Saturday, March 24, 2012
Folks, I just don't have time to deal with these computer mess ups. So I need help. Please help me make this process so very easy it causes me NO stress whatsoever. Remember that Addison's, in addition to being an auto-immune disease and an endocrine disease, is also a stress disease. That is what this whole exercise iS about: to get this information to all family members while causing me the very least amount of stress. So do help me. Make this easy for me. Please.
OK, if you will look at today's blog entry you will see what I am attempting to do right now, even though the fabulous photographs did not come through.
Objective: Create a running narrative of the lives of Lafe and Dollie Wadsworth from documents: pictures, letters, newspaper articles, interviews, memories, etc. that all can enjoy and learn from. Post these items on a sight available to all Lafe and Dollie descendants but not others, at least not yet. I have four file boxes of such materials. My health is such that I cannot do this myself. So we welcome relatives who will
1. Take a small portion of the documents, perhaps a decade's worth, scan them, then return the documents to me as well as the scans. Someone, whoever volunteers for it, will put the documents in chronological order. The reason I want these things returned is that when the project is over, I will take them to BYU Special Collections to add them to the Wadsworth materials already there.
After the scanning is done, I would like the volunteers to put the documents in order: First the name of the decade like this: DECADE ONE: 1890-1899. Then each item following it's date as near as can be determined. The scanner is welcome to add comments followed by his or her name and initials. The scanner is welcome to ask others about what he/she scanned and add that information. Or not.
2. Send the finished scanned decade to me [or whoever takes over the management of this project]. Mail the documents within a week or so back to me or to whoever is managing the project. Any volunteers?
3. Anyone can add comments, do research on the questions, etc. In fact, please read the Decade One data and answer whatever questions you can, even though the pictures aren't yet there.
4. Simone has solved the posting problem. Shortly there will be a place to post the Wadsworth Wiki project where all can contribute.
Thanks so much to those who have already volunteered. I'll be sending the first packets, probably Monday.
Lafe and Dollie Wadsworth Historical DocumentsTHE WADSWORTH WIKI PROJECT Dollie and Lafe Wadsworth: A Collection of True Accounts By LaRae Free Kerr,
Dollie and Lafe Wadsworth: A Collection of True Accounts
By LaRae Free Kerr, M ED and family members Simone Hentish, Natalie Hentish, Jule Wadsworth, Gretchen Free, NAMES OF OTHERS WHO HELP
Started 19 January 2002, New Harmony, Utah. Recommenced under divine direction March 2012, Spanish Fork, Utah. Thank you to all who will have helped, scanned, written, “scrapbooked” in any way. Further, you will note a running commentary going through this to which you may add your own questions and comments. Just be sure to add your name to each entry. When the project is completed, we may delete those questions that have found answers to make the history more cogent.
Please note, I’m finding it repetitive and tedious to keep identifying people as relatives. If you see a Wadsworth or Hollingshead surname assume there is a relationship to Gram and Grandpa Lafe, therefore to us. I’ll keep identifying others as I can. LFK
On the 27th of Feb 1984, I wrote to Uncle Lester Lee asking for answers to some intriguing questions. My dear Mom [Myrtle Joy Wadsworth Free] visited him on 16 March 1984 to record his answers.
I asked: Tell me about “lowering” the land in Panaca.
Uncle Lester’s reply as recorded by Mom: “There was lowering of the land where foundations were to be built, had to dig a trench where foundation was to go and leave it that way until water dried up. If they did not the walls would sink and break the walls of the building.
“The top soil is what seemed to cause the houses to sink. Uncle Lester says the story of cattle tramping it were not correct. They poured trenches 14 feet full of water for the Panaca grade school.”
