Episode 407 - DNA Plus Records = Amazement! Plus, Turning An Heirloom Into A Local ResourceJan 24, 2022
Host Scott Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. David kicks things off talking about how he has identified, through DNA, the source of Native American ancestry on his wife’s side of the family. Fisher then shares the joy of finding a hoard of new newspaper stories on an ancestor, and receiving TWO Priority Mail packs from cousins on both sides of the family on the same day. They passed along old family Bible pages, photos, and other family gems. In Family Histoire News, David tells us about a letter that was just a little behind schedule in delivering. Like 76 years! Then he tells us about a formerly enslaved man who may have been the prototype for the Lone Ranger.
Next, Fisher visits with Jen Sansbury from sponsor Legacy Tree Genealogists. Jen pulled off quite a breakthrough on behalf a client using DNA as well as her knowledge of records and customs in several countries.
Then, Sarah Hermans talks with Fisher about a quilt she inherited. Stitched together in 1903, there are well over 200 names on it. She has now come out with a book that will be of great interest for people in the area of Dutchess County, New York as she has researched all the names, even creating trees showing how all these people tie together. It’s a great example of turning something like this into an awesome local resource.
David then returns to help Fisher with Ask Us Anything!
That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 407
Fisher: And hello America and welcome to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree, and watch the nuts fall out. Who do we have as guests today? Jen Sansbury is going to be on from Legacy Tree Genealogists. She is a DNA specialist there working with our good friend Paul Woodbury. She’s got a great DNA story for you that will really show you the importance of working the records with your DNA samples. It’s great stuff. And then later in the show Sarah Hermans is going to be on. We’ve had her on before, but she’s written a book for a very local area, Dutchess County, New York. It’s called the 1903 Jackson Corner’s Signature Quilt. It came to her family from 1903 and she’s gone through and researched all the names on all the little squares in the quilt, all these people who were living in the area at the time. Did a little research on each of over 200 people, and put in a little family tree for each as well. So, it gives you a great example of what you can do locally with something that might come into you possession. She does a great job explaining the whole thing. That will be later on in the show. Hey, if you haven’t signed up for our Weekly Genie Newsletter yet, I’d like to invite you to do so. Just go to ExtremeGenes.com or our Facebook page, it’s free, and you can sign up for our DNA course or a course in basic genealogy. Right now it’s time to head out to Boston, Massachusetts. David Allen Lambert is standing by, the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org. Hi Dave! How’re doing?
David: I’m doing DNA delightful.
Fisher: What do you mean by that?
David: Well, I had a little bit of free time over the weekend and I decided that I would try to figure out how my wife’s 1% Native American fit into the rest of her matches on Ancestry.com and of course we know there are thousands of matches on Ancestry.
Fisher: Sure. Yeah.
David: Well, I triangulated that the 1% probably comes from about her 5th great grandparents.
David: The matches that also have 1% Native American are either from the same 4th great grandparent or the brother of that 4th great grandparent.
David: There are only three children that are known to be had from this couple that John Eagles and his wife Laurine, no maiden name, that were in Horton, Nova Scotia. So, we’re pretty certain now that either John or his wife are the children of a Native American, or have at least one parent that’s Native American, and that would make my wife and my children part Miꞌkmaq Indian.
Fisher: That is fascinating! Well done. So my question is, are any of these people on your family tree, do you know where they fit in?
David: Oh, yeah. There’s matches that actually fit in. I mean earlier generations of course.
David: But now that I have them there, they are my new best friends.
David: Because I’m going to ask them about oral tradition in the family.
Fisher: Right. Of course.
David: Because somebody may have the trickle down out of about a dozen matches, somebody may know a story.
David: But I did not win the genealogical lottery this week. We talked earlier and it sounds like you did. And you’re probably going to get it through your mailman tonight.
Fisher: My gosh, I tell you the last week has been insane. First of all, I did a little more research on my New York fireman because you know, you get onto a guy and even though you think you’ve kind of run out of string, you want to take one more peek. And I started finding a mention of Andrew Fisher in a Brooklyn newspaper. He’s not from Brooklyn but he was in a bowling club.
