Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, July 26, 2021

Update on the Digital Public Library of America


From time to time in the past, I have written about the Digital Public Library of America. As you can see from this screenshot, the DPLA now has well over 44 million images, texts, videos, and sounds from across the United States. If you visit the website, you will also see this link:

As you can see, there is clearly a link for Family Research. As genealogists, most of us get in a rut looking at the same online database programs. We can all benefit from realizing that libraries, archives, and other similar institutions collect genealogically valuable documents and records. By expanding into millions of documents and records, the Digital Public Library of America has managed to acquire some very useful genealogical resources. Yes, you do have to search for them but the search is worth it. Here is a long list of the DPLA partner institutions.

Some of these appear to be directly helpful for genealogical research and all of them may contain surprises. All of the documents on the DPLA are usable. Here is the copyright explanation from the website. 

What’s the deal with copyright and a DPLA item?
The copyright status of items in DPLA varies. DPLA links to a wide variety of different materials: many are in the public domain, while others are under rights restrictions but nonetheless publicly viewable. For individual rights information about an item, please check the “Rights” field in the metadata, or follow the link to the digital object on the content provider’s website for more information.

You might want to add a search in the DPLA to your research methodology. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Analyzing a Complex Challenge on the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Five


In the last post in this series, I listed all 11 men named Richard Boorman (Boreman etc.) I have found so far who lived in the same part of England. Many of these people are connected as father and son. Eight of them, including those in my own family line, are shown as related to each other. Questions remain as to which of these Richard Boormans have records documenting their parent/child relationship. 

This is the real issue with all of the entries in the Family Tree: how many of the entries have cited documentary support for their child/parent pedigree generational extensions? If no record is cited, no real genealogical connect exists. The records I am looking at are in the 1600s and 1700s, well before any census or civil registration records existed. For parent/child relationships, we have to primarily rely on church records and sometimes. probate records. We also have to be careful not to fall into the same name/same person fallacy. A careful consideration of the places where these people are reported to have been living from a marriage or death record may provide some insight but absent a parent/child record, conclusions based on other records such as marriage are insufficient to support a final conclusion. Even if the records show that there is only one person with a certain name in the area being searched, this may mean that the records are missing and therefore no firm conclusion can be formed. 

How does all this apply to the 11 Richard Boormans? How many of them am I really related to?

My Boorman line begins with Mary Boorman C. 1744, d. 1777) LKKM-3GH. Her father is listed as Richard Boorman (C. 1707, d. 1771) LH1G-W2D. Her christening record indicates she was christened on 9 September 1744 in Headcorn, Kent, England and the daughter of Richard Boreman and Mary Boreman. She is listed as married to William Tarbutt (C. 1743, d. 1825) LZN9-DYR in Goudhurst, Kent, England. All of her children are listed as christened in Cranbrook, Kent, England. Cranbrook is about 8 miles south of Headcorn and about 5 miles east of Goudhurst. These are the three places that show up in the records of all 11 of the Richard Boormans. 

There are 477 records on for women with the name of Mary Boorman including alternate spellings and plus or minus 2 years from 1744. The record cited on the Family Tree is from Here is the record.

"England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 December 2015), Kent > Headcorn > Baptisms 1717-1776 > image 13 of 40; Kent Archives Office, Maidstone.

Richard and Mary are shown to be married in Headcorn, Kent, England on 12 October 1741. Richard Boreman has a christening record showing he was christened in Headcorn, Kent, England and his parents were Richard Boreman and Amy Boreman, but the names are indistinct. The attached marriage record is a Bishop's transcript that gives the date and the names of the bride and groom but not the place. The family seems to be solidly in Headcorn except Mary Boreman LKKM-3GH is said to be buried in Cranbrook in 1777 and all her children are christened in Cranbrook. This creates a problem. Is the Mary Boreman shown as christened in Headcorn really the same person who is married to William Tarbutt in Goudhurst?

There is another Mary Boreman christened in Cranbrook, Kent, England on 20 May 1750 and her father's name is John and her mother's name was Elizabeth. Wouldn't it be more logical to assume that the Mary Boreman born in Cranbrook was the one who married William Tarbutt and had all her children in Cranbrook and not one of her children were named Richard and one was named John? In short, it looks like to me that all 11 of the Richard Boreman names are not related to me. Mary Boreman's father's name was more likely John.

Now there is another problem. The marriage record for William Tarbut shows that marriage took place in Goudhurst, Kent, England. Hmm. Maybe not only are the parents of Mary Boreman wrong in the Family Tree, they have her married to the wrong person. However, the children's record from Cranbrook show their father as William Tarbutt. So is there a William Tarbut christened in Cranbrook?

