What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Using an obituary in genealogical research

I have before me an obituary for a Roy Bennett. He was born in 1944, and died in 2007.

Here is a link to the obituary, posted to my personal genealogy website.

The first thing I do is check my database to see if he is in it. He is not. However, I do find that one of his sisters and her husband that was named in the obit is in my database, with her husband (Ruby, nee Bennett, and Gregory Kipping). So, with that information, along with the names of his parents, I can tie them together.

I am pretty certain that I also found another of his sisters, Shirley Jaenke, wife of Ronald Jaenke, in my database. I did not have a maiden name for Ronald's wife, but other things synced up pretty well, including places of residence and approximate ages. So I will have a fair amount of confidence in adding them in as well.

My next step is to build his individual record in my software. I include all the information about him, when and where he was born, died, and buried, and his military service, citing the obituary as my source. (This citation will accompany every piece of data derived from the obituary.)

I add his wife's name, and the date and place of their marriage which happily was also included in the obituary. 

I add in his four children, along with their spouses, and places of residence. His nine grandchildren are listed, but I cannot with certainty assign four of them to their parents. So, I open my spreadsheet of "unattached persons" and include them there: their names, relationship to the deceased, his name and date of death, and his record ID number. Perhaps something will come up that will eventually tie one or more of them to the correct family. The larger my database grows, the more often that happens.

I continue on by then attaching to his parents the existing individual records of the two sisters I mentioned. I then add in the other five siblings named in the obit, with their spouses and places of residence where appropriate.

With that completed, I upload the obituary itself to my personal website.

Now that my software database has been fully updated, I open my ancestry.com family tree file, and repeat the process.

I then upload his photo, from the obituary, to the ancestry tree, and the obituary itself. Since the obit is a source for information on all the people and facts named in it, I also attach it to all the people involved. I then create a source citation based on the obit, and attach it to each name and fact that I have derived from it.

Now, the work of research can begin. That will be the subject of my next post.

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