Fisher: But this newspaper covered the bowling club based in New York at 54 Ludlow Street. Well, my great grandfather in 1879 in the year of this article lived at 55 Ludlow Street.
Fisher: So I started researching and then I found this, “The XX Social Club… I think it had a different meaning back then…
Fisher: … held one of its interesting meetings at 54 Ludlow Street on Wednesday and bowled to their heart’s content. The pleasures of the evening were greatly enhanced on discovering that Andy Fisher had a birthday and it occurred on the above night.” And so they started on about the party they had. Well, this was from a January 9th newspaper, and my great grandfather’s birthday is January 8th.
Fisher: So it all fit together and I found that his wife Jenny, my great grandmother, belonged to a ladies version of the league. So this went on and on and on, found out that he made a great clam chowder.
David: Do you make a great clam chowder?
Fisher: No, but I was a bowler and he and I had about the same average. [Laughs]
David: There you go.
Fisher: And then today I got two priority packages from cousins on both sides of my family, including family bible pages from one side with a tin type and some other stuff there, then on the other side my uncle’s photo album from the 19-teens, 20s and 30s.
Fisher: So I am just buried in things to sort through and scan and I can hardly take a breath. It was a great week. What a start to the New Year.
David: I think that one’s going to be hard to beat for the rest for the year, but I hope that we both have similar findings. Well you know, speaking of things coming through the mail, the first thing I want to share with our listeners is a story of a letter that arrived 76 years later. A 22 year old army sergeant from World War II, John Gonsalves had sent this letter from Germany to his mother in 1945. Well, it ended up being discovered in 2020 and was delivered to his widow. John died in 2015. He died at the age of 92. But his wife, that he was probably not married to during the war, received the letter.
David: It’s amazing. It really is. And it just goes to show you that it doesn’t matter when it arrives, it’s just a matter that it does. How amazing is that? It’s like getting a letter from the past.
Fisher: Right. No question.
David: Well, you know, speaking of the past, we all probably remember Clayton Moore who played the Lone Ranger, or maybe if you’re a younger generation you can start on reruns on YouTube. Well, there actually may be someone who is the prototype of the real lone ranger. And this gentleman’s name was Bass Reeves. He actually was a former enslaved individual as a deputy sheriff in the old west, and he was well known for being hard on the gun slingers. So hey, lone ranger fans, we may now know the story of the masked man. Maybe he didn’t have a mask after all. Just the story has been masked. Well, if you’re not a member of American Ancestors, I’d love you to be one. And you can go to AmericanAncestors.org and use the coupon code EXTREME and save $20 on the membership. Talk to you soon.
Fisher: All right David. Thank you so much. Yes, Ask Us Anything at the back-end of the show. And coming up next, we’re going to talk to a DNA specialist from our sponsors over at Legacy Tree Genealogists, Jen Sansbury, to tell you a story she solved using the records and DNA and how it all came together. You’ll enjoy it, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes. America’s Family History Show.
Segment 2 Episode 407
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jen Sansbury
Fisher: And welcome back genies to America’s Family History Show Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth and I’m always so excited to start talking DNA in a new year because there’s so many stories to collect and maybe some new breakthroughs to come down the line. And we’ve got Jen Sansbury on the line right now. She’s part of the DNA team over at our sponsors at Legacy Tree Genealogists based out of Houston. And Jen, it’s great to have you on the line once again. Tell us about this case you’ve been working on out of Detroit. It sounds pretty interesting because you’ve actually had two mysteries to deal with, with this client.
Jen: I did. It was very exciting. In the first project that I did, I solved this client’s biological father. She was raised by her grandmother and she grew up thinking that her mother was her sister.
Jen: And she did not know who her father was. So, when I started looking at her DNA, her father’s side was Eastern European, mother’s side had some Scottish and French-Canadian and other things so they were pretty easy to separate.
