Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I Learned Wednesday: 17 August 2011

Because my Genealogy Organization Frenzy has turned into a Cleaning/Organizing/Giving Away/Throwing Out Frenzy, not much genealogy was done this week.  (Yeah, I know that’s a passive construction. I like the passive. That way I can avoid taking responsibility.)

But I did learn a bit about a few Brinlee families that I am currently working on; in particular, I found the information on the 1920 census for the Burk Frady Smith and Lillie Ann Brinlee Smith to be of interest:

1920 United States Federal Census, Phillips Town, Coal County, Oklahoma, ED 15, p. 5B, 16 Jan 1920

Line 71 17 19

Smith, Birt F. Head M W 44 M Yes Yes TN US US Miner Coal mine OA
........Lillia Ann Wife F W 38 M Yes Yes TX TX TX None
........Roy E. Son M W 21 W Yes Yes OK TX TN Coal mine Cager Em
........Claud T. Son M W 19 W Yes Yes OK TX TN Coal mine Greaser W
........Alta E. Dau F W 14 S Yes Yes Yes OK TX TX None
........Audry E. Dau F W 8 S Yes Yes Yes OK TX TN None
........Allen J. Son M W 6 S Yes Yes Yes ? US TN None

Now, admittedly the census-taker has scrambled several things - he has mixed up the birth states for the parents and is totally confused by the information on Allen, but the marriage status for the two oldest sons, if true, is heart-wrenching: Roy, 21, and Claud, age 19, are both listed as widowers. It seems like a bit too much of a coincidence, especially for men this young, and yet - the Great Influenza Epidemic had been raging for well over a year, and was especially devastating to people of this age. So it could be true. I’ll have to do more research to find out.  (I would also like to know what those notations are in the "Year of immigration..." column.)

The other thing I learned this week?

I’m glad that the only online trees I have are on Ancestry. A few weeks ago I posted a question about sites for online trees; was among those that I was considering using. I think I’ll try doing my own website instead.

There have been many perceptive and even some humorous posts about this development. I loved Dear Myrtle’s wry summary of’s logic(al fallacies) in “Official Response from”


  1. Frenzy! Frenzy! Frenzy! Where would genealogy be without frenzies? How much research would get done without frenzies? How much organization would get done without frenzies? Probably, for some 'type A' genealogists, a lot would get done in an organized, logical way. For many of us, however, logic is the important gap that keeps the frenzies at bay.

  2. I'm glad I created my own website, even without the drama going on now! I was (mildly) burnt a few years back when a site I had my data on changed ownership and I found out some time after the event that they had added my data to another site with different terms and conditions. Fortunately I was able to have my data removed.

  3. For me the frenzy is always worthwhile, for it is in those moments amazing things happen --- lost notes turn up, look a a picture with "new eyes," contemplate a different life (I know the the last one is called "day dreaming." But I like it-- frenzy and day dreaming.

  4. Bart - Well said!

    Shelley - All I have to do is learn how to create my own website.... And, of course, people can copy stuff from websites, but at least they're not taking it and selling it.

    Oh, Joan - that is one of our many connections - I'm a big daydreamer, too!