Thursday, August 29, 2013

Research and resources

Heather Rojo's comments about the recently-aired WDYTYA (Cindy Crawford) are interesting. Heather mentioned one person estimating that the show required 1000 hours of research, supposedly by experienced researchers who had access to information beyond the normal person's reach. That's about 1/2 a person-year, by the way, for those who have had any dealings with planning.

In terms of weekends, one would have to spend about 10 years or so (more or less, okay?) to get that amount of work done. I did read of one person devoting his life (and, I'm not talking cousin-in-law, Walter Goodwin Davis, who had an inheritance) to genealogy; he read the principle resources at many places and did transcriptions).

Aside: One has to wonder about those 1000 hours. How they were spent? How many hours were related to following false leads (which, by the way, are useful to the watchful researcher)?

From our view, Dr. Frank's work was priceless. How many hour hours did he spend? Quite a bit, no doubt. As another example, I can point to a D.A.R. genealogist who helps people with their applications (she spent over 100 hours, in one case). Then, William Reitwiesner is a prime example ( of working outside of the limelight for decades. He liked his day job at the Library of Congress since it gave him ample time to do genealogical research.


Shows like WDYTYA are nice in that viewers can think about their remote cousins (or ancestors). Also, it's good to see the experts in operation (in the background, mostly, in the later versions of the show - say, as compared to how it was for Brooke Shields' episode). And, it does get the interests up (modern/western views discount ancestors even though the basis for our biological being is thusly laid - too, ancestors are "closer than our shadow" (attributed to your's truly, unless there was precedence) -- it's a meme thing, folks).


So, it ought to be evident that this type of thing takes work. It's nice when the results of such work is available to the next set of researchers. It is one of our goals to foster research and to provide verified information. Of course, this all presupposes some way of presentation that is accessible. NEHGS has done a good job. As a research member, one has access to many on-line (digitized) resources. Too, one can go to the library and grab books, many times.

And, one has to be thankful for organizations, such as D.A.R. Their verified trees are a great resource for future work, such as matching up trees to find missing siblings, etc. This is not true for, unfortunately (in general, let's say; there are plenty of folks there who have sourced their stuff). Actually, I always filter on rootsweb for hits that have sources just to see how much a solution set is reduced thereby. But, un-sourced can be useful, say, for hints on how to proceed. By the way, I have found to be very useful.

Aside: The tree being used has the living person as root point. Then, the ancestors are leafs. And, this view would have duplicates to account for the fan-in of inter-marriage (cousins marrying). So, hypothesize some leaf (say, one of those in a gateway list that Heather talked about), then one has to show reach-ability in the tree from the root to the leaf. In an ideal world, all of the nodes would be strong. The case is that some nodes may not have solid support, yet they are rationally supported. Case in point? If you have a gap, coming at it from both sides will allow one to see if there is a bridge and what is needed to support the bridge. The error in the book was where a gap was closed by collapsing a generation (or, rather, ignoring the absence of a generation which forced a fit of the ends).


09/04/2013 -- Topic carried over to truth engineering.

08/30/2013 -- With the post, I didn't fully cover the resources topic. But, I'll get back to that. I was browsing a book today that deals with the ancestry of Charles II. He's the hippy king, so to speak. Dr. Lucy Worsley (who has wonderful videos, by the way), says that things were shaken up more in 1660s (Charlie's time) than in 1960s (which might mean a thing or two to the boomer generation). Well, Charlie II's tree was full. However, by the eighth generation there were holes which carried further out. For most people, their chart would have large gaps. If someone knows of a tree that is almost fully filled (to 11 generations, let's say), please let me know.

08/29/2013 -- Having said all that, here is an exemplary site, again.

Modified: 09/04/2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Benjamin Peirce

TL;DR -- We note the memoir of Benjamin Peirce which gives a little of his heritage on which he put Thomas Gardner as well as other New England families. We were familiar with the work of his son, Charles S. Peirce, and looked further at Benjamin who graduated from Harvard in 1829. Benjamin was later head of the mathematics department. Also, he was there when the inheritance from Count Rumford was processed and helped determine the decision on expenditure of the gift.  


