Genealogy Do-Over~Week 8

Week 8: 20 Feb – 26 Feb 2015

* Conducting Collateral Research

What is a collateral line? In genealogy, a collateral line is someone not directly related to you but related to someone in your direct line. For example, my grandfather’s sister, my great-grandmother’s brother, and so on. They are in your ancestral line but not directly related to you. And, boy, can they provide some missing pieces of information! When I first started out delving into my family history with the help of my fabulous late aunt, she tended to focus on our direct line. That’s all she was interested in and, of course, that’s fine. I began noticing the others associated with our direct line and began tracing them back, as well.

Example of an interesting collateral find in my family: My 2nd-great-GF, Dr. Amos Benton Ballard, was married three times. Researchers before me knew about wives #1 and #3, but no one had documented wife #2…until me. It was a short-lived marriage, maybe 2 years in duration, and produced one son. The marriage ended in divorce, and this woman outlived Amos by many years. I found her obituary that listed her as being his widow. They had been divorced for 40+ years! Interesting! She had never remarried or had anymore children.

Another example: I know my 2nd-great-GF Paul Mayer immigrated in April 1859 on the Germania along with an Anton Mayer, born 1837. In doing some digging for Anton, I found an Anton Mayer who resided in Terre Haute, Indiana, who was born in 1842 in Wurttemberg, Germany, and was a brewer, immigrating in June 1858 on the Bavaria. At first, I thought I had found the Anton who immigrated with Paul. Upon further review, I think the Anton in Terre Haute might’ve been a cousin to Paul.  Anton in Terre Haute was quite a figure in the brewing industry and there is quite a bit written about him, including photos and his father’s name, Bartholomew. So, if I can track down Bartholomew Mayer in Wurttemberg, Germany, I might be able to figure out his siblings, one of whom might be Paul’s father. Whew! In older posts here, I’ve written about Paul Mayer and how he was a brewer/tavern owner in Richmond, Indiana. Richmond and Terre Haute are both on the National Road.

UPDATE: I’ve cleaned up my entire RM7 database and since this week was about collateral line research I added the siblings of a number of my direct-line ancestors!

*Reviewing Offline Education Options

It is well known that when doing genealogical research not all of it can be found online. One must actually leave the sanctity of their home and visit courthouses, libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and so forth. The same thing goes for educational opportunities. In a way, I wish I could turn back the clock a few years so that I could go to school just for family history research. At my age now, though, it’s not feasible, which is why I tend to gravitate toward online educational courses. I do attend conferences and lectures when able. I’ve been to FGS in 2013, NGS in 2014, and Midwestern Roots in 2014. I volunteer when able and hit 1-day conferences, too. My goal is to attend an institute eventually. The problem with that is they are usually 1-2 week’s in duration and that means I’d have to go somewhere, away from home, for that time. My husband does not like the idea of that, he doesn’t like the idea of me being out there, all alone. He’s okay with the genealogy stuff mostly (he thinks sometimes I’m more interested in the dead than the living).

I decided to refresh my memory about the BU online course. As it turns out, it’s a 15-week course and requires 4 texts, all of which I already own. The course is $2695, but since I’m a member of NGS I could get a 10% discount. I did some number crunching and if I could manage to save $400/month between now and September, I could sign up for the fall course. It begins 1 Sep and would be complete by the first week of December. I suppose I could take out a loan, but I’d rather pay for it outright than deal with interest, etc. I think I’ll consider this versus ProGen.

UPDATE: A new Do-Over is beginning the day after this one ends, that would be Friday, 3 Apr 2015! For more info, check here! Make sure to read the very first post from Thomas MacEntee; it’s full of all the instructions you need.

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