There are marriage and burial records for William Tarbutt in Cranbrook but no record of a christening. That leaves the question of who is William Tarbutt and where was he christened? By the way, it does not look like I am related to any of the Richard Boremans. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Analyzing a Complex Challenge on the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Four


In the last post in this series, I had just discovered a transcript of the parish register for Headcorn, Kent, England from 1680 to 1780. Here is a transcript of the transcript. 

Kent, England, Tyler Index to Parish Registers, 1538-1874 for Richard Boorman (two pages)
Trans? 35/52
Headcorn 1680 -1780 

1687 Jul. 10. Ellis, John of Frittenden and Eliz Clarke of Headcorn [Frittenden is appx. 2.7 miles from Headcorn]
1689 Aug 11 Ellis, Wm O. of John and Eliz. Bap
1689/90 Mar. 8 Ellis, Wm O. of John and Eliz. Bur
1712 Oct. 2. Boreman, Eliz. D. of Richard. Bur
1714 Nov Dec. 25 Boreman, Elizabeth d of Richard and Anne Bap
1741 Oct. 12 Boorman, Richard and Mary Parks, Banns Mar.
1742 Nov. 21. Boreman, Elizabeth d. of Richard and Mary bap.
1743 Oct. 7. Boreman, Richard son bur.
1746 Oct. 28. Luckhurst T. John and Mary Boreman (Banns)
1745 Dec. 10. Kingsnorth, James and Eliz Boreman (Banns) 
1747/8 Jan 10. Boreman Richard s of Richard and Mary bap
1748 Jul. 14. Boreman. Richard s of Richard and Mary (infant) bur
1749 Sep. 10. Boreman, Richard s of Richard and Mary bap. bur. [?]
1750 Mar. 8. Boreman Amy
1751-2 Mar 15 Boreman Amy d. of Richard and Mary bap
1755 Nov 9 Boreman Sarah bur.
1762/3 Mar. 21 Boreman Richard bur.

Page two

Trans 35/53
1776 Nov. 25 Boorman. Mary wid. Bur.
1779 Nov. 15 Boorman. James of Frittenden ban with Mary Southon spr of r.p. Banns
1780 Apl 9 7 Boorman Thomas infant bur.
1780 May 25 Boorman Eliz. bur.

From 1561 
Gullam Doville d Toms Douvill bap 13 Oct 1566

Additional Boreman/Boorman names from additional docs

1771 Dec 10. Borman old bur
1723 May 3 Boreman Benj s Will bur [?]
1718 May 4 Boreman Mary d Richard and Amy bap bo Mar 3

One of the last questions I had raised concerned the existence of a source supported relationship of Richard Boorman LH1G-W2D to his father Richard Boorman L7GK-6QM as listed in the Family Tree. The son has the christening date of 7 September 1707 without a place listed. The earliest dates on the above transcript do not record Boorman family members and the first Boorman family dates from 1712 as a burial of Elizabeth Boorman (b. 1709, d. 1712) KNSB-NLJ who is the second child listed of Richard Boorman L7GK-6QM and Amy Fountaine LV7T-97W but the entry above has a wife named Anne not Amy. 

For reference here are the eight Richard Boorman individuals who are shown to be related on the Family Tree. I have added the name of each of their spouses if one is recorded. I have also arranged them in reverse chronological order by christening date. 
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1749 no death date) LH1K-8CN Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England September 1749 married to Mary Hedgecock.
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1747, d. 1748) LC9Z-SZR Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England 17 January 1747-48 died young
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1707, d. 1771) LH1G-W2D Christened in Kent, England 7 September 1707 married to Mary Parks
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1668, d. 1743) L7GK-6QM Christened 22 November 1668 in Goudhurst, Kent, England married to Amy Fountaine
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1641, d. none) KGCN-SGN Christened 26 April 1635 in Goudhurst, Kent, England Married to Mary Foreman
  • Richard Boorman (C. 1599, d. 1653) LH1G-4HC Christened 13 January 1599 in Cranbrook, Kent, England married to Mary Austen
  • Richard Boorman (b. Estimated 1569, d. Deceased) L65S-RHK No christening date, supposedly born in Cranbrook, Kent, England married Elizabeth Waters
  • Richard Boorman (b. 1609, d. Deceased) 9XBQ-B53 Christened 7 May 1609 in Cranbrook, Kent, England married Grisell Foster
Here we see where there is a major question. The father of Richard Boorman LH1G-W2D is listed in the Family Tree as being christened in Goudhurst, Kent, England and married to Amy Fountaine but there is no one named Richard married to an Amy on the Headcorn list above. There are three, possibly four, Richard Boremans listed as being buried in Headcorn. The earliest Boorman burial is October 7, 1743. However, the Richard Boorman listed above who died in 1743 was from Goudhurst and there is no real reason to believe that he died in Headcorn. So, the question resolves as to whether or not there was a Richard Boorman who married and/or lived in Headcorn married to Amy Fountaine. So now I am off to research the parish registers. Guess what? Two more Richard Boormans.