We have Benjamin's son, Charles Sanders Peirce, the logician and pragmatist, on our descendants list. I had run across the work of Charles in my younger years in an academic environment and found his work to be useful throughout my working years. So, Charles had to be on the list when I ran across his name while doing descendants searches a while ago.

Memoir of Benjamin Peirce
Essex Institute Historical Collections
Today, while researching the Quaker involvement of the Gardners (note earlier John Goff article), I ran across this memoir by Charles' father, Benjamin Peirce. The memoir can be found in the Essex Institute Historical Collections. Benjamin Robert S. Rantoul read this memoir at the May 16, 1881 meeting. Here is a link to the digitized version (points to pg 172, where the charts start) of Memoir of Benjamin Peirce [1881, Essex Institute Historical Collections], at Google.

The image shows part of page 172 which deals with the earliest generations in colonial New England. I thought the whole chart to be interesting due the familiar families. But, the Gardner part of the tree is especially interesting.

I'm doing this post to add to the material related to the early Thomas Gardners (see last post). In fact, there may be several of these as we look at what is behind the different viewpoints and assess how to clarify the matter for future researchers.


Aside: I recently ran into an error that is in a known book. This error has been propagated widely. Now, I have established the problem. From a brief search, some know of the problem; many others seem to not to have stumbled upon it. But, you know, those who have skirted the problem didn't leave any marker for later travelers. Why do we have to let people fall into the quicksand themselves? There ought to be some published errata that is available for access (perhaps it exists already somewhere). Of course, web-based presentation is implied here. I still rankle at the notion that Gutenberg's technology is the forever means for publication. It may be that people are saying that fluidity is only one state of matter; as in, we need to solidify things (which is what print does) now and then, even if it just allows a snapshot of a point-in-time state of knowledge.

Remarks: Modified: 12/29/2022

08/29/2013 -- WDYTYA episode has an estimate of 1000 person hours having been used for research.

07/15/2015 -- We have a project that is looking at Sherborne, Dorset (note references to records of a marriage of Thomas and Margaret plus baptism of the kids - also, note reference to abductive reasoning which Benjamin's son, Charles, helped establish) as place of origins. As one would expect, there have been many views on this subject over the past 350 years. One of these is expressed in the above image, from Benjamin's perspective. It has son, Thomas, as the one whose wife was Margaret Fryer (see Number of wives and John Farmer's view). ... Not only is Benjamin a descendant of Thomas through his first son, he is also a descendant of Seeth (see Table IV, pg 175). ... An analog of the required method might be paleoichnology (large tales from little data).

08/03/2017 -- Benjamin Peirce was instrumental in getting the Harvard school of science and engineering started when Jacob Bigelow resigned as the Rumford chair.

12/03/2017 - Benjamin died in 1880. The Memoir was read by Robert S. Rantoul. We will see him, again, as he was a contributor to Dr. Frank's The Massachusetts Magazine.

12/29/2022 -- Charles S. Peirce, Benjamin's son, was featured in a post about TGS, Inc. plans to focus on technology. Benjamin was at Harvard (Class of 1829) and is listed as one of the few mathematicians from the USA in the XVIII Century. Benjamin could not afford to go to Europe for further education and stayed in the area. Eventually, he got back to Harvard where he was head of the mathematics department. But, from our view, his life is even more interesting than earlier as this is the time of the western expansion driven, largely, from New England. It will be nice to have a Harvard tie in. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Thomas here and a Thomas there

This post continues our look at Gardner families and considers only the Thomas Gardners who arrived early.