Jen: And I was able to figure out who her biological father was.
Fisher: Nice start.
Jen: Yes. Yes. That was exciting. It’s always good when we can solve one in the time we’re given.
Jen: But it doesn’t always happen. [Laughs] So, I had a little time left and I knew she had this other mystery so I started looking at trying to just document where her mother was. And I was frustrated because I could not find her mother in the censuses. In 1930 she should have been a baby, and in 1940 an adolescent. I had found a 1940 entry for someone with the right first name and a different last name. And it was interesting because I could tell in the record view on Ancestry that a user had entered a correction for her last name, and changed her relationship from lodger, to foster child. And the last name the user had put on there was similar to the step-father’s.
Jen: So, it was intriguing but it wasn’t jumping into the research goal, I wasn’t sure it was the right person, and I had to wrap up that project.
Fisher: Sure, of course.
Jen: So, I was very excited when the client reordered a second project and wanted us to find her mother’s biological father.
Fisher: Wow! Boy, a lot of mysteries in this case.
Jen: Yes. [Laughs] And it was good to have that background already so I could kind of jump back in. I was already familiar with some of the matches and that sort of thing. So, I’m going to call her mother “Donna” and she was born in the Detroit area. The client had a close match on My Heritage, it was from Scotland, named Elizabeth. And she was either a first cousin once removed, or a second cousin. I used that match and several others to identify likely common ancestors. But I couldn’t find any bio-dad candidates who made sense, either by relationship or by location. Because her family was in Scotland, I was looking for someone in Detroit.
Fisher: I mean, you’d got space, you’ve got different cultures, different record sets, all kinds of things but you do have DNA.
Jen: Yes. [Laughs] I do have DNA and also there were these little clues along the way.
Jen: So, I realized that one of the client’s ancestral surnames that I found in Scotland was the same surname as the family who had a foster child named Donna in the 1940 census.
Jen: [Laughs] I know. I was so excited. I thought I had found the right trail and thinking that she had been sent to live with some paternal relatives. So I started chasing that line back and it went to Canada, and the folks there were Scottish. But then I went back another generation and the family was there for several generations and I wasn’t getting back to Scotland quickly enough to make sense what a great match we had to Elizabeth.
Fisher: Ugh, don’t you hate that? You think you got the cat by the tail and then it’s the wrong cat.
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]
Jen: Exactly. I mean, I was just really puzzled. So, I had to take a step back and reevaluate everything because I was pretty certain I was looking for an uncle of this match of My Heritage, Elizabeth. So I found Elizabeth’s grandparents a a young couple in the 1911 census in Scotland. They were in their 20s and I realized that the document indicated that her grandmother had three children, two of whom were living. But there was only one child in the household and that was a boy named David who was Elizabeth’s father. So, I was putting that together and I realized that David was also the maternal grandfather’s name, which suggests that the family might be following traditional Scottish naming patterns.
Fisher: Right. Yeah.
Jen: So if that were the case, the first son should have been named after his father’s father, which would be George rather than David.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Jen: So, I kept looking and just kind of surmising that there was a person out there named George who belonged to this family. [Laughs] And I found a birth record for an illegitimate George with a different last name born in the right place around the right time. And I had run across this record before but hadn’t looked at it closely enough to notice that there was a second page attached. The second page had a note explaining George had later been legitimized by the subsequent marriage of his parents and they named his father.
Fisher: You know this is a thing too for people who are getting into DNA, listen what Jen’s doing here. She’s working not only with the spit kit, she’s also going into the records and using her knowledge of how things are supposed to work with naming patterns and other records. DNA alone really doesn’t do a whole lot other than maybe tell you what part of the world you come from. But boy, when you tie it to the records, there’s power there.
Jen: Yes. And you’d have to find a way to marry them together. If the documents don’t match up with the DNA, then you have not solved it yet.
Jen: So I was really excite. So, I found George. And I knew he was a real person. And he seemed to be alive.
Fisher: Always helpful.