Richard Boorman (C. 1661, d. 1743) LZXC-B6K Christened 19 November 1661 in Goudhurst, Kent, England married to Mary Atkins 
Richard Boorman GCHS-P5W no christening or death date, no marriage listed

There are no sources listed for either of these "new" Richard Boormans. But there was a duplicate listed which gives me yet another Richard Boorman. 

Richard Boorman (C. 1690, d. Deceased) Christened 12 Oct 1690 in Cranbrook, Kent, England no spouse shown

That brings the total up to 11 Richard Boormans all living in the same area and supposedly related. 

It is time to start a spreadsheet and see which of these people really were my ancestors. Stay tuned. This is just now getting interesting. 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Analyzing a Complex Challenge on the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Three


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

The idea behind this series is to show how I word through complex challenges on the Family Tree. You can jump in anytime, but you might want to go back and review the previous posts to see where I am with this post. I will try not to repeat too much but some repetition is part of the process of trying to solve the situations that are recorded in the Family Tree and how things change as I analyze the situations and make additions, changes and do additional research. I am writing this series as I actually do the evaluation and research. I do not know how this research will turn out. 

Presently, I am looking at the following supposedly related individuals:

Richard Boorman (C. 1747, d. 1748) LC9Z-SZR Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England 17 January 1747-48

Richard Boorman (C. 1749 no death date) LH1K-8CN Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England10 September 1749

Richard Boorman (C. 1707, d. 1771) LH1G-W2D Christened in Kent, England 7 September 1707

Richard Boorman (C. 1668, d. 1743) L7GK-6QM Christened 22 November 1668 in Goudhurst, Kent, England 

Richard Boorman (C. 1641, d. none) KGCN-SGN Christened 26 April 1635 in Goudhurst, Kent, England

Richard Boorman (C. 1599, d. 1653) LH1G-4HC Christened 13 January 1599 in Cranbrook, Kent, England. 

Richard Boorman (b. Estimated 1569, d. Deceased) L65S-RHK No christening date, supposedly born in Cranbrook, Kent, England. 

Richard Boorman (b. 1609, d. Deceased) 9XBQ-B53 Christened 7 May 1609 in Cranbrook, Kent, England. 

All of these individuals appear either as fathers or sons on the line beginning with Richard Boorman LC9Z-SZR who dies as an infant. However, Richard Boorman LH1K-8CN has the same name in the same family. This is not unusual. Often, when a child died in infancy, the name was recycled for a subsequently born child of the same sex. This could happen several times if the children all died. Practices such as this make for interesting research opportunities. 

Here is my direct line starting with Richard Boorman LH1K-8CN:

As I am doing research, from time to time, I check on my relationship to make sure I haven't jumped off into an unrelated line. By the way, all of the Richard Boormans listed above are children of these men. 

Question: Am I related to all 8 of these men named Richard Boorman? Right now, my opinion is that it highly unlikely that I am related to all of them. The line also goes back two more generations to John Boorman (b. 1515, d. 1571) L6PX-146 Will dated 26 March 1569 in Hawkhurst, Kent, England. It looks like to me, as I write this, that the line supported by actual records showing father/child relationships ends quite a bit earlier. 

Now that I have an idea about the line as it exists in the Family Tree, I can now make some observations. 

Going back in time, the only way to properly do the research in this case, I see four different locations:
  • Headcorn, Kent, England
  • Kent, England
  • Goudhurst, Kent, England
  • Cranbrook, Kent, England
Remember, we are talking about individuals all of whom were born before 1750. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England is considered to occur in about 1830 with the first railroads. Before that time, travel was confined to the speed of walking, riding a horse, or traveling in a wagon. People were usually married and died within six miles of where they were born. For a discussion about early travel times, see "HISTORY OF TRANSPORT AND TRAVEL" for an example. 

So I need to know where these towns are located in relation to each other? Here is a screenshot of a Google Map of the three towns. The reference to being born in County Kent, I will discuss shortly. The tree towns are each more than six miles from each other. 