This phenomonen of “lowering” the land is also explained in George Allen Wadsworth – Pilley to Panaca. Since I am attempting to give our Wadsworth family everything I can about our family, I will tell you a few things that have happened because of the George Allen Wadsworth book. The book won first place in an Idaho Writers contest. It was one of ten finalists in a contest in England which took us to lunch with the Duke of Norfolk at the Savoy in London. It was a runner-up in a Mid-West family history contest. The information in the book has been used by at least one community researcher who studied early Mormon communities for an advanced degree. LFK
DECADE ONE: 1890-1899. This is the decade when Gram and Grandpa Lafe were born. Gram or Dollie is Minnie Adell Hollingshead Wadsworth b 1898. Grandpa Lafe is Milton Lafayette Wadsworth b 1894, both born in Panaca, Lincoln, Nevada. As the oldest grandchild, I remember them both vividly and can’t seem to help but call them Gram and Grandpa which I do in my narratives. Others who contribute to this wonderful true history may use whatever names you use for the people mentioned. Just be sure to identify who wrote what, so there is no confusion, by following each entry with your initials or name. [My entries will be followed by my initials: LFK. By the way, I was called Helen Rae when I was growing up in Panaca, named after my Aunt Helen [O’Connor] and my Aunt Rae [Empie]. My full name is Helen LaRae Free VanderBeek Kerr. I have two BAs, an M ED and half of another masters degree. I earned certificates in Secondary Teaching, Empathology and Natural Healing despite having terrible chronic illnesses: Addison’s Disease, severe hypoglycemia, just for starters, and being in bed half my life. And pain, oh my. Just in case you wondered. Things are quickly getting worse, in 2012, so I am very concerned about getting this information into the hands and minds and hearts of family members.]
The picture below may be an early picture of Panaca. I come to that conclusion only because of the collection of very old photographs with it. Is there a place in Panaca where that particular mountain slope can be found? Will someone please look? Or is that a tailing pit right behind the driver’s head? If so, this might be Pioche. Will someone look and let me know? Thanks. LFK Whether this is a picture of Pioche or Panaca, it clearly shows the world Gram and Grandpa Lafe were born into: bare Lincoln County hills, bare trees, wooden buildings, horse-drawn buggies driven by women [that is a woman driver, right?]. The reason I think this might be Panaca over Pioche [if it is either] is that the street is so wide, Mormon wide. LFK
About 1894. The picture below, though taken before Gram was born, shows people important to her: Elizabeth Evans Hollingshead, her grandmother; Andrew Hollingshead, her uncle; and Clem Hollingshead, her half-brother b 1891 in Minersville. Clem was raised by this grandmother because his mother died about a week after he was born.
The picture was taken by Stringham and Howarth studios of Manti and Salt Lake City.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Our Free family documents include a deed signed by Brigham Young as well as invaluable materials concerning other family members. All will be available to all family members and all LDS researchers once this book is completed.
We have a few family letters, many items from County Courthouses all across the country as well as bits and pieces from others' histories. We have six boxes full of Free historical materials in the closet behind me as well as several boxes of the same filed away in the garage. Of course, everything in the history will be written from documents with the most primary documents given the most credence.
It is important that readers understand the relative value of documents, so when they read the history they can know which information bits are most true. Anything that is labelled a family tradition or begins with "Grandma [or anybody else] said this about so and so" should be taken with a grain of salt. Yet people tend to believe and stick with what someone said someone else said a hundred years ago. Those things are the least believable.
Recently I had a most interesting conversation with a scientist who insisted the information in a 60-year-old letter that began by saying some great ancestor had said thus and so about an event that took place more than 150 years earlier and had not been written down until the 1940s was more true than documents written at the time of the event by people not only living at that time but by people invested in the event.
As a scientist he should know better. In fact, I was sure he would know better. But he stuck to the family legend like glue because his grandfather said it was so, even though he was recording an event that took place 150 years earlier.
He would never [I hope] use the same measurement for his scientific experiments. Can you imagine him saying after viewing an experiment himself, "No, that study done 150 years ago with its primitive processes and equipment is the one I will base this medical experiment on, not the one I just witnessed with the latest tools and equipment and measurements. Why? Because my grandfather said my many-times great-grandfather said it was so." Would you submit to a medical procedure based on centuries old data?
