15 June 2015

Where were you born? 52 Questions W2

This week I will focus on the following question

- Where were you born? 

Good follow-up questions that easily go with this question are:
When were you born?
In a hospital or at home?
How did your family come to live in this place?
Who else in your family was born in the same place?
Did your parents or siblings like to tell any funny or embarrassing baby stories about you?


The second of the big three data points used in Genealogy and Family History. Location is a unique identified for a person and their family. This question goes hand in hand with who am I? In order to learn about our families we need to know where each person was born. Of these big three genealogical questions it is the last one we can answer for ourselves. I have never had a person tell me where they themselves died and were buried.

Place of birth alone with most locations is time dependent. I have ancestors buried Amite (pronounced A-meat), Mississippi. However, when they were born Mississippi was not a state. It was a territory of France before becoming a state. The area in which they were born was slit in half  when the state boundaries were drawn and the family living in the south end of the area found themselves in Louisiana. Throughout the years modern day Greensburg in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana and the surrounding area has been in three different parishes because of new county boundaries.

It is important to document where people were born at the time of their birth. My relatives from the south could have records in several different places. This part of the world was also part of three different countries and two different religious structures. in some instances there could be records of my ancestors in Cuba, France, and Spain.

As the United States pushed further west and my pioneer ancestors settled in Utah, the boundaries here even began to change. Many of my ancestors who were born in Utah were not born in the united states because Utah did not become a state until 1896.

There is software available called AniMap. The FamilySearch Wiki says:
ANIMAP is a software program that shows the county in which a city/town in the United States was located in any specific year. Many cities and towns have been located in more than one county, or even state, at different points in time. It is essential to know the county and state in which a town was located at the time of a birth, marriage or death to know where the record is located. 
I have used AniMap many times in trying to learn about and study the different locations of my ancestors. I first learned about AniMap from Geoff Rasmussen at Legacy Familytree.


A very similar source for information is the Atlas of historical county boundaries. This website is free to use and allows you to find basically the same information but it seems a little easier to use than AniMap. To quote from the website:
A project of the William M. Scholl Center for American History and Culture at The Newberry Library in Chicago, the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries is a powerful historical research and reference tool in electronic form. The Atlas presents in maps and text complete data about the creation and all subsequent changes (dated to the day) in the size, shape, and location of every county in the fifty United States and the District of Columbia. It also includes non-county areas, unsuccessful authorizations for new counties, changes in county names and organization, and the temporary attachments of non-county areas and unorganized counties to fully functioning counties. The principal sources for these data are the most authoritative available: the session laws of the colonies, territories, and states that created and changed the counties.


Another important aspect of where you were born is how did your family get to this place. This key information can lead you to the next branches of your family tree. My grandmother was born in Reno, Nevada. Something that didn't really click with me when I was younger. I always thought she was born and raised in Utah.

Wilberta Annette Merrian Bartholomew (1922-2001)
[My mother looks so much like her it is scary.]
When the 1940 census was finally released I found her at the age of 17 living with her parents Wilbert and Henrietta. She is also enumerated with her younger brother and sister. The thing I found most interesting is that the family had a lodger at the time who was also enumerated with them.

Click to view larger version
If you can tell the name of the 27 year old lodger is Bartholomew, Dale who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yep, that's my grandpa! The cradle robber! This census was enumerated on 19 April 1940 and they were married 3 October 1940.

A. Dale Bartholomew (1913-2002)
Carpenter and fisherman [and cradle robber]

I have a 17 year old daughter at home this year. I made sure we did not take on any lodgers. I think I would of had to by a gun or something if I were Wilbert.


It was a different time. They were married for 61 years and had four children. They died just over a year apart from each other. They were major influences and care givers in my life.  I love and miss them very much.

Feedback - Security and Success?

Well my first posts to my family face book pages were relatively successful. I posted the first question: What is the name you were given at birth? I received four responses. Compared to the one response I got from my initial posts I made that had the whole questionnaire I received 400% more responses.  I am hoping that if I stay consistent that things will grow and others may go back and respond to my previous posts.

I had one cousin that raised a question about privacy concerns. She said;
I don't mind answering your questions related to genealogy however, I'm a bit hesitant to give answers here on Facebook. It just doesn't seem very secure. Some of these questions are similar to those secret security questions for online account validation. So we need a secure way to exchange information and also some reassurance that the data you collect will be kept & used securely too.
It is sad that we live in the world which we do. She is right, much of the data that I am trying to collect from living members of my family is very similar to data that can be used for secret questions for online account validations. I am not sure how to truly get around this issue while trying to use social media to gather information. It is however only an issue when discussing living people. I quickly gave her an option of printing the entire questionnaire and mailing it to me. I also assured her that the information is kept on my private Legacy database and that I will not publish information to the internet.

I do not believe that the questions in themselves are harmful to post to a private group on the Internet. However, when there is a will, there is a way. I am surprised how many full names, birth dates, email addresses, phone numbers, and other private data that is opening shared on Facebook. An accumulation of this information can open yourself to security issues. Please be careful. I have thought about this with regard to my blog and the information I have posted here. We all need to be very careful with information we share about living people.

Let me know what you think about the question of the week. Would you add any information? Are you worried about security issues?