Another question for Lindsey and other genealogy people

Alisande

I'm still posting gravestone photos I took on Saturday for FindAGrave, and I always try to link children to their parents. I've linked two sons (Richard Edward, 23, and Walter Edwin, 24) to Margaret Collins O'Reilly (d. 30 June 1910 at age 76) and her husband, William O'Reilly (1828-1890), but another stone is engraved with the names of four younger O'Reilly children without mentioning the parents. This is a small cemetery, and I haven't found any other O'Reilly family members so far.

The oldest of the younger children was Matthew, who died in 1884 at age 6. The inscription reads:

Good little Mattie,
Our dearly loved son
Lately has left us
To Heaven is gone
But we are to meet him
Before very long.

Lewis lived two days in June, 1873; James lived one day in March, 1855; and Margaret died two days after her first birthday in September, 1854. This is sad work sometimes.

I'm wondering if perhaps the parents, Margaret and William, appear in Ancestry somewhere, and you can tell me if all the children were theirs. I would love to link them. But if I remember correctly, deceased children are sometimes left off family trees because they have no descendants. So maybe this is an impossible request.

In any case, thanks!

Meant to mention the mother was born in Ireland, and all were buried in northeast Pennsylvania.

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Hot Rod

All the children you listed are linked to Margaret's and William's family tree on ONE tree I found on Ancestry.


There are also many other children listed.

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Alisande

Thank you, Hot Rod! Does that mean Margaret and William were their parents? I'm assuming they were.

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Lindsey_CA

I wasn't checking Kitchen Table much yesterday, so I'm just now seeing this (10:45 a.m. PT).

But, for what it's worth, I always put deceased children as members of a family, both in my Family Tree Maker software as well as in my online tree on Ancestry.com.

Unfortunately in Pennsylvania, statewide record keeping of births and deaths didn't begin until 1906. But births (as well as deaths) were often reported in the newspapers, so Newspapers.com and GenealogyBank.com are helpful with finding those mentions.

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maifleur01

I have found disconcerting the trend to not placing an obituary so that future genealogists and historians will be unable to trace exactly where a person died. I realize there are causes for this along with people simply do not read the paper any longer. The other day I went to look up a death on the Social Security Death Index and could not find the actual Social Security site but had to go through various paid areas. With all of the paid areas for an amateur simply looking up family history I could spend a fortune on annual fees.

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Elmer J Fudd

maifleur, your experiences and those of others may differ from mine, but I find that an interest in "family history" and ancestry seems to be waning. If the people I know in my generation and those in my kids' generation are any indication, this may be a pastime or interest that while never large may still be quite smaller in a decade or two. The US has had such a high rate of immigration in recent years that a large and growing percentage of today's residents may represent the earliest reachable point of a family's accessible ancestry information rather than a midpoint.

I say waning in our society for all but members of the Mormon faith. Their interest in past ancestral records and the accumulation thereof isn't done as an activity for civic benefit but rather for doctrinal reasons of the faith. Look it up if it's something you may not know about.

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Lindsey_CA

maifleur01 -- the "problem" with the Social Security Death Index is that not everyone is on it. A person's information is added only if there has been a claim made against the account. Social Security pays out a nominal death benefit to the survivors, to aid in funeral/burial expenses. If no claim for that is made, or no claim for survivor's benefits, the deceased isn't put onto the SS Death Index. My mother isn't on it. My father is, as is my brother.

Contrary to what Elmer believes, I think there is plenty of interest in genealogy these days. Most of our nieces and nephews have had assignments in school where they had to create a family tree. My 10-year-old grand-niece had to do one this past school year. And Ancestry.com has records from all over the world. Granted, you have to have the all-access membership to be able to view records from other countries, but they are there (and I do have an all-access membership). Additionally, the FamilySearch.com website (LDS) is totally free to use. You do have to create an account with a username and password, but other than that there is no payment required. They have worldwide records. Some of the images can only be viewed at a Family History Center, but there is bound to be one near you.

My current frustration with obituaries is not including information as to at least the age of the person (having the entire birth date is rare), as well as the names of the parents.