Of course not. Well, neither should you base your pedigree on stories handed down over decades because stories [even though they make delightful and meaningful histories] change every time they are told. So in our Free history, look for the documents behind the stories as well as the documentation of the stories.
An example of the kind of thing you may find: My siblings and I were raised on the wonderful "Glass of Milk" story that involved a national post office workers convention including Senator Smoot from Utah. We never doubted the story. Even so, when I had the chance, I interviewed Dad's friend who Dad accompanied to the Chicago convention. Plus I have a photocopy of the program giving date and place and Senator Smoot's name.
The story has directed our lives: it is the key to many choices in our lives. But the program and interview assure us the event actually happened and give us dates and places. Believe, enjoy, be inspired by the story. But know you can believe, enjoy and be inspired because of the documentation.
That combination of story and primary documentation underlies everything in the Free history as far as possible. Some stories are pinned by less than primary documentation. Of those stories, you the reader must make judgements. And you can only make wise judgements if you understand that family legends are family legends, very unbelievable, and where other documents fall on the primary/secondary scale. Do a search for the word "primary" on this blog for more information.
Friday, October 21, 2011
William Sherrill the Fur Trader’s origins HYPOTHESIS 20 Oct 2011
Copyright LaRae Free Kerr.
Responses welcomed, needed, desired. Do not cut and paste this information without acknowledging that it is a hypothesis. And please give full credit where it is due. For more information go to alfreefamily.blogspot.com and do a search for William Sherrill.
Step One: Any birth record for William Sherrill, Fur Trader, MUST meet certain requirements.
1702, Mar 10. He bought 150 acres of Price’s Forest on the Elk River in Cecil Co MD. He would almost certainly be 21 or older in order to do that. So his birth had to have occurred by 1780 or earlier.
1696, Dec 11. His son Adam was born in Cecil Co MD. Since he would almost certainly be 21 or older when this child was born, his birth year would be 1675 or earlier.
1693. But since he had older children whose oldest year of birth has been estimated at 1693, he would almost certainly have been born by 1671. And that is only if he were at least 21 when the above events occurred. The truth is that in the early Americas at that time, most men were considerably older when they married, had children and bought land. It just took time to earn the wherewithal to do those things. [See Albion’s Seed.]
So any birth that could be attributed to William Sherrill the Fur Trader would have to occurr by or before [and maybe long before] 1671.
Where was he born? The tax lists of Lancaster County clearly label him an Englishman.
What was the spelling of his name? The surname Sherrill is spelled so many ways – even in the same document – that a phonetic reading is essential. I believe I have a list of some of the variations I have seen myself on the blogspot referenced above.
Conclusion of Hypothesis One: William Sherrill the fur trader was born near or before 1671 in England [or of English parents in one of England’s colonies, though this is most unlikely due to the early time frame.]
Step Two: When did William Sherrill arrive in the Americas? If the information on his family is anywhere near correct, he would have arrived before 1693, at least as early as 1692 if his daughter Mary’s birth year of 1693 is approximately correct. If the conclusions of Step One are reasonably correct, he would have come to the Americas as a boy or young man, say between 1680 and 1692. Is this possible? Unfortunately it is. Some children were sent to the Americas as indentured servants and were actually called white slaves by some. English prisons were emptied by exportation. Further, especially in Devonshire, salesmen sold people on the wonders and opportunities in the Americas in an effort to get people to pay ship’s passage to travel. The salesmen then received a percentage of the fare.
Conclusion: William Sherrill the Fur Trader probably came to the Americas between 1680 and 1692. He probably came alone since we never find him with other Sherrills of the same age or old enough to be parents. Therefore, he probably did NOT pay his own way but came at the expense of someone else: a trafficker in indentured servants or at the crown’s expense.
Step Three: Are there extant immigration records for one or more William Sherrills of the approximate age and place of birth? There are, and I don’t have time to look up my list right now, so feel free to send your lists. But there is this record:
1686, Mar 1. William Sherwill of Modbury (ENG), weaver, was set down in MD.