Jen: Yes. [Laughs] I started looking through my records about him and I found him at a Canada-US border crossing at the border from Detroit to Ontario.
Fisher: Oh, perfect.
Jen: So, he was in the right place. In the document you had to put the name a closes relative, and he had his father’s name and an address in Detroit. So I thought okay, this is interesting because now I had no idea based on the Scottish records I had looked at that they had ever been in America.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Jen: It turns out he and his parents and a brother had immigrated, and the brother who was Elizabeth’s father had immigrated to the United States. And that wasn’t the exciting part yet because I found George enumerated in the 1930 census living with a woman who was the right age to be the client’s grandmother. She was actually married to someone else at the time so she gave the enumerator a false name.
Fisher: Oh boy. [Laughs]
Jen: [Laughs] She was listed as George’s wife, although she wasn’t, using his last name, and the first name of a daughter she had who died a few years before.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Jen: And so I had done enough work on her that I recognized that name when I saw it in the census. And then also in that household was an infant named Donna, who was exactly the right age to be the client’s mother.
Fisher: Oh, wow! Wow! That’s a lot of work.
Jen: It was.
Fisher: That’s like a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, right? [Laughs]
Jen: It was. I mean, it had me jumping out of my seat. [Laughs] I was so excited to find them.
Fisher: You know, we hear about all the secrets that are unveiled by DNA kits among the living, but look how many secrets among the dead we’re able to pull out.
Fisher: And they’re just amazing because to me, when I find something like that it’s like wow, I’m the first person on the planet in a century or more, two centuries, to know this secret, or to know what actually happened.
Jen: It’s really interesting because people think that their secrets go with them. [Laughs]
Fisher: Oh, many do. Many do. But these kinds of things now have a way, don’t they?
Jen: And DNA is a big help with that.
Jen: So, ultimately, George and his brother and his parents all moved back to Scotland, and he later remarried and Donna’s mother divorced the person she was married to and was happily remarried, and the client was raised by those grandparents and never knew any of that history.
Fisher: No, I wouldn’t think she would. I mean, there’s too many moving parts for her to know, yet alone understand it.
Jen: I really would love to know more about what was happening.
Fisher: Um hmm.
Jen: You know that there’s so much more to this story that you can uncover just in these documents.
Jen: But at least put the people together and the skeleton of that back story that she didn’t know.
Fisher: Yeah, that’s extensive work. Did you do just genealogical work before you became a DNA specialist at Legacy Tree?
Jen: Yeah. I was doing the typical mostly working on my own thing, helping other friends and cousins who had mysteriously popped up in my match list and all of that. But my first life was as a newspaper reporter, which I went into because I wanted to be Nancy Drew.
Jen: And so this has kind of been a continuation of that so now I get to continue being a detective and solving mysteries, just in a different way.
Fisher: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, it’s interesting because some people come into DNA from the scientific side, right, they get a degree in science or something and they want to do that. But those who are genealogists who come into DNA have such an advantage over the scientists I think. And look at the things you were able to put together as a result of all these records.
Jen: Yes. It’s amazing. Really the reason why I got into DNA is because I have my own family mystery and hoping to solve one day.
Fisher: Really? Okay.
Jen: But I haven’t gotten there yet.
Fisher: That sounds like an entire other segment there.
Fisher: [Laughs] She’s Jen Sansbury. She’s from Legacy Tree Genealogists, our great sponsor. She’s on the DNA team over there. Thank you so much Jen really fascinating story. I always love hearing these things because there’s always something to learn from them that you might know. And in your case, you talked about the traditional Scottish naming patterns, told you something that was absolutely critical for you when you were trying to put together this linage.
Jen: Um hmm. And also to make sure you’re attention to those correction and revisions and things whether they’re user submitted or any official documents. Those provide important clues too.
Fisher: Um hmm. Isn’t it great that so many people add so much stuff online to help us through?
Fisher: All right. Thanks Jen for coming on. We’ll talk to you again somewhere down the line.
