Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Family Trees on Genealogy Databases

Many Genealogical Databases now offer the facilities to upload your family trees to their database, allowing other family history researchers the option to view and use your research. If you do use someone else's information, please double check that it is correct. You cannot assume that the person uploading the family tree has it right. In one search recently we were looking for information on Jane Chadwick. When her name was entered in Ancestry.com we found 12,013 family trees containing that name. In checking the first page, where 20 family trees were displayed - 18 referred to our Jane Chadwick and the other 2 were clearly a different Jane. Just using those 18 references, Jane's birth year varied from 1811, 1814 to 1817. The spouse varied from John Belcher & John Whaley to John Whealey and others. Not all gave their sources, but some thankfully did and also added other records. By going through all those trees and viewing all the records referenced, we were able to compare them to the information we already had and draw our own conclusions. We have been unable to find any record of her birth, but the 1828 census gives her age as 14 - making her birth year 1814. In 1828, John Belcher, a convict, applied to marry an underage 15 year old Jane Chadwick, so perhaps she was born in 1813, but still 14 at the time of the census, or she lied about her age. This marriage never took place and John Belcher later died in 1835. In 1832 and subsequent years, she had children to John Whaley and she eventually married him in 1846. John Whaley had been in trouble with the law and had several aliases - Whalan & Whealey are just two. She died in 1880, drowning after a falling from Manly Pier. The inquest gave her age as 63, leading to the birth year of 1817. Jane led a very hard and colourful life in a rough rural setting, with little female influence. From the documents available we can piece together some facts about her life, but the rest is conjecture.

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