Does this entry fit the requirements for William Sherrill? Yes, he arrived between 1680 and 1692 and was from England. Note that there may be other immigration records that fit these requirements. I don’t remember any off the top of my head and have an appointment in just a few minutes, so…
Further is there another William Sherrill in the Chesapeake area at this time that could be the William Sherrill who emigrated in 1686? NO. Haven’t found one. Have you?
Conclusion: The 1686 immigration record meets the requirements to be William Sherrill. [There may be other entries that also meet these requirements. Let me know.]
Step Four: Is there an “honorable” excuse for our William Sherrill the Fur Trader to be a prisoner? Is there any evidence our William Sherrill was a weaver? Or that he came from Devonshire?
In 1685 there was a civil war in England. Some of the folks on the wrong side were imprisoned and/or deported apparently. [The People’s Chronology and the history of Modbury] There will be more about this in the book I’m writing. Was William Sherrill a political prisoner? Or had he broken some law? Logic from 2011 would say that judging from the people deported with him, he had broken a law. But our times are definitely NOT those times. Nevertheless, he probably had committed some crime. I’ve attempted to find his record in England, but it is not available to me via Internet, Ancestry.com or FHL.
Is there any evidence William Sherrill the Fur Trader knew the art of weaving? I haven’t found such a record so far, but if the William Sherrill who emigrated in 1686 was a prisoner, he would have served some kind of term in a prison or most likely as an indentured servant. His weaving skills could have been in high demand. I have not found anything indicating he came from Devonshire, let alone Modbury.
Could William Sherrill be from both Modbury and Ermington? Absolutely. One is a sub-political entity of the other.
Conclusion: No documents yet found connect the 1686 emigrant with weaving, prison or Modbury. And frankly, I don’t expect to find any. Many activities from that era were not recorded, or were lost or destroyed if they were recorded. I feel we are very lucky to have as many extant records for William Sherrill as we have. But will everyone keep looking?
Step Five: What are the requirements for the birth of William Sherrill who emigrated in 1686? First, he was probably more than a child since he had had time to be trained as a weaver. So he may have been as young as 15 but was probably older. Therefore he was born by or before 1671. He could also have been a much older man. Second, he was almost certainly born in England.
Conclusion: The William Sherrill of Modbury, weaver, was probably born by or before 1671 in England.
THEREFORE, IT IS PERFECTLY POSSIBLE THAT WILLIAM SHERRILL THE FUR TRADER AND WILLIAM SHERRILL OF MODBURY COULD BE THE SAME PERSON.
Step Six: Could the William Sherrill christened 17 Nov 1666 in Ermington be the man sent to America in 1686 from Modbury? Yes. He’s the right age: born before 1671 in England. In fact, his christening is registered in a church in Ermington. English registration districts are not like the straight-forward city, county, state districts here. Christenings are registered in churches then recorded in sub-districts, etc.
But more importantly, did the William Sherrill christened in 1666 either marry or die in or near Modbury/Ermington? There is one marriage at about the right time, but it occurred AFTER William Sherrill’s deportation. I considered it for a while, but it would have required William Sherrill to have returned to England just a few years after he arrived in the Americas. He may not have had the wherewithal to return then to pay two more passages back, plus a child. Let’s look closely at this. Of course, the real question is: were there two William Sherrill christenings in the right place at the right time? One for the mentioned marriage and one who disappears in the local Modbury records? The answer to that question seems to be yes there were two.
Conclusion: Yes, William Sherrill the prisoner could be William Sherrill christened 1666 in Ermington. No question about that. But is he?
Step Seven: Can all this information be put together to make a coherent whole? Look at the timeline. Suppositions are in blue.
