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 http://www.WikiTree.com, 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 (http://danegenealogy.
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
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 (http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/
his wife Rebecca Merriam (http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/ Merriam-263) and their daughter Rebecca Dutton. My process now is to do my research through my family tree on
http://www.Ancestry.com (where I can take advantage of Ancestry’s very useful hints and search functions), and supplement through http://www.Findagrave.com, and http://www.Google.com
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 Findagrave.com
record for Joseph Dutton (http://www.findagrave.com/ cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid= 15211190)
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: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Dutton-333), 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: (http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Dutton-258).
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 Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com 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 (http://danegenealogy.
blogspot.com/2014/01/wikitree- and-genealogy-source-rigor. html)
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!