Jen: Thank you so much for having me.
Fisher: And coming up, we’ll talk to a woman who is heir to a quilt and made something fantastic out of it for her entire region. You’re going to want to hear the story from Sarah Hermans coming up in five minutes when we return on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 3 Episode 407
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Sarah Hermans
Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. So thrilled once again to have my good friend Sarah Hermans back on the phone from Dutchess County, New York. Sarah, welcome to the show! It’s great to see your new book. You are still at it.
Sarah: I am still at it. Thanks for having me on, Fisher.
Fisher: And you know, this is not a book that is necessarily going to be of interest to people across the country, but it’s an amazing example of somebody taking on something local and creating this incredible resource around this item and let’s just start talking about the quilt, Sarah, how you got it, what it is and what caused you to start researching the names that were on it?
Sarah: Sure. The 1903 Jackson Corners Signature Quilt, also the name of the book, was handed down to me through my family. My cousin Judy who is in my Herman’s line sent it in the mail to my dad and said, hey, I think Sarah might be interested in this. And obviously yes, I was big into family history and I get this thing with names on it that came through the family. It’s this series of linen squares with embroidered names on it. There’s no provenance other than it came through the family and I recognized a lot of the names as being local and also being cousins and such. I was just fascinated by it and I said, I need to know who these people are.
Sarah: The date 1903 was on it, so that was really the only thing I had going, it’s local and it came through the family, and it’s from 1903. I had nothing else.
Fisher: Perfect. And so you wanted to start figuring out the names there. When did you get this, by the way?
Fisher: Okay. So right in the digital era where you could start actually putting all this together easily.
Sarah: Absolutely. And fortunately also what we used to talk about before, when I was in the DAR and I was already doing research for people’s applications and researching other people’s families, so I said, oh, there’s a bunch of other families on this. I know how to do this.
Fisher: [Laughs] Right.
Sarah: I already have the tools kind of in the belt to start doing it. But then there’s just so much more to it than that obviously. But I said, ooh, yeah, this is something I can do because I know how to do this.
Fisher: So, how many names are on the quilt?
Sarah: And that’s appearances, some of them are duplicated.
Fisher: Okay, right, 260 appearances and then how many people?
Sarah: Oh, I don’t actually remember.
Sarah: [Laughs] Some of them are duplicated but not that many.
Fisher: A lot.
Sarah: Yeah, not enough to make that number less impressive.
Fisher: Right. But obviously, it’s going to be an enormous amount of research to track down something about all of these people, even if it just moves it down to 220.
Fisher: So, you started this research project right when you got this and now you’ve come out with the book. So, basically, it was ten years of research in your spare time.
Sarah: On and off yeah. There were definitely times when I had to put it aside, especially when DAR was consuming most of my life. I didn’t do a lot of it, but yeah, on and off for 10 years.
Fisher: So, what were some of the most interesting people that you found on this quilt, on these various squares? Because I noticed in the book it’s fabulous because you’ve gone through and broken down each little square on the quilt.
Sarah: Yeah. They’re all local people. They’re mostly farmers, but I found that there’s a white gamut of class. So, you have some who are just plain poor farmer types, some who are higher in the community, some who are religious figures in the community and they have tethers all between each other, including some family trees so you can tell whose tethered to who.
Sarah: Some of the most interesting stories, Lamuel Jackson is one of my favorite ones. He’s just labeled L. Jackson and it was a long time before I realized he’s the only person of color on the quilt. I think his story was incredibly satisfying.
Fisher: I bet it was, absolutely. And you mentioned the trees you put on there. You created like three or four generations on each of these people.
Fisher: And I noticed with these trees, sometimes they come down to many different signers on there who were related through marriage, sometimes there were cousins, just really interesting and some of those trees will go back from 1903 to the late 18th century.
Sarah: Yeah. All these families stuck around here for a long time. There were a lot of German immigrants that came in the middle of the 19th century, but a lot of them are old Dutch and palatine Hudson Valley names that were here for a long, long time.