AGE Place Event
1666 Ermington, Devon, Eng probably birth year and christening
1673-1683 Devon, Eng WS apprenticed as a weaver
1686 Maryland immigration as prisoner, weaver, of Modbury
1687-1694 Maryland/PA/DE WS works off his immigration fee as well as his prison sentence
which would almost certainly be seven years or more
1692 Cecil County Maryland WS marries and starts his family
1702 Lancaster Co PA buys 150 acres [both the small size of this purchase and the
Medium tax he pays for the next few years indicate he is not a
Wealthy man which is consistent with his origins]
Conclusion: The William Sherrill christened 1666 in Ermington, the William Sherrill exported in 1686, and the William Sherrill buying land in 1702 in Pennsylvania can indeed be the same person. This is more evidence than most pedigrees have.
Nevertheless, the genealogical rule is: If you can’t prove it is true then you must prove it isn’t. So I invite you to dig out your documents, do some additional research – you almost certainly have access to records I don’t – and prove the above hypothesis wrong.
Note that in each case there is only one William Sherrill in each area at that time, doing that particular thing. Nevertheless, please get busy and disprove this. Thanks, LFK
Monday, October 10, 2011
In addition on 4 Oct my email went capute. Am still trying to get it fixed. So please be patient. Things happen with the Free Family History as they happen. Prayers and help are welcome. I'd like to get this history written before I die, but I also want it to be as accurate as it can be in 2011. Thanks, LFK
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Can anyone provide more information about Leroy, Benjamin and William Sherrill Perkins, sons of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins? [For much more background, please go to www.alfreefamily.blogspot.com.]
Now, who are the Absalom and John Perkins who worked on the Rutherford County, TN road with Leroy in 1806? And did Jesse die as a young man, or did he grow up and marry? And who is the Thomas Perkins who “was not found” in Rutherford Co TN by 1805? HELP please.
Every once in a while as we do genealogical research, especially now that more records are available via Internet – we find a document that changes previous conclusions. Such documents are welcomed enthusiastically and changes in pedigrees sometimes result.
Such is the case with the Joshua [1728-1814] and Mary Sherrill [1744-1803] Perkins family of Burke Co NC and Rutherford Co TN. In the 1980s, the best records I could find led me to include Elizabeth Owens as the wife of Benjamin Perkins, the son of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins. New information in the form of a family letter whose holder wishes to remain anonymous compels me to make the following changes:
Benjamin Perkins [b abt 1780] is still the son of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins, but Elizabeth Owens is NOT his wife. Remember I am the author of the Benjamin Perkins/Elizabeth Owens connection and have both a desire and an obligation to announce the corrections based on the new data. In fact, making such changes is one of the exciting things about genealogy research – or any research.
According to this family letter, the transcription of which I’ve seen in its entirety, Elizabeth Owens is the wife of Leroy Perkins.
This necessitates adding Leroy to the family as a son and moving Elizabeth Owens from Benjamin Perkins’ family group record to Leroy Perkins’ family group record.
Three children are known so far for this family, but there should be several more. The three probable children are: Mary b 17 Feb 1802; John Perkins b 15 Jul 1806; Jesse Perkins b 1808.
These changes raise the possibility that Absolom and John P Perkins of Rutherford Co, TN are also children of Joshua and Mary Sherrill Perkins. Does anyone have information on them?
Also, there is a Thomas Perkins in the same place at the same time. Who is he?
Please go to www.alfreefamily.blogspot.com and look at the Leroy Perkins blog on 30 Aug 2011 for much more information. Thank you. LFK, M ED
Any and all information on these people is welcome.
Some family facts are truer than others: Primary vs Secondary Records
Copyright Sep 2011 LaRae Free Kerr M ED
Which records’ information should I add to my ancestor chart? The most Primary, of course.
Not all information on all documents is true. In fact, some documents with our ancestors’ names on them may lead us far afield or prevent us from finding our true origins. False or misleading information or guesses by earlier generations can bring our research to sudden and total dead ends.
So how can a researcher determine whether the information in a document has any truth to it? One way is to measure the document against the Primary/Secondary Continuum [copyright LFK. More information about this and other continuums can be found in Find Your Actual, Factual Ancestors: A Genealogy Journey in Eight Steps by LFK, soon to be available via ebook and other forms.]