But, first, here are four posts dealing with the subject of Thomas of Salem. They are in order with the latest post first. However, the book that is the principle focus of each post has an inverse order (somewhat, this is the result of taking data items back to their source; if we can grab the complete view, then the correct telling of the story will come to fore).
  • Thomas and Thomas (Jun 2013) - Felt suggests, from his review of the materials, that the Thomas of Salem came over with his father, who was also named Thomas.  Felt also notes that the older Thomas came from Scotland. 
  • John Farmer (May 2013) - Farmer has two Thomas Gardners in Salem. The older one was the lead at Cape Ann, Farmer says. And, the son who was the husband of Damaris died in 1674. 
  • Stories and Unwindings (Oct 2010) - One expects to find misinformation on the web; it's a different thing when such is published. But, first, one has to establish what is misinformation and what is not. Mention is made of Dr. Frank's books and one by William Folger about Nantucket settlers. Too, though, a 1999 article by the Jamaica Plain Historical Society mixes the Thomas Gardners. 
  • Gardners and Gardners (Sep 2010) - Dr. Frank's book had a list of the early Gardner families in which there were two Thomas Gardners: Salem (1624), Roxbury (died 1638). Dr. Frank also mentions what he considers an error: that there were two Thomas Gardners (of Salem), the earlier of whom died in 1635 (see image on post from Dr. Frank's book; elsewhere, he used 1638, but are people talking two old Thomas Gardners?). 
Note: Statements, by earlier writers, that turn out to be less than correct ought not be suppressed. Rather, we need to bring these to fore so that the reasons for their incorrectness is accessible. The cloud/web seems to allow such methods with its large storage capacity. The problem? Given that the proper view is established, where does one put it? Where does a researcher go to find the most-supported view?


Roxbury to Salem
Now that we have reviewed what has been gathered so far, let's look at the early arrivals, and we can point to the two Thomas Gardners who are mentioned in Dr. Frank's list (Salem and Roxbury). Some researchers have suggested a relationship between these two families. Others seem to have their descendants mixed up. The map is included for those who may not be familiar with the area.

Note: The crow distance must be about 14 miles or so. Yet, the terrain would have slowed any movement. Perhaps, the fastest way would be to get down to Dorchester and take a boat to Salem. Nowadays, these two are on an arc, somewhat; one can take a highway in an almost circular path around Boston. That distance is 50 miles or so.


What is the true picture? How can we find out? Well, data gathering, analysis, and discussion is one mode that we will continue to pursue.

For now, let's use the NEHGS-published Great Migration books. The format of this material that has been followed for all of the principle arrivers is Origin, Migration, First Residence, Return Trips, Occupation, Church Membership, Freeman, Offices, Education, Estate, Birth, Death, Marriage, Children, Associations, and Comments. People who are not handled separately are still mentioned along with a reference to source of the material. As we have said, this series' look at hundreds of people is exemplary in presenting only items that can be supported. That being said, there are other sources that might have enough weight to make a reasonable stab at filling in gaps (as long as they are not too big - formally, interpolation).
  • Thomas Gardner of Salem (died 1674) is covered in the early volumes: 1620-1633, Vols. I-III, pg. 731 (6 pages). His children are as noted by Dr. Frank, albeit with a different placement for Richard
  • Thomas Gardner of Roxbury (died 1638) is mentioned several places. He is noted as the father of Peter Gardner (died 1698): 1634-1635, Volume III, G-H, pg. 14 (4 pages). (Note: Thomas had several children, including Thomas Gardner of Muddy River who married Lucy Smith). 

The next thing to look at will be all of the Thomas Gardners that were in the area up to about 1700. To get an idea of how many there were, we can look at Savage: Before 1692, Volume #2, Gardner-Garven. Just in this section, Savage mentions seven Thomas Gardners.

Of course, there are other works to consider.


01/18/2019 -- Added to the index at

03/11/2015 -- Sourced ahnentafels (published in TEG and The Gardner Annals): Thomas Gardner of Salem descendant (Benjamin Brown Gardner - grandfather of Dr. Frank) and Thomas Gardner of Roxbury descendant (Susan Charlotte Graves Gardner - aunt of Dr. Frank).

10/13/2014 -- Tabula raza, and more, will be of concern.

08/25/2013 -- On a site dealing with descendants of Alice Freeman, Abigail Gardner is on the list due to marrying John Wise. Hence, her father and grandfather are there, too. Thomas (before 1595 to 1638), father of Thomas and Peter. The site, by Chris Chester, is wonderful in its use of sources; too, I really like the format. We need to do something similar for the Thomas Gardners.

08/22/2013 -- Forgot to mention: nothing new under the sun.

08/21/2013 -- Other works would include contributions by researchers, such as we find from Heather Rojo: Nutfield Genealogy: Amanuensis Monday - A mystery from Rev. Bentley's diary. On-line is not bad, by definition, old genealogists (gosh, I'm 71 and know better than that).

Modified: 01/18/2019