Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

I own a "manuscript" that is a valuable source to me because it mentions family members I wouldn't otherwise know about (of course, I now have to find out who they are!). The trouble is, I don't know what this "manuscript" is. My sister and I have always referred to it as a letter, but I'm pretty sure that is an incorrect description.

This is what I've got (along with a "provenance"): Sometime before 1943 Charles Shafer (my paternal grandmother's brother) asked their first cousin Eliza Hoover Wantz for her reminiscences because she was the oldest of their generation. After Lide (Eliza) and her husband died, Uncle Charley collected those papers. He visited us in St. Louis on his return to Benton Harbor and read some of this information to us. This so intrigued my sister Rae that she asked Uncle Charley for copies.

Later that year Uncle Charley sent Rae carbon copies of his typewritten transcriptions of Lide's letter and additional reminiscences, as well as a covering letter. I believe these were second or third carbons, and the typewriter wasn't very clean, making capital letters almost illegible at times. (Third carbon isn't an insult — Rae was only 12 at the time, how was Uncle Charley to know that she would treasure and care for these papers for 68 years.) Included in these transcriptions that Uncle Charley made are comments added by Uncle Charley. I THINK the voice is clear because he initialed them and usually also included a self-reference in the notes. In 2008, when I began to work on the family genealogy (and also the family history if I can achieve it), I asked Rae for a copy of these papers; her husband went off to Kinko's and mailed me copies of the complete set.

So this is what I have: copier copies of a typewritten transcription of handwritten papers I have never looked at. (I "saw" them in Uncle Charley's hands, but I have never looked at the contents.) Note added as I proofread this: I think I have a derivitive source containing primary information (because Uncle Charley's notes are also primary); the "evidence" is mixed — both direct and Indirect. Does this sound right?

To muddle things further, I transcribed these papers into the computer, adding additional comments in the form of footnotes. This is what I am actually consulting when that part of the family leads me to "Lide's Letter." If the above note is correct then this is a transcription of the "derivitive source …", etc. Again, does this sound correct?

I think I have several questions here:

a) WHAT are the papers — are they unpublished manuscript?
b) do I have TWO sources: copier copy of typewritten (see a) owned by "formal reference to my sister" plus computer transcription of b?
c) in the computer transcription, should I use an * in place of each illegible letter? In the footnotes I could record "best guess" and/or any subsequent clarification of these names.
d) the italic parts of the above questions apply to proof standards rather than to sources and source citations, but they indicate another part of my puzzlement — a fourth question.

I truly think this is a great holding, but I just don't know what it is when describing it for future readers of our family tree and family history.

Can anyone help!


Views: 119

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you, Gene

I think that it would be best to go with the combined example, since the addendum were scattered throughout the transcription. The transcription with addendum was done in 1943, as was the covering letter.

These papers begin with a letter written in 1938 (Uncle Charley did not have that letter with him when he visited us in 1943). Lide died in 1941. Her husband died in 1943. It was after James Wantz died that Uncle Charlie went out to Washington to visit their daughter; that is when he collected the rest of the papers.

Uncle Charley was my great uncle, born in 1868 (date not yet verified), so he is surely dead by now. I have completely lost touch with that side of the family, but am hoping there is still someone alive who may have these papers. Uncle Charley was considering a family history, but I don't think that he ever completed it. (I'm pretty sure that my father's sister would have known about a finished project and told us about it.) I know that Uncle Charley had a grandson (I met him in 1943), but I don't know if Joseph survived the war (and alas, I don't remember Joseph's last name — his mother was the Shafer.)

I agree with you that I need to give these papers a title; probably a fairly informal one since these are memoirs, concentrating on her life in the 1860s and 1870s, but including later events and random mentions of various relatives and of family stories about her past.

Thank you for your reply; you have confirmed that these papers are more than a letter (although Rae and I will probably continue to call it that in conversations, since a 70-year-old habit probably isn't worth trying to break).

I'll compare your examples with the relevant pages of Evidence Explained and see how well I can tailor these citations. When I have have achieved what I think will work, I'll post it here.

In the meantime, I'd be glad for any additional insights you might offer.

Thank you for your help.
Well, I hope I have the basics prepared here; I think that the punctuation needs some editing, but I'm saving that for another day. This citation is so long that it takes more than 1 page in my Citation Templates document. So I am uploading 2 screen shots today.

My remainings (known) question is "What is the information to be placed in the blanks following my name (in the samples GeneJ provided)?" I'm guessing that it is my address, but haven't acted upon this assumption yet.