Just from the standpoint of the recorded locations of the events, it is unlikely that these people are correctly related. So where does the ancestral line break down?

Richard Boorman LH1K-8CN is shown as the son of Richard Boorman LH1G-W2D. Here is that family.

You can see the two children named Richard. The father, Richard Boorman LH1G-W2D, is my direct line ancestor. Now, the question is whether or not there is some record source showing a father/child relationship? This is the question that is asked for each child in each family as you work back through the generations. The fact that they both lived in the same place does not in and of itself create that relationship. Time for more research. This time adding in record hints from 

Here is a key record from

Frank Watt Tyler. The Tyler Collection. Canterbury, Kent, England: The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. The Tyler Collection,The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Canterbury, Kent, England.

Here is the entire Boorman family in Headcorn with the dates of the key events and even giving the wife's maiden name. Now the task is to see what information is contained in this record and how it applies to the information that is already in the Family Tree. I guess I need to remind you that this series is being written as the research is being done. Anything I find is new to me. 

Stay tuned for the next installment. 

Here are the previous posts in this series:

The Internationalization of Genealogy


By Anonymous - Universit├Ątsbibliothek Salzburg, Handzeichnung H 35 (aus dem Wolf-Dietrich-Klebeband 15.846 III), via, Public Domain,

Genealogical research methodology in the United States and elsewhere is almost entirely based on a Western European and Indo-European language model. Everything from pedigree charts to the terminology used in accumulating, interpreting, and storing genealogical information has codified the Western European world view. It is more than apparent that the roots of the pedigree came from the development of livestock variations. The focus is almost entirely on biological rather than cultural or social relationships. Cultures and societies that do not fit into the model are either forced into fitting or ignored. The family tree emphasis, while useful for organizing some types of information, strips away all the cultural kinship relationships that more accurately depict how people interact. 

One illustration of the limited view of genealogy comes from a list of countries where my DNA matches occur. On there is a list of locations where my "DNS Matches live." There are 54 countries listed. Some of these countries are surprising, such as Malaysia, Turkey, Cote D'Ivoire, Vietnam, Qatar, Argentina, Morocco, Senegal, Latvia, Singapore, and Czechia. How would the current model of genealogy account for these potential relationships? When I am asked about my "race" or "ethnicity" what do I say? What if the larger numbers of DNA matches in the British Isles and Scandinavia is merely a function of the number of people who have taken DNA tests? 

Maybe what you think you know about your ancestry is based on a very limited and ethnocentric evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of your own culture.

How do we go about internationalizing genealogical methodology? Perhaps we need to broaden our view of categories. Our English-based (Indo-european based?) characterization of relationships,(i.e. father, mother, aunt, uncle, etc.) narrows our view of how families operate outside of a purely biological relationship. Perhaps we need to revise our method of recording geographical information. Perhaps we need to revise our ideas of calendar dates. Maybe there is more to internationalization than merely listing all the people you share DNA with. Maybe we need to recognize that our obligation to record all of the pertinent information about our genealogical relationships and not just pick and choose the information we keep or ignore. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Analyzing a Complex Challenge on the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Two


Image from PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

You might want to read these posts in sequence. They will make more sense that way. Although you are welcome to jump in wherever you want to start. This series might go on for a while. In starting this analysis, I had no idea if the apparent issues could be solved. I still don't. 

Let's go back to the original image from the Family Tree of the Richard Boorman (b. 1668, d. 1743) and see what can be done immediately. 

From the dates in the Family Tree, it looks like his wife, Amy Fontaine (b. 1684, d. 1750) outlived him so there is no reason to suspect that there was a second marriage with two children. In England in the 1600s and 1700s divorce was practically unknown. Here is a screenshot of the supposed second marriage. 

Mary Boorman KGCM-WPV is duplicated in the first marriage listed and so she supposedly has a known mother. Upon checking the sources it is even more apparent that she is a duplicate because there is a record of her christening in a consistent place, date, and with the same parents' names. 

The process to correct this in the Family Tree involves detaching the child from these parents. She is not the child of this father with an unknown mother. Detaching her from this family will not affect the entry in the first list of children. But that leaves the second, older child who is named Thomas Booman b. abt 1709 in Goudhurst, Kent, England. I have detached the duplicate daughter. Always check the ID numbers to make sure you are identifying duplicates or apparent duplicates. This is not the same as a merge because the entries have the same ID number. 

That still leaves Thomas Boorman KP4W-SZN as a child with Richard Boorman as the father. However, Thomas's birthdate is recorded as about 1709 and there is already a child in the family born in that year. Twins do exist but normally you would see some notation on a birth record. There is a birth record for Elizabeth Boorman KNSB-NLJ. 

