Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mystery Normans and Source Citations – Part 1

The 2010 GeneaBloggers Games started right after I encountered a “little mystery” in my Norman research (mentioned in the previous Family and Friends Newsletter Friday). Since at the end of each day of the Games I have been and will be claiming a new source citation total for the day (for Event Number One, Cite Your Sources), I got an idea about posting a little bit each day about the mystery and discussing how each source I cite (one per day for this mystery) moves the solution of the mystery along, as well as discussing how the source should be cited and why. This will prove that I am actually doing some source citations and will also enable me to discuss a very complex mystery in “bite-sized” pieces.

The Puzzle Piece

The following appears in Inez Cline’s “Norman Family History” as the information for Dissie Dulcina Norman, oldest child of Newton Leonard Norman and Rebecca Dulcina Weston: “b. Aug. 5, 1891 d. Oct. 9, 1908 m. Jack Norman, son of Jane. Her other son named Moore. No issue.”

This is the only mention I have seen that Dissie was married. No mention is made on other online family trees or on the Findagrave entry for her. Since her last name remained Norman and she died relatively young, it must not have occurred to anyone, especially if they have not seen Cline’s work. So, the question immediately arises: Was this Jack Norman related to Dissie? Norman is a common name, but still, it’s quite a coincidence.


My source for the first day is the one that has turned into the backbone for my Norman research, Inez Cline’s “Norman Family History. “ Immediately below the title and author lines is the following: “(with help of descendants).” While some of the information is based on records research, a good bit has obviously been taken from interviews with Norman family members. The article covers what is known about the life of Joseph Madison Carroll Norman and contains a list with basic dates and information on his descendants. Since it is known that J.M.C. Norman had 26 or 27 children from three wives, that means quite a few descendants, so a lot of work must have gone into getting all the facts and figures as accurate as possible. Cline may have been helped considerably by the fact that for many years the Norman family had an annual (or biannual) reunion on the grounds of a local church in Garland County, Arkansas (my Uncle Billy Jack remembered my grandmother Sallie Norman Brinlee and her sister Mollie Norman Watson attending these reunions).

From what I have been able to find out about the family from other documentary sources (and I had done several months’ worth of research before receiving the “History”), Cline’s “Norman Family History” does well for thoroughness and accuracy. The major exception that I am aware of is for the family of J.M.C. Norman’s son Joseph James Norman; she has only five children listed for him, whereas from numerous sources I know that there were at least 12.

Issues of type of document and provenance: I received two different copies of the “History” from two different Norman cousins. One was a scan and the other was a Word document which appears to be OCR’d from the former. A page is missing from the scan but not from the Word document; however, there appear to be a few name misspellings in the Word document resulting from the OCR process. At first I believed that the document was an unpublished manuscript, but when I noticed that the page numbers went from 61 to 74 I realized that it must have been a published article, so I did a Google search, which revealed that it was published in The Record 1975 of the Garland County Historical Society. Since I have only copies of the article but not the original publication in which it appeared, at this time my information on the article and periodical may be incomplete. For one thing, I do not know whether Cline’s sources were originally included with the article; they do not appear on the copies that I have.

Here is what I am able to put together for my source citation:

Cline, Inez E., “Norman Family History,” The Record 1975, Garland County Historical Society: 61-74.

(I am counting this as a new source citation, because I had been using the author-title shorthand and had not researched the type of document it is. This is therefore a more complete citation, though it will probably have to be amended when I am able to locate a copy of the periodical.)

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