Hope I'm on the right track here.

Happy Thanksgiving, Gene,

In reverse order: Charlie didn't write a title on the transcription. Some of the materials contain what I would consider "sub-titles" or the equivalent of "chapter titles" — things like "Hail Stones as Big as Goose Eggs" or "SUMMER SCHOOL IN THE EARLY 60s" but these titles clearly pertain only to a page or two of the whole, not to the entire document. These "subtitles" came from Lide.

Here is the beginning of Uncle Charley's cover letter to Rae:
"251 Lake Ave., Benton Harbor, Mich.
"Oct . 4, 1943.

"Dear Rae:-
"Enclosed you will find a copy of the history that you wished. I have added to it a couple of chapters that I did not have with me at your house. "

The "added chapters" may have been done before 1943; the rest of it clearly was transcribed between his visit to us on Sept 9 and the Oct 4 date when he mailed this to Rae. (As to the Sept 9 date — 16 year old girls wouldn't be likely to remember a date so exactly; it was pure happenstance that Uncle Charley arrived on the exact day of my 16th birthday — making it easy for me to calculate the year and making me absolutely positive that I know the exact date of his visit. And there was a teeny bit of sibling jealousy — 'It was MY birthday, so why did Rae" get the letter?' type of thing. The year calculation [as you will have noticed] is supported by the date on the letter to Rae.)

The very first of Lide's materials is a letter from Lide to Charley; it is dated March 22, 1938. The last sentence in this letter is "Will soon send the data you wish." Uncle Charley's opening paragraph (annotation) says "She did prepare the data and it was awaiting me five years later but after her death when I was privileged to visit her home. The data mentioned follows this letter from her." I debated whether to limit myself to the 1938 date or to say "1938 to ca 1941"; my reason for not choosing the second was only that it seemed overly vague.

I hope that I have made these points clear to you.

Thank you, Gene.

We had a warm holiday, with family visitors yesterday through tomorrow, and another two today. We talked some genealogy — I'm the only one doing it, but the others are interested (also, I'm the only one retired — the others still have time-consuming jobs). We did some family history of our own, looking at a series of scanned photos, plus some more not yet scanned.

My daughter prompted my husband to video tape my memories of VJ day and also of a funny incident at my 16th birthday party (the week-end following Uncle Charley's visit) THEN she suggested that I look at these pictures one by one and use them to prompt myself for the family stories that we all wish I would remember and write down. I'll have to try this; I think she may have had a truly productive idea — I tend to freeze up when I think about doing this, so the photos may open up the ideas.

Tomorrow (or Sunday) after the guests leave, I will get back to this citation and remove the burden of the copyright date. It is available from Reunion but was added to the citation by me, so I can easily remove it.

The relationship I recorded is what Reunion calculates by counting down from the common ancestor — My gg grandfather, who is grandfather to both Lide and Charley; her mother and my g grandfather were sister and brother (I really don't understand any of the various ways of figuring this type of relationship). I would have thought she was my father's first cousin once removed and my second cousin!

Since we began this discussion, I jumped ahead of my research a bit, trying to find the date of Uncle Charley's death. I was overtired, so I'm not sure what I did find, but I've saved records and/or location addresses to my desktop for later review. But I really ought to pull back from Charley's generation and concentrate more on problems closer to my time.

Right now, I am trying to organize all the source records for all the "hit-and-miss" records I gathered in my early mass collecting days before my sources grow wildly beyond the 50 some that are now used by Reunion. I am also making a rough research log for each resource: this "log" will mostly detail problems, solutions, and future research for the people involved. I know that I cannot got back two years and write down what I should have done then, but I can leave me a trail of conclusions and problems so that I won't need to retrace old ground at frequent intervals. And finally, I am trying to describe the problems we have within our parents' generation. When I get these problems clarified in my mind I'll probably come to "Most Wanted" to learn how to deal with them. My grandparents' generation (including Uncle Charley and Lide) should probably wait till after we "solve" their children's records.

But the manuscript we've been discussing is Reference 6 in my Reunion materials, so I've been spending time with as part of the citation clean-up.

I thank you again for your help. To quote a friend of my younger daughter's: "I am starting to begin to commence" to understand what type if citation is needed for family papers of this type. Today I started exploring the contents of Chapter 2 of Evidence Explained. Elizabeth Shown Mills says early in the chapter that choosing citation styles is an art. You are helping me work my way into the mysteries of this art.




© 2022   Created by Nat Ins for Genealogical Studies.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service