Good morning, Cousins!
I’m sure you are all busy now that the holiday season is upon us, but I thought I might pop by and show you what I have been working on lately. Most of us are descendants of Tom Copeland (some by his wife Clara, some by his wife Myrtle), which means we are also descendants of Tom’s father, George. Our ancestor George Thomas Copeland is my current “brick wall” because I do not know who his parents were. I also do not know anything about Tom’s mother, who is called “Sarah” on the 1870 and 1880 Census. I’ve been collecting information about collateral relatives, friends, and neighbors (genealogists call this the “FAN” method) to see if I can learn a bit more about George and Sarah. This morning I created a “mind map” of the connections that our George has to other families in Ripley County and Dunklin County (you can click the image to see it larger).
As you can see this is quite the tangled web, which is a good thing! One of the ways that we can “prove” information about our ancestors is by using “indirect evidence,” such as patterns of interaction between families. There is a scarcity of vital records for George (I have no birth record, only 2 out of 4 marriage records, and no death or burial records), but I have learned a lot about him just by looking at the families to which he was connected. The next thing I would like to do is create a database of all of the persons to whom George was connected, which I think will be a big help when doing research (especially in making use of the 400+ genetic matches I have on my dad’s side). I’ll go into more details about these connections as they become clearer to me.