This month’s assignment for our US-REC Study Group is a) to read American Genealogy, Chapter 11: (“Compiled Sources and Newspapers” ) and The Source, Chapter 12 (“Newspapers”) and b) evaluate a compiled source using Greenwood’s criteria (page 185 in American Genealogy). Greenwood’s criteria are fairly straight-forward:
Are the materials which the source presents well documented?
What kinds of sources are represented in the documentation? Are they original records (or photocopies of such) or are they other non-original materials?
Are the research and analyses of difficult problems and connections examined in detail so that the bases for their acceptance can be completely understood?
The Compiled Source:
In April, 1910, a search of FamilySearch revealed an IGI record of the baptism of Johannes Brenner (my 2g-grandfather), son of Georg Friedrich Brenner and Johanna Catarina Venninger at the Protestant Church in Adelshofen, Baden. At approximately the same time, I came across online data tracing the lineage of Johanna Catarina Venninger (my 3g-grandmother) back about 12 generations. In telephone contact with the author of the materials, he acknowledged that he was in the process of removing it from online presence, but was willing to share his records with me. His records included names, dates, events, and locations, but no citations. In that telephone conversation, he indicated that the information came from FHL microfilms (mostly on the Protestant Church in Adelshofen, Baden). I found two other online trees containing information about Johanna Catarina Venninger’s lineage. I put the information in a GEDCOM file (most from the original contact, supplemented by the other two online trees.
Evaluating the (Haphazardly) Compiled Source:
The evaluation is quite simple:
The materials are not well documented. A verbal statement that the materials came from FHL microfilms (mostly #1189094) is vague, at best, and relates to the material in general only (that is, it does not document the source of particular data).
It is hard to determine whether the author viewed photocopies of the originals (FHL microfilm) or used derivative sources (IGI, AFN). Regardless of what he used the material, as it came to me, was clearly derivative (no images of the German Church Records; only lists, in English, of the events, persons, dates, and localities).
There was no analysis of the data, no evidence of conflicts, no examination of the data in detail.
Greenwood writes, “There are some good things written that are poorly documented, but they are the exception and not the rule.” I began to suspect this to be the case of the material I had received on Johanna Catarina Venninger’s lineage. I have chosen to accept this data as likely to be “useful in providing clues for research (Greenwood).” In fact, during my recent trip to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library, I found the materials to be “a great time saver in research.” I used the materials to create lists of baptisms, marriages, and deaths (sorted by locality and date). These lists (approximately 250 entries) were annotated with the FHL microfilm numbers for the appropriate Church Records.
At FHL I began my search the day prior to RootsTech. This was my first trip to FHL and my first experience with a microfilm reader. I made the mistake of focusing first on the church records from Adelshofen, Baden (the city where my 2g-grandfather, Johannes Brenner, lived before emigrating to the United States). That was a big mistake. Because I was dealing with records written in German (with which I have only a very elementary grasp) and in Old German script (which is a challenge for us moderns to read), I did not find many of the records for which I was seeking. Fortunately, the experience gained helped me in subsequent trips to FHL. I worked through (one day with my son’s assistance) the church records of the other cities near Adelshofen from which many of Johanna Venninger’s ancestors came. These searches were much more successful. Now, back home, I will have to order the Adelshofen film and have it sent to one of the Family History Centers in the area so that I can review that film and, hopefully, find more of the records for Johanna Venninger’s lineage (and mine). [See related post on German Church Records.]
Following is a list of the direct line ancestors of Johanna Catarina Venninger for whom I found microfilm images. I copied those images and will enter them into our Research Wiki and eventually into our TNG website. Reference numbers follow the Ancestral Lines Paring System [ancestral line.generation]. For more information see Caper McDonald’s paper or my post (“RootsTechLearning #1 — Ancestral Lines Pairing System”). It should be noted that the generation numbers start with my son; therefore, Johanna Venninger is generation 7 (my son’s 4g-grandmother).
33.7 Johanna Catarina (Venninger) Brenner
marriage, baptism of 3 sons and 1 daughter
Generation 8 – Parents
33.8 Johannes & 97.8 Elizabeth Margaretha (Fleck) Venninger
baptism of 4 daughters and 1 son; 33.8 – death; 97.8 – death
Generation 9 – GrandParents
33.9 Johannes & 161.9 Maria Margaretha (Pfesterlin) Venninger
baptism of 3 daughters and 1 son; 33.9 – baptism, death
97.9 Johann Casper & 225.9 Elisabetha Margaretha (Uhl) Fleck
baptism of 3 sons; 97.9 – baptism
Generation 10 – 1G Grandparents
33.10 Johann Georg & 289.10 Maria Margaretha (Nast) Venninger
baptism of 4 sons and 2 daughters; 33.10 – baptism, death
97.10 Anastasius & 353.10 Anna Margaretha (Conrad) Fleck
baptism of 4 daughters and 1 son; 97.10 – death; 353.10 – baptism, death
Generation 11 – 2G Grandparents
33.11 Johann Georg & 545.11 Maria (Solome) Venninger
33.11 – baptism; 545.11 – death
289.11 Johann Phillip & 801.11Anna Maria (Ludwig) Nast
289.11 – death; 801.11 – baptism, death
Generation 12 – 3G Grandparents
33.12 Samuel & 1057.12 Euphrosyna (Ebts) Venninger
baptism of 8 daughters and 3 sons; 33.12 – baptism
289.12 Johann Martin & 1313.12 Waldburga (Trauttlinn) Nast
289.12 – baptism, death; 1313.12 – baptism, death
801.12 Michael & 1825.12 Anna Maria (Jaich) Ludwig
801.12 – baptism, death; 1825.12 – baptism
Generation 13 – 4G Grandparents
33.13 Samuel & 2081.13 Anna Maria (Knobblin) Venninger
baptism of 3 daughters; 33.13 – death; 2081.13 – death
289.13 George &2337.13 Agnes Nast
289.13 – baptism, death; 2337.13 – death
1313.13 Phillip & 4361.13 Margaret Trauttlinn
baptism of 1 daughter