But there is no record attached (so far) for a Thomas Boorman. With records in the 1600s and early 1700s, it is not uncommon to have only a partial record of an individual. The main issue here is that the entry in the Family Tree indicates that Thomas is the only child listed that was not christened in Headcorn, Kent, England which also raises a question if Thomas is actually a member of this family. It is interesting that the father, Richard Boorman's parents were married in Goudhurst (although misspelled), Kent, England but the father, Richard Booman L7GK-6QM is the only one identified without a specific birth record. 

So what do I do with Thomas Boorman KP4W-SZN? There are two strikes against him being a member of this family. He is said to have been born in Goudhurst rather than Headcorn like the rest of the children in the family and there is already a daughter, Elizabeth KNSB-NLJ christened 14 August 109 with a supporting record in the sources. Time to do some research. A quick check on shows 132 results. There is not one person with a christening record named Thomas within 10 miles of Headcorn or Goudhurst (which by the way is actually Goud Hurst on Without a christening record, it is unlikely that Thomas Boorman can be accurately identified. Goudhurst, by the way, is a small town with a present population of about 3200 people. 

Since there are no sources supporting a child named Thomas in the Richard Boorman/Amy Fountain and another child with the same year of birth and there are evenly spaces children in this family, I conclude that Thomas Boorman KP4W-SZN is not a child in this family but I am going to leave him in the Family Tree for a while to see what happens. 

Without making any more changes we have five people named Richard Boorman. As shown by this list:

Richard Boorman (C. 1747, d. 1748) LC9Z-SZR Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England 17 January 1747-48

Richard Boorman (C. 1749 no death date) LH1K-8CN Christened in Headcorn, Kent, England10 September 1749

Richard Boorman (C. 1707, d. 1771) LH1G-W2D Christened in Kent, England 7 September 1707

Richard Boorman (C. 1668, d. 1743) Christened 22 November 1668 in Goudhurst, Kent, England 

Richard Boorman (C. 1641, d. none) Christened 26 April 1635 in Goudhurst, Kent, England

Theoretically, there could be a father/son relationship going on here but one of the Richards does not have an accurate  christening record that only identifies Kent as the place. 

I am suspicious of the move from Goudhurst to Headcorn. 

Here is the first post in this series:

RootsTech Connect to be online again in 2022

On 7 July 2021, announced that the big RootsTech Connect family history conference will be held online again in 2022 as fully virtual event. The Conference will take place on March 3 - 5, 2022. The in-person events anticipated for London this fall and Salt Lake City in 2022 will not take place. 

As I see it, the question for FamilySearch was whether or not the conference would continue to be a local, Wasatch Front event attended by about 20,000 to 30,000 people or continue to be a world-wide event with well over a million people participating. It is also very apparent that although the initial cost of presenting a world-wide event was likely substantial, once the systems and programs are in place, continuing the online virtual conference would cost less per participant than a more limited in-person conference. There are some advantages gained by an in-person conference but the huge increase in coverage would seem to me to far outweigh the advantages of meeting in person. 

Again, from my perspective, much of the world was forced by the pandemic to upgrade online activity. The news is full of analysis and speculation about a major increase of at-home work environments and changes to almost every type of business. This movement sparked by a pandemic towards globalization of communications is only the beginning. One small example, I have spent every week since RootsTech Connect 2021 online helping people around the world, mainly in South America, with their genealogical questions. At the time of this writing I have had over 100 such support sessions scheduled and I know other volunteers in this virtual, online support effort have scheduled many times that amount of support. 

The support comes from the missionaries and volunteers at both the Salt Lake City, Utah Family History Library and the Brigham Young University Family History Library in Provo, Utah. There may be other volunteers in other parts of the world also. The Salt Lake City Family History Library has a web page explaining how the service works. See this page:

The Brigham Young Family History Library provides direct, virtual, online support during the hours the library is open. You can connect directly to library, currently, between the hours of 10:00 am to 8:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time. Hours and times will change as more missionaries are added and also as the time changes due to Daylight Savings Time. Here is where the link to the Virtual Desk is located.

Although the staff, in-person, is limited, there are other missionaries who are able to get online and help during the times indicated. 

All of this expanded, online, support became a reality only as the technology developed but it got a huge push from the online reaction to the pandemic. 

We have already been online through the BYU Family History Library Virtual Desk with people from around the world. 

By the way, the presentations from RootsTech Connect 2021 are still online. See