But, I do have 14,017 people on the tree so far, so I'm not altogether unsuccessful. :-)

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maifleur01

Lindsey apparently you are finding it different than what I have found with my parents and others. No claim was made for death benefits and both appear on the Index. It may have changed since they died. Dad was in 1992 when you had to ask for the death benefit. Mom had died previous to him. I do not know if he applied for a death benefit but I know I did not for him. The funeral homes in this area send the information to SS. The death benefit may now be automatic but when I went to apply for the increased spousal benefit I had to sign documentation requesting the death benefit.

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Elmer J Fudd

lindsey, do you think if your niece got an assignment to write about George Washington that means she's interested in George Washington? Of course not, it's just an assignment.

A typical assignment for students for a first essay or 5 minute speech is "Tell me about yourself". That's not unlike "do your family tree", it's something that if not familiar can be put together in some form with little effort. However, I can see that a family tree assignment may be ill-advised. Perhaps seen as controversial/inappropriate by some families because for many kids such information is very personal and can be unusual, embarrassing, or at least unconventional. Even unknown. My kids never had such an assignment in all their years of school.

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maifleur01

Elmer as usual your experiences are different from many. One of the things that I have found interesting in connecting to people who are looking is that the interest in genealogy normally skips a generation unless there is a strong basis for a family for several in a generation to look for information. Some families it is almost a contest as to who finds the most information. For many it starts with wanting to find out where grand parents and great grandparents looked like and lived when cleaning out a relatives stuff. The recent tv and other media shows about tracing family history has also peaked peoples curiosity.

I have not made a count of how many I have in my family tree but since part of it goes back to the 1400's the number with added children etc. should be large. My aunt Thelma went back even further and took several trips to Europe to flesh hers out.

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Lindsey_CA

Geez, Elmer, do everyone a favor and quit responding to things I write.

Of course, I don't think that just because a student is given an assignment on a subject that it means the student is interested in that subject. What apparently I failed to say is that, at least with respect to our nieces/nephews, that having been given the assignment to do a family tree, that they ALL became interested in family history/genealogy.

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Alisande

If the people I know in my generation and those in my kids' generation are any indication, this may be a pastime or interest that while never large may still be quite smaller in a decade or two.

Elmer, that sounds like a mighty small sample. Too small to base anything on. And I wouldn't even count those in your kids' generation. I would guess most of the time people don't become interested in genealogy until they're older. If anything, I think interest in genealogy is growing. Just look at the websites that have sprung up.

In almost 11 years of volunteering as a gravestone photographer (a seasonal activity for me) I've taken 3,900 photographs. That is a drop in the bucket compared to some of the other FindAGrave contributors. When I post a memorial it is assigned a number. The numbers are up to nine digits now. Posting a memorial takes only a few minutes, even with the addition of photos, but when I go directly to posting another one I see the new number represents an increase of hundreds. In those few minutes, hundreds of people have posted other memorials. No, I don't think interest is waning.

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Elmer J Fudd

Alisande, the fact that it's something you do is a sample size of one. You're involved with a group so involved, is that a general sample of your community or people you know?

If I were in a Civil War re-enactment group I could say "all of my friends are Civil War reenactors, there are thousands across the US", wouldn't it be valid for someone to say in response "I know no one who does that"?

Aside from a few Mormon friends, family research seems to be an activity that's declining in popularity, based on people I know. That's all. For those whose experience is different, great!

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grapefruit1_ar

For the past 13 years I have been a volunteer at our county historical society. There are several of us who do genealogy research for people who visit our site as well as for those who choose to mail in their requests. Ancestry and TV shows have caused a surge of interest. By far most of our " clients" are older people.

We spend countless hours helping people disprove what they have found on Ancestry, We encourage younger people to record family info that can be obtained from their surviving family members. These are the folks who KNOW who their aunts/uncles were, etc, It is a simple task that can prove so valuable to future generations. Plus, it is a mystery that you are part of.

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Sammy

To answer your original question about whether or not you should link the memorials of the four children to those of Margaret and William, I say, as in every other circumstance, follow the FAG guidelines; they’re pretty explicit. In other words, unless you have unequivocal proof (and a family tree from Ancestry—or any other site—is not proof!) that the children were born to Margaret and William, don’t link them. Believe me, as a fellow FAG contributor, I know it’s hard not to “reunite” the children with the people you’re 99.9% sure are their family, but you have to remember what the purpose of FAG is, and that is to record the information found on graves, and nothing more.

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