Here is a schematic of the Primary/Secondary Continuum:
Primary records are those created nearest the time of the event by those most involved in the event. For example, the most primary record for a birth would be created if the moment the baby was born, the mother grabbed her diary and wrote something like this, “Five minutes ago, I gave birth to my new baby daughter, Ann Smith, born the 2nd day of January, 1887 at the Wheeler homestead outside Pioche, Nevada in Lincoln County. Her father, Bill Smith, and I, Mary Smith, are delighted to have her.”
Obviously the above diary entry does not represent real people. But if it did, and we called that diary entry record A, it would go to the far left of the Primary/Secondary continuum. It is, as they say, a record we could take to the bank.
Even an official birth certificate, if such things were available in 1887, would be slightly less primary than the diary entry. Why? Because though the midwife who delivered the baby wrote the birth in her notebook which was eventually turned in to the County Records Office, and though she was an integral participant, she didn’t enter the birth until three days after Ann was born, and then she wasn’t quite sure the baby had been named Ann because she had had a couple of rough births to attend after the Smith baby came into the world. Even so, her entry in her midwife diary would still be considered primary because the midwife was present at the birth and wrote it down only three days later. So if we assigned the midwife’s record the letter B, it would go slightly to the right of the mother’s diary.
Now let’s say we look at the 1900 census for this Ann Smith, since it is the first available census after Ann’s birth. Censuses, though the single most useful record type, are secondary because the information is taken by sheriffs and deputies at first, then by other employees, people who may not know the family at all. All the recorded events occurred some distant time from when they were written down. And the person or persons giving the information may not have known the details about family members. Sometimes the information was given by a younger child or even the neighbor. Sometimes the family did not want certain details about their family known by others, so misleading information was deliberately provided. Sometimes the census taker was just plain tired of writing and going from house to house and being yelled at, so he abbreviated names, or he rounded birth years off to every 5 years, or his handwriting became fatigued and sloppy.
Nevertheless, censuses are crucial to American genealogists because they do provide a time and place where other records can be found. Plus they show relationships among people. So if the 1900 census for this fictional Ann Smith were named Record C, it would go somewhere near the middle of the Primary/Secondary Continuum.
Eventually the the fictional researcher for Ann Smith visited Ann Smith’s only living child who said, “No, Grandma Annie was not born in 1887. She was born the year of that big snow storm. I know that’s true. I heard it all my life.” This oral interview was labeled Record D. So the researcher studied the local history and discovered the big snow was in 1889. Because this “fact” was provided by a child of Ann Smith, who could not have been present at Ann’s birth, some 80 years previous to the interview, the researcher knows it is a family legend. Family legends actually fall off the right side of the Primary/Secondary Continuum, but we’ll put Record D over there as for as it can go, because family legends often have some thread of truth in them.
After more research, the genealogist discovered there was a bit of truth to the granddaughter’s statement. A child of Mary Smith’s was born during the big snow, but it was Ann’s younger brother Clyde who was born in 1889.
So if you did have access to these four records, which would you use to build your pedigree? You would use the most primary record you could get your hands on, the one created closest to the time of the event by a person most involved in the event. The further away you got from the time of the event, the less you would believe the record. And the further you got from a participant, especially if it were only heresay, the less you would believe the information.
The genealogical principle is: Use primary records to build your pedigree if you want it to be accurate. When you run out of primary records, use the most primary of the records you have while eschewing secondary records, especially those that fall into “family legend,” the ones that wobble right off the far right of the chart.
Another caution: It is possible, even usual, to have both primary and secondary information in the same document. For example, a regular death certificate is primary for the date and place of a death, but it is actually a little less primary for the name of the person who died because that name came from a living descendant who may or may not have known the full name in its correct order. The names and birth places of the deceased's parents are totally secondary because that information was provided much later [usually] than when those events occurred by people who were not present.
Once this concept is understood, it becomes automatic and easy.