My Family Tree
Researching my ancestry and family tree has been my most passionate and primary hobby for many years. As a result of having a website since the onset of my research, I’ve dialogued with dozens of distant cousins, and some have even provided me with photographs of my ancestors that my family had never seen. Though I do not descend from anyone that is even close to being remotely famous, it does not change the fact that I find it fascinating to research my family tree. There are “skeletons in the closet” of every family tree, and I’ve learned many interesting, scandalous, and crazy stories about my ancestors and relatives.
Though I am not a professional or certified genealogist, I have diligently learned to apply the same type of recognized principles and standards of proof to my research methods. This page includes information on how to find and access my family tree database, as well as details on the approach and methodologies that I apply in my research. Also listed further below is a personalized list of links to research sources which I regularly utilize or have applied to my research. The photo shown above was sourced here, and is from Neil Bromley, who offers professional calligraphy services and prints for sale.
Family Tree Database
Listed below are links to access and view my family tree database. My chosen methodology for compiling my family tree is using Family Tree Maker (FTM) software, which syncs my tree with the Ancestry website. One clear advantage of the Ancestry website is the ability to link each individual to source records, as well as uploading and sharing countless photos and documents. One major flaw of the Ancestry website is that it does not display any notes (i.e. research notes) from Family Tree Maker, and this is something that I find immensely frustrating as I record extensive chronological research notes for every person in my database. For the purpose of sharing my research notes, I also have my database available on the RootsFinder website, which displayed at the bottom of the profile page for each person via an expand button. If you are curious of my relation to a specific individual, simply ask.
Ancestry Family Tree Database
My family tree database is publicly available on the Ancestry website, and includes source information and any photographs that I have gathered in my research.
RootsFinder Family Tree Database
My family tree database is publicly available on the RootsFinder website, and contains my detailed research notes at the bottom of the profile page of each person.
Research Methodology and Sources
This section contains a categorized list of the methodology and approach of my family tree research, as well as a detailed list of the resources which I utilize and apply to my research. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list for family tree research in general, and instead is a highly personalized list to my family tree and my research methodology. This list will be continually updated and expanded. Click on each toggle to expand it and show further details.
Genealogical Standards of Proof
Many frequently begin their family tree research by copying from other family trees. This approach does not present much of a concern with personally known and recognized relatives, such as with people knowing the names of their grandparents. Continuing this practice of copying family trees beyond close relatives can lead to significant issues. For example, inexperienced researchers frequently overlook the fact that there can be multiple people with the same name living at the same time in the same vicinity. Copying from potentially erroneous family trees can lead to identifying incorrect ancestors and relatives, wasted time and effort, disappointment, and the propagation of error.
Almost all inexperienced family tree researchers make this mistake of copying from other family trees, which includes myself when I began my research. The way to help prevent building an erroneous family tree is by learning actual research principles and methods. While I am not a professional or certified genealogist, I have diligently learned to apply the same type of recognized principles and standards of proof to my research. The most pervasively known methodology is the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), which includes these five research elements.
Chronological Research Notes
My chosen research methodology might considered extreme by some, and may even go further than what some professional and certified genealogists perform. With each individual in my family tree, I record detailed chronological research notes. The notes consist of transcribing every possible record, including birth records, marriage records, census records, newspaper articles, death records, last will and testaments, etc.
Obviously, there is a significant time burden involved with transcribing all source material, but this effort pays back in dividends. First, it enables generating reports with the research notes, which then can be easily read and are useful for sharing research with others. Second, it is extremely valuable in the long term, as all information for each individual can be viewed simultaneously, and does not require looking back at any source images. For example, there might be something that you don't notice or recognize today, but might in the future! Below is an example screen shot of how my research notes are structured for each individual, and would continue with further records up to their death and burial. My research notes are easily viewable with my famly tree database on the RootsFinder website. Under the "Research Standard Applied" section, I include a brief summary on how descent and the family structure were concluded using the recognized genealogical standards of proof, which are summarized in the prior toggle.
PRIMARY SEARCH ENGINES: As part of my research, the following websites are my primary sources for finding records and documentation. These are the sources that I begin with when researching any individual and seeking records and documentation, such as birth, marriage, death, census, etc.
Ancestry - This subscription based website offers extensive records, family tree tools, and DNA testing. Ancestry is my primary source, and where my family tree is viewable, which I sync from Family Tree Maker (FTM).
FamilySearch - This free website offers extensive records, and typically is the second source which I consult. The website is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The website available to anyone, including those who are not LDS members, such as myself. Note that I do not actively particpate any type of crowd sourced family trees, such as FamilySearch Family Tree.
Google Books - This website provides many free books which are no longer under copyright. The "Full View" filter can be applied to view those books which are publicly available.
Internet Archive - This website provides many free books which are no longer under copyright.
FamilySearch Books - This website provides many free books which are no longer under copyright. The "Access Level" filter can be appliied to view those books which are publicly available.
Atlas of Historical County Boundaries - This website contains interactive maps for viewing boundary changes by year.
Historical U.S. Counties - This website expands the above website further by combining the historical boundaries with Google Maps.
timeanddate.com - this extremely useful website contains historical calendars, date to date calculators, and calculators for adding or subtracting years, months, and days.
Julian and Gregorian Calendars - this website outlines the differences in Julian and Gregorian calendars, and when they were changed by country.
It would be fair to say that I get a thrill from performing actual research, especially when it comes to identifying and researching branches which have never been touched by anyone previously. For example, I had some minor interest in computer gaming in years gone by, and that interest was complete eliminated by the challenge of genealogical research.
This section contains resources and documentation that I have used to research specific surnames and families in my family tree, and includes books.
GIBBS: My nearest Gibbs ancestor is my third great grandmother Polly Gibbs (1820-1902).
Gibbs Family History: And Their Relatives of Olden Times - This book was compiled by Vernon Lee Gibbs and was published in 2001. The book is unsourced and can be used as a starting point to research and validate each indivdual.
HOLLON: My nearest Hollon ancestor is my maternal grandmother Marion Muriel Hollon (1921-1987)
Genealogy of Hollon and Related Families: Early Settlers of Eastern Kentucky and their Descendants - This book was compiled by my great grandfather Clay Hollon and was published in 1958. The book is unsourced, and has served as a starting point to my research. Most of the information has proven to be quite reliable, and only contains a minimal amount of error. The above version is on Ancestry, and the book is also available on the Internet Archive, as well as on FamilySearch with this version and another version.
© Copyright - Timothy J. Barron - This page was updated September 6, 2021