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About the essays…


Version: 6 Aug 2018

About the Essays…

Richard L. Tolman, Ph. D.

     The essays on this website are ‘living’ essays, that is—as new information and sources become available or are discovered, the essays are updated to expand or correct information in them. For this reason informative comments are particularly welcome. A readily downloadable and printable version of the essay is available by clicking ‘PDF VERSION’ in the upper left corner of each essay. In the upper right corner of each page of the PDF is the date of that particular version. The latest dated version will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you arrive at a particular essay through a browser search, it may dump you in an old PDF and not in the essay itself. You should go to the homepage and check the PDF of the essay of interest to make sure you have the latest version. I have found that Google searches find ancestors in most effectively. Similarly, a search of various libraries and online sources may lead you to 29deadpeople essays (e. g. FamilySearch-online has digitized many 29deadpeople essays), but they may not be the LATEST versions of those essays. You can always find the latest version by going to the 29deadpeople website.

      The Genealogies are constructed in the National Genealogical Society (NGS) format. Individuals are numbered consecutively as they appear in the essay. A ‘+’ before a numbered individual indicates there is additional information on that individual in the next generation; sources are provided in that next generation and not in the +’ed generation. Sources are supplied through footnotes; when a footnote appears by an action verb such as ‘born’, ‘christened’, ‘married’, ‘died’ or ‘buried’—it is likely a primary source (I would like to believe that this is always the case, but it is not, unfortunately, as I have not always been as attentive to these details as I am now). A footnote which appears after the ‘John and Mary had six children’ line is likely a compiled source that relates to all the children in the family; a probable source to examine if you are interested in one particular child and there are no sources cited.

       An unusual aspect of these essays is the use of ‘Family Tree’ sources. Most published genealogies do not use them as they are frequently (but not always) poorly sourced or not sourced at all and are the most egregious contributors to ‘linkrot’ (which argues that they should not be cited). ‘Linkrot’ is an online source (URL) hyperlink which has changed in some way over time so that the link is broken (resulting in a 404 error—‘File not found’) and making the site unavailable if it still exists. These online trees contain implicit ‘attic sources’ (information that may be no more than family tradition or hearsay or unciteable family papers) that are of tremendous value especially when regular documented sources are not available. I teach Genealogy Workshops at a local college and the first thing we teach beginners is to glean all that you can from the old people in their families and then gather ‘attic sources’. I have seen time and time again where an ‘attic source’ even when not completely correct can furnish an eventual lead to a valuable documentable source. For this reason ‘attic sources’ cannot be ignored especially when the researcher is stuck on an otherwise insoluble problem. They are worth the extra work they produce in eradicating the linkrot they inevitably bring. Such is the price we pay for living essays.

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