go back four generations (from myself) and connected up to at least three branches of existing trees on WikiTree without violating this pledge. I’ve found that the sources I do have access to are better than I had realized, and that I am proud of the resulting profiles. I’ll probably still maintain my unsourced family tree on as an idealized or hopeful tree, or for ideas on where to focus my research next, but I will consider my WikiTree to be the real deal.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Francis S. Dane Jr. Sails With the Byrd Expedition

Francis S. Dane Jr., Duke Dane with husky
This is the first in a series of articles regarding my grandfather, Francis S. “Duke” Dane Jr. and his trip to Antartica on the second polar expedition of Admiral Richard Byrd.  I am leaving the text as I found it so you have to blame the original author for any misspellings or grammar errors. 

Lexington Minute-man, October 11, 1933

Francis S. Dane Jr. Sails With the Byrd Expedition

Well Known Local Young Man Departs on the Jacob Rupert as One of the Dog Drivers.  Dane Spent the Summer at the Chinook Kennels at Wonolancet, N. H.

Francis S. Dane Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis S. Dane of 1 Bennington road, sailed Wednesday, October 11, on the Jacob Rupert, which left Boston Navy Yard for the first lap of its journey to the South Pole with the supplies and dogs for the second Byrd Antarctic Expedition.  Whether “Duke” Dane as he is popularly known, will go all the way to the South Pole is as yet uncertain, but he will go with the expedition at least through the Panama Canal, and probably to the “jumping-off-place” which at present appears to be Valporaiso, South America.
Since the middle of July Mr. Dane has been at the Chenook Kennels, in Wonolancet, N.H. assisting in the care and training of the huskie dogs for the expedition.  During a considerable part of August and September he was unofficial charge-d’affairs where Byrd’s dogs were concerned, in the absence of Norman Vaughan and Allen Taylor who have successively been responsible for this division of the expeditionary forces.  

The work at Wonolancet included the exercise and care of 150 dogs each of whom has to be given a run at least once each day besides being fed and supplied with water, the latter becoming one of the great problems owing to the continued drought in that section of New England.  With but four regular men on duty the dog drivers were kept busy often 12 to 13 hours a day.  Beside the work at the kennels trips had to be made to Canada to secure more dogs from time to time, as only those really fit can be taken on the expedition.  This meant driving hugh trucks to Canada, loading them with crated dogs, and making the return trip, the latter usually without stopping for sleep as the howling of the dogs is not welcomed in most towns and villages.  Mr. Dane made several such trips during the summer.  

Last Friday night the dogs were brought to Boston on trucks a journey which took from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and on Saturday they were put onto the dock at the Navy Yard, where several local people visited them over the week-end.  The crates were places in double rows on top of each other and once each day every dog was removed from the crate and given a chance to move about the deck at the end of a chain while his box was being cleaned.  The dog-drivers of the expedition, including Mr. Dane were in charge of this work.

On Monday each dog had to be taken from the crate, run up the gang plank and held on deck while the crates were being loaded over the side of the Ruppert by the crew.  Until the ship leaves Norfolk sometime next week the dogs must remain in their cages which are just large enough for them to turn around in.  They are oblong boxes, made of stout wood reinforced by three bands of metal and having a front door of stout iron and wire mesh secured with a metal latch.  When the ship leaves Norfolk the dogs will be taken from the crates and chained to the deck where they will have somewhat more freedom.  

On the trip through the tropics the dogs lie on the ship and pant; they do not want food, or even much water.  Some will not survive the trip, especially if the hot weather lasts over an extended period.  This is one of the reasons for taking so large a number as 153 which are at present on board.

The duties of a dog-driver on such as expedition as this planned by Admiral Richard E. Byrd are anything but a pleasant game.  It is the hardest type of physical labor, under often unbelievably trying conditions, but if one is not afraid of the work, likes the sea, and has a real love for and understanding of dogs it is one of the greatest adventures and opportunities which can come to a young man.  “Duke” Dane has the qualities which will make for success and has more over no illusions about the hardships into which he is going.  Not only has he worked with this particular Expedition all summer, he has also been with one of the North Polar Expeditions of Captain Donald B. MacMillan as far as the ice, and knows what to expect on a sea voyage.  Although somewhat tired from the lack of sleep during the past weeks, he is in excellent physical shape and is in everyway prepared for the great adventure.  His many friends wish him Bon Voyage and a safe return. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Family Tree Bloggers Google Plus Community

Family Tree Bloggers Google Plus Community
I have just set up a community on Google Plus that is designed to give family tree bloggers and genealogists a space to post and share their own images and links to blog posts.  It is a companion to my Pinterest Board of the same name.

I love connecting with other genealogists and bloggers and I've found that a great way to do that is to provide a forum for others (and myself, of course) to share their work.  My plan is to run the community similarly to a blogging group I have been part for the last couple of years ago that was not genealogy-related called Great Blogging Experience 2 (GBE2 for short).  On a weekly basis, the moderator of that group would post a prompt and ask everyone to post links to their blog posts on the prompt within a "thread" on the group based on the prompt.  Group members are also encouraged to post separately within the community on topics that do not fit the prompt.  Like that other group, comments are strongly encouraged.  I also hope that we'll find that some of us are researching the same family lines and are able to locate collaborators through forums like this one. 

My idea at this point is that these posts can be any genealogy-related link, whether it is a blog post or not.  But I also am going to moderate the group and the Pinterest board for the time being to ensure we don't end up with tons of stuff that other members won't want to read or see.