Fisher: Yeah, absolutely. So, at what point did you take this and say, okay, I’m going to do a book and share this with the entire valley based on this quilt that’s been in my family for over 110 years?
Sarah: I think it was probably once I realized I’ve done an awful lot of work on this.
Sarah: This has been a lot of my time. I think maybe I should make something of this. And in talking to other people about it, they said, oh, what are you working on right now? I’d say, oh, just this silly thing. It’s nothing. And go like, oh, maybe you should make a book out of that. Oh, okay. And then I said, maybe I should do actual research on history as well as genealogy which is our bread and butter. We love that stuff. But the actual history of what that era was like was significantly more challenging to do but entirely satisfying in its own way.
Fisher: You have used the quilt to bring back the history of the time and place and all the names, and then include the family trees. You have a great index. Without an index it’s a mess. It’s a fine index and it starts out on page 337 to give everybody an idea of how extensive a work this is and you’re selling it locally obviously within Dutchess County, New York, which is great.
Fisher: Well, it brings to mind to me that there are so many things out there that people can do. What comes to your mind in terms of if somebody had a quilt for instance, they wanted to do a similar project on a quilt that they have out in Illinois or somewhere in the west. What would you suggest they do? What databases might they use to start researching what they’ve got?
Sarah: The first one you hit is the big one, Ancestry, for your census. If you know what era your quilt was made in hit the census for your area. Do you find those names repeating in the time that you’re looking at? That’s very key. If you aren’t familiar with what time it is, maybe start with looking online is not as helpful, but looking at books about signature quilt will help you date the quilt and help you find out what time you’re looking for, then you can hit the census.
Fisher: Really, you can date a quilt without a date being on there?
Sarah: Oh, not like pinpoint but you can tell maybe what decade it’s in instead of looking in a haystack and going, oh, I’m not sure, it might be between 1850 and 1930. Maybe narrow it down a little bit.
Fisher: Yeah. Well, I would think you could identify, okay, in what year were all of these people alive? And this person died by this time. This person died by that time. Then yeah, you could get down to that time. Then, you start having a time capsule there really of that era where you can do a little bit more history on that.
Sarah: Yeah, then that will help you find what databases you’re looking for. Like if you know there’s going to be a place where you can find records from era then you can say, okay, I can find it there. With the newspaper archives online, especially the nationals like Newspapers.com. And a lot of local places have their own places here in the Hudson Valley and beyond. Now, we have Old Fulton Postcards.
Fisher: Oh, the best!
Sarah: I’m sure everybody in their senior year is like, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sarah: Man, is that place priceless, when it’s up it’s really good. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Although, it’s challenging to search.
Sarah: It is! I have written primers on how to search that thing for people in my local area because it is tough. FindAGrave, another one, it is great for leads. It’s great for information. Like people will create obituaries on there and sometimes that is the only thing you’ll find on some people.
Fisher: So, you started with a genealogy from the names on the quilt and you had the date which is very helpful and then you created the history around the date, and then you took these names and you made these trees. It must have been fascinating for you to go back on one name, find an ancestor, go back on another name and find an ancestor. And goo, wait a minute, I’ve seen that before.
Fisher: And then have to check the other ones to pull down and say, wait a minute, oh they’re all related. Oh, this is a cousin, or this has some other relationship, right, that had to be how you did it?
Sarah: Yeah. And fortunately, being someone who has been in this area for a long time and is related to a lot of these folks, it’s completely unsurprising to me when I find that, oh, these Bathmeres and Skillmers are related, go figure. In my mind I’m like, I think I remember that person being in that family. It’s not surprising at all.
Fisher: Did you ever figure out why this quilt wound up in your family? I mean, all these people did this thing and then it winds up going to you.
Sarah: Yes. One day, I think I entered my second great grandfather’s name in Old Fulton, something like that, and I found a newspaper article about when the quilt was auctioned off.
