Tuesday, February 3, 2015

#52Ancestors: WK 5: CALLAWAY, Dora

** cross posted to Lass Chronicles **
Like most of my 2nd+ great grandparents, I just know the basics (the average of 5) about Dora CALLAWAY. She was born about Jul 1849 in Georgia to John and Lavicy[1] (GERMON) Callaway. She is the youngest of eight. She spent most of her life in Arkansas. She married two men (outliving them both): Zachary Taylor ADAMS and George K. CROW. She had nine children (all with Z. Adams), two did not survive to adulthood. Her son, Welcome Adams, was my Week Two ancestor.

If it wasn't for a small selection of public records, I wouldn't know anything about Dora Callaway.

  • The 1900 U.S. Census revealed she is a farmer that owns her own property and has a mortgage.  This census also alerted me to the fact that two of her children have died.
  • Her son's (Taylor Noah) WWI draft card revealed she remarried.  Without that bit of information, I'm not sure I would have ever found her after the 1900 U.S. Census.

Callaway, Dora
Profile View on Ancestry: Callaway, Dora

Funny thing, though. A few weeks ago, someone on Ancestry contacted me about being a DNA Match. The only person we share in our trees is John Callaway, Dora's father.

I should explain a couple things before I go on:

  • I'm obsessive about data...bad data is worse than no data at all.
  • Until recently, my tree has been private because, well, genealogy vultures.

Now, let's talk DNA matches. I love AncestryDNA. Until I hate it. There are some big failures in the AncestryDNA tool. The absolute failure, in my opinion, is triangulation -- though "circles" is trying to help there.

Back to the person that contacted me. This person seemed excited and knowledgeable. Then I looked at the referred tree and noticed there's a big, glaring, ugly sign: no sources. Lots of dates for births, deaths, and marriages...no sources.

I don't understand this. If a person has worked on a tree for years (I've dabbled in my genealogy for 20+ years), doesn't it make sense to have sources?

I replied and asked about sources -- I was thinking maybe this person had a family bible. Oh, Holy Grail! Instead, I was told the sources were available, but all the info had been vetted via a family association.

Hit the brakes, buster! A family association? What is this? Where has this been? How have I never heard of this group?

I did a little Google searching. I did a little hunting on the group website. I'm not overly impressed. At least, not from a genealogical standard point of view. Again, the tree information I am looking at doesn't seem to have sources. There's nothing on the site that points to who runs the site or the group. The blog is years out of date. And, ok, I'm going to be a tech-snob but...they are using COMIC SANS for the site font.

There is a FamilyTree DNA Project. There seems to be a journal/newsletter. This group is been in existence since 1975, from what it says.  Still, I hesitate to integrate any of the information into my tree. How do I know the John Callaway in their tree is my John Callaway?

I will most likely contact someone at the FTDNA Project -- they may be the group admins, as well; but I'm reserving most of my judgement for now.

[1] Her marriage license lists her as "Lavicy Germon."

Optional Theme: Week 5, Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally… It’s up to you.


  1. Your post gave me a chuckle--COMIC SANS indeed! I share your frustration about some of these trees with no sources. My mother's family tree, Denton, was kidnapped by a lovely lady years ago who posted all sorts of things on the family website for 8 or 9 generations of the family. "Sue's Website" then became THE source--for everything. The misinformation is harrowing. It will never be possible to get rid of it all. I enjoy your posts. Becky

    1. Gah! I just feel the hives coming on when I think about the bad data that is floating out there. There really is no way to clean it up 100%. We can only work on controlling our little section of that data. That's my new mantra for genealogy data. Control what you can!