23 July 2010

"Hey, Can you Give Me the Family Genealogy?"

No, actually. Not easily! There's too much of it! It's going to take years to write it up, if I ever feel ready to do that. We're having a family reunion this weekend and I want to provide information for my relatives. It lies relatively hidden on my computer and in files in my office, and it's certainly not ready for distribution, yet there is plenty I will share with my Barnes cousins.

For over twenty years I've been gently working on my family lines. A great deal had been done by other family members, so often I'm just verifying or trying to break down the few brick walls, especially on the Barnes side. I have to admit though that I spent most of my early years learning about resources, methodology and professional practices until I felt reasonably qualified, then I began taking clients. What I haven't done is concentrate on descendants of my ancestors because there are far too many. I've got enough Barnes descendants to make an impression, but probably not even one tenth of the total! I just document them as I run into them, to distinguish them from my own direct lines, for instance. But let's not even talk about the descendants of my other lines! There are scads of Litchfields, for instance, probably a billion living in Scituate alone (haha), but I've only taken note, again, of those families that are in my direct line, or those who could be confused with them. This is hard to explain to people who wonder why I can't just hand over the book. Yes we're related to Israel Litchfield of diary fame, but not directly, so he doesn't appear in a pedigree or fan chart. He's my 5th great-uncle, brother of my 5th great grandfather Capt. Daniel Litchfield Sr. (see my John Hancock post).

Now we're about to gather a big gang of Barnes descendants together and I wish I had a book to hand out! So instead I've made some charts––big ones––to hang up on the side of the house. I'm bringing red pens so people can make corrections. I've asked them to sign their notations so I can know who my sources are (I neglected to do that in 1995) and I'm bringing along some family group sheets for those extra large families of unknown cousins. 

Here are the charts I'm making:
•  10-Generation fan chart starting with my grandfather and his siblings and moving back to 1600s.
•  All descendants of Capt. Joseph Barnes and Polly Vinal, mostly via Israel Merritt Barnes I. This one has photos included.
•  Descendants of the father of immigrant ancestor Thomas Barnes for 6 generations.
•  Lists of Revolutionary War, Mayflower, and Ancient and Honorable Artillery ancestors.

I use Reunion for Macintosh, which creates lovely charts but is quite buggy, especially with a 100-page chart. These charts contain so much info that they have to be huge in order to be legible. It's much too expensive to print them in color so it's black and white and the photographs suffer. 

The fan chart at the beginning of this post will be 16 inches by 30 inches. Not too bad considering how many names it has. People enjoy seeing the whole she-bang at once. Get a load of those glaring brick walls. How they torture me!!

The next chart is the descendants of Joseph Barnes. This one took a lot of tweaking before I could get it down to 100 pages. I forget the final dimensions, but it's something like 18 inches by 120 or thereabouts! It will include everyone at the reunion and many more.

And the final one, below, is 16 inches by 51. It has descendants of the immigrant down six generations. I love doing these because they show me gaps. I need to do some work on the early Barnes generations.

When I feel ready, I'll get one done up properly by the Chart Chick, Janet Hovorka, at generationmaps.com, who does wonderful work, but for now, we intend to scribble on these and use them as information-gathering vehicles, so I don't want to spend too much money or time. Besides, I'm not ready yet. This is kind of joke because you're never ready. You can never be finished with genealogical research. There is always one more source to consult, one new ancestor who blesses you with two more progenitors. 

Anyway, I'm excited to display these for my Barnes cousins and even more excited to see everyone!


GrannyPam said...

Interesting what charts you take. My husband's family has an annual reunion, of the descendants of one set of his great-grandparents. I do a chart of all the couple's descendants, and I do have it printed up by Generation Maps. It is approximately 28 feet long, and I can still get away with the 24" length. We have 6 generations at present, and everyone loves seeing their name on the chart. I make large boxes and type, so even the older folks can read it quite well. We hand out pens, and everyone makes notes, which I transcribe at least by the next reunion! I have 5 or 6 or 7 of the carts in my attic, where they go after transcription. It helps the children see their place in the family, and we enjoy doing it each year.

Martin said...

It's too bad I can't blow up your chart to see the names clearly. I can see we are both Rider descendants though.

Anon said...

Goodluck with your re-union :)

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

GrannyPam, that's exactly what I did. At the last reunion I printed them out page by page and taped them together. A bit more sophisticated this time.

I got some more good information, and best of all, met new cousins!

Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt said...

Martin, my tree is on Ancestry.com. My Rider was Lydia who married John Ellmes in Middleborough, Mass. in 1756.