Fisher: Oh, wow! [Laughs]
Sarah: It’s like, okay, [Laughs] there it is. And I had struggled going, oh, it might be for the grange, it might for this, I kind of thought maybe it was for fundraiser purposes, but no idea. And there it is, it’s for the Methodists minister’s salary.
Fisher: Wow! Well, that’s a great project and I love the fact that it’s local. And Sarah, as always, you’re always up to something incredibly interesting and thanks for your time and coming on and explaining this whole thing, maybe we’ve inspired somebody else.
Fisher: All right Sarah thanks so much. And coming up next, David Allen Lambert returns as we do another round of Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 407
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, time to answer your questions! It’s Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fish over here, David Lambert is back over there from Boston. And David, this question comes from Kurt in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Kurt says, "Guys, I've been struggling to find an ancestor who we all knew as Vinnie. He doesn't show up anywhere, even as Vincent. What am I missing?" That is a good question. And you know, there are nicknames that actually refer to names other than what you think they might be.
David: Oh yeah, there definitely are.
Fisher: I mean, you go through this list. For instance, we've all seen the movies about the British kings and they called one of them Berty.
David: Um hmm.
Fisher: Well, that's because his name was Albert. Albert, Berty, meant Albert. He wasn't Bertram, you know.
Fisher: But Berty could have been a nickname for that as well. And boy, you go through the list it’s amazing what some of the nicknames are and what they go back to. You never would have guessed their real names.
David: I mean, my father always went by Bud Lambert, but he was little Buddy, because his father also had George in his name, so he was known as Buddy, not George. [Laughs] Well, George officially, that's it.
Fisher: And speaking of Kurt's ancestor here, I'm looking at a list right now Vinnie could actually refer to Calvin. Cal or Vin or Vinnie. And if you start looking for Calvin so and so, you might find who you're looking for. Of course there are better ways to look than just by the name. You can search by the last name only, with a certain wife, certain age, certain place and put it all together that way. But this is really interesting when you start to go through the list. And they are online right now. There are sites all over the place that can give you nicknames for men for male names.
David: Well, you know, it’s funny you mention that, because my late cousin, we always called him Vinnie, but that was his middle name, Vincent. His first name was Brian. And my grandfather, well the elusive bootlegger, well, it depends what day of the week he was James, he was Albert. He was George, because those were all three of his given names legally. So, you might find that maybe who you always thought was your ancestor's first name may have been his middle name.
Fisher: That's a really good thought. And that's true. In fact, if you look at a lot of old bible records, sometimes you'll see a lot of people go by their middle name. I do, because we didn't need two Williams, two Billys in the household when I was growing up, so I go by Scott, which is my middle name. Hey, I just found another Vinnie here, Elvin. So, Elvin could be, and Alwin and Alwyn with a Y. So it could be Al, Vin, Vinnie or Wyn.
David: It sounds like you've fallen down the genealogical first name rabbit hole, my friend.
Fisher: [Laughs] You may be right. So there are a lot of ways to look into this. I'm going through this whole list, its lengthy. How about for Ignatius, they might call him Nate! And I would have thought Nathan, wouldn't you?
David: I would call, find me a way to change my first name.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, and the other one, too, you know, some people are called Jack, some men, but that's usually a nickname for John.
David: That is very true. Then the other thing is like, last names. Sometimes people go by their last name, Mr. Fisher.
Fisher: Yeah, they call me Fish.
David: That's right. And when I was a kid, I was Lambchops in high school.
David: I guess I was a cute little thing on somebody's hand as a puppet. But you just, Lambert and Lambchops kind of go hand in hand, and needless to say, it didn't get carried on into adulthood. So if anybody at a conference calls me Lambchops, I will ignore you.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, look at Santa Clause, right?
David: That's true.
Fisher: Not many people realize that Clause is short for Nicholas. Saint is Santa, Nicholas is Clause.
David: Very clever, very clever.
Fisher: I revealed the secret of Santa Clause. [Gasp] Big trouble there.
David: You’ve ruined it for me. [Laughs]
David: The magic is gone.
