Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reverse Genealogy

Last week, I finished teaching a Reverse Genealogy Class to my genealogy society and one of my students came into the library today for some help.

Just a little background. Genealogy is working from the present to the past one generation at a time. While reverse genealogy is working from the past to the present one generation at a time. I took the class material from FTU (Family Tree University) reverse genealogy material. I created PowerPoints for the reading material and we went over the quizes as a group and I assigned the Exercises to them as homework.

The last exercise was to take what we learned and apply it to a lost ancestor (non-living) or to a lost relative (living). There were great worksheets to use. However, my student did not bring that with him. I will have to dig out the worksheet when he comes back.

Anyway, the delimina: Find the parents of his friend's father. The father told his friend that he was adopted and didn't know who his parents were and made up his birthdate. So the student came with the father's name, birthdate, wife's name, marriage date, social security number, death date and such.

Using I tried to find the mother and father in the first Census record after their marriage, and I found that. We printed it out. Because Ancestry offers suggestions of more possible records, I was hoping It would give me more clues. It didn't that way but it did give me hits under the Records tab after I put in my search critieria. I found him in the 1930 Census and I found his first marriage record but it listed no parents. I found a possible him living in 1920 as a 8 year old with parents. Then I found his marriage record with the friends mother. This record was found using and it listed his parents as the people from the 1920 Census. Of course this doesn't answer the qustion if these are truely his parents or adopted parents. I tracked the people forward to the 1930 census and no son but this time a daughter is living with them and she is 17. My first question, if this is their daughter, then where was she living in 1920 because she wasn't on the census with her parents. Perhaps she was adopted between 1920 and 1930. Or perhaps she was living somewhere else? Then I found the grandparents in 1910 living with his widowed mother. The 1920 Census staed that the grandmother of the friend had one child born to her and the living box was blank. What does this mean?

I went back to FamilySearch, and this time I typed in the friends grandparents names and I found their marriage record. It listed both sets of parents. The mother of the grandfather matched the 1910 census. I then switched gears and tried to find the daughter. I found her marriage certificate and based on this information I found her living in 1940, married but the husband wasn't there, but two children and two boarders.

This took 2 to 3 hours to find this information. We were unable to find a birth certificate for the father on-line and were unsure how to obtain one in-person since we didn't know exactly where he was born in Virginia. At this point I wanted to record this information onto a pedigree chart to keep the facts more clear. I was becoming frustrated with my searches and knew I needed a break. I sent the information home with him and stated that we needed to come up with some future goals.

The student's friends might not find out if her father was truely adopted by papermeans, but if she had her DNA tested and found the aunts descendants and they tested their DNA, they might answer if they are blood related. If not, either one or both of the siblings might have been adopted. Next would be to use reverse genealogy and try to find the grandparent's siblings descendants and have thier DNA tested and see if they match. If they match, then he wasn't adopted, but if they didn't match, this might prove the story he was adopted. This might be the reason he doesn't have contact with his parents starting with the 1930 Census, where I find him as a boarder in another state as his parents.

All in all, this as very interesting, and more traditional research needs to be done to locate living relatives.