Fisher: Absolutely. So, that is a great question. Thank you so much for it, Kurt and hope that helps out for you. But like I say, there are better ways to research than worrying about what the first name is. You should be able to crack this. So, good luck to you there. And we've got another one coming up for you here in just a couple of moments, Dave. I think this may have your name written all over it, when we return in three minutes on Ask Us Anything, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 407
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Fisher: All right, time for our final segment and our final question on Ask Us Anything on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. David, this is from Jan Haskell. It doesn’t say where she's from, but she says, "David and Fish, my grandfather was said to have been a boy scout and was very into it. Is there anything I can research about this time in his life?"
Fisher: Good question. I've never done that before.
David: Well, I mean, I had scouting in my background and I stop and think of what I have that my kids will have left over. And you know, we have my mother's old cedar chest and I believe that I have my uniform. I probably have one of my scouting books and some of the, you know, the cards you used to get for different badges. Maybe the kerchief bolo that I had, maybe that will survive. As far as records, newspapers, that's the first thing that comes to my mind, that I was in parades as, you know, a cub scout and a Webelos and a boy scout and that might show up or pictures. And this is where the FAN approach, Family, Associates and Neighbors comes in, because maybe you have the person in your family who took a lot of pictures or home movies and where are they now? And going back even generations, historical societies might have those.
Fisher: That's true.
David: And identified.
Fisher: And you aware of BSA having any of these old records?
David: Well, you know, they really have an interesting museum and its out in Philmont, New Mexico, which is where they scouting museum is, it’s called the National Scouting Museum and it’s in Philmont, New Mexico and they are starting to collect things. And the problem is, it’s never been really like regional archives, like, you know, say for instance a chapter of the scouts closed, things don't usually get gathered up and have to be turned in for records. And then of course, just like anything else, how long do they keep them for? I mean, I'd love to think that there's a database of everybody who was a scout since 1910. But, if that was out there, I would think someone like Ancestry.com or Family Search would probably already have it on. It probably has names and dates. I know that I probably had to put my birth date down on something. But for the life of me, I think you want to start on a local town level. So, if you're not living in the town where your grandfather or relative was that was in the scouting field, contact the local historical society. And furthermore, look online on Google see if there was a scout unit still in the town. They may still be around. I mean, there have been scout troops that have lasted, you know, decades if not maybe 100 years. It might still have records or an archive. So, there's lots of things, but I would try on a local level first.
Fisher: Well, it might be interesting, too if you could find maybe like you mentioned a newspaper article that mentions the names of other people who were in his unit and then maybe find their grandchildren and see what they might have on that particular unit. They might have something relating to your grandfather there.
David: Well, I always lecture about adopting the regiment. I guess this is called adopting the troop. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] I was a second class scout, that's as far as I got in boy scouts.
David: You'll always be a first class scout to me, friend.
Fisher: Aww, thank you, buddy. But I did have my picture taken on the Sullivan Show Stage as a Cub Scout, and I have a son who's an Eagle Scout and another who made it to Life Scout. But you know the records. Yeah, it’s really kind of a personal thing. I wonder if the organization has kept much of a file on that. Although I think for eagle scouts, they may very well.
David: That's very true.
Fisher: So, interesting to see what goes on there. Great question and kind of a head scratcher. I don't know if we were of much help, Jan, but thanks for it and good luck in your search. And if you have a question for Ask Us Anything, of course it’s easy to get to us, just email us at [email protected]. David, thank you as always, and we'll talk to you again next week.
David: Until then.
Fisher: All right, my friend. Well, that's our show for this week. Thank you so much for joining us. Thanks to Jen Sansbury from Legacy Tree Genealogists, our sponsor for coming on and talking about her amazing DNA discovery on behalf of one of her clients, and Sarah Hermans, talking about her new book, and it gives a great example of what you might be able to do on a local basis. Hey, if you missed any of the show, of course catch the podcast on AppleMedia, iHeart Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, we're all over the place. Talk to you next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!