This is the portal to a genealogy database that I have been working on for some time.
I started down this road some years ago when the Girlchild (I avoid identifying the living by name, here and elsewhere) started to study history and her reaction was not what I expected. She didn't seem impressed, and so I set out to show her a different approach. The end result of my attempt to use family to stir up interest and enthusiasm in history is this website.
It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but don't be put off. The simplest way to think about it is, there is one page for each person in the genealogy, and families are collections of pages. You can look at an individual's sheet, or at a family summary, or you can look at a tree in the traditional sense to track things over time. If you are asked to log in, use the username visitor and the password visitor to gain access. You'll be able to see a good deal that way. If you'd like to explore further, please get in touch so I can set up an account for you, or use this form.
To get you started exploring, please see any of the individuals highlighted below.
A fully illustrated introduction and navigation guide is available here. You can return to it whenever you need to remind yourself of how to get something done. If you have ideas for how the tutorial could be improved, please let me know.
PLEASE NOTE that the wiki is not currently up and running. I've had to make some changes in the software, and it will be a good while before it's all functional.
Most everyone is familiar with Wikipedia, but you may not be aware that wikis are used widely across the internet to organize information. The genealogy pages themselves are not a good place to tell longer stories. Large images and documents are also not suited to the genealogy database layout Further, trial transcripts, newspaper clippings, book and article excerpts are difficult to format and to read, so I've begun shifting such documents from the database to the new stellawiki. For the moment the wiki is there to provide in depth information about individuals or their families, and about places. Clicking on the small icon next to an individual's (or place's) name will take you to the right wikipage -- if one already exists. And I would be thrilled if you are interested in participating. The example page (click on the icon) is about Winifred King Benham who was tried for witchcraft three times -- and survived.
For those who haven't really looked into the finer points of genealogy, this important note: If you do not see a reliable source cited as evidence for a piece of information, then you must consider it to be conjecture. If you happen to know an undocumented fact is true (for example, you find your great grandfather here, and you've got a copy of his death certificate) then please email me about that.
Otherwise please think of what you read as possibility waiting for documentation. It might be fun or shocking or just plain absurd. It might be true. It might not be. We may never know.
Given the fact that so much of genealogy is founded on the availablity of solid documentation, errors are inevitable. If you run across a date or other information you know is wrong, please do contact me. I am more than happy to stand corrected. You'll note also that on each individual's page there's a link just below the name "submit photo/document." If you don't see a photo of your parents or your grandparents (or your kids) here, and you think there should be such a photo, then please submit a digital photo to be included. Same with birth and marriage certificates, passports, any documents you may have about earlier generations will help fine tune the data here.
I'm especially interested in photos and old documents, so please don't throw them away. If you send them to me I will scan them and send the originals back to you. And I'd be thrilled to do it. I also have a good collection of photos of people I can't name. Some are dour old men, but every once in a while there's a photo to make you laugh out loud (see the kids above).
Copyright is a topic I think about alot, primarily because I make my living as writer. As any writer will tell you, copyright is necessary if authors and musicians and others like them are going to eat. My novels are copyrighted, and my publishers would take anybody to court who impinged on those copyrights, and rightly so.
However. I note that many people who put genealogical data on websites sprinkle copyright warnings liberally throughout, and I find it hard to understand what is meant by that, or what they hope to accomplish. If someone spends years writing a book on Family X and publishes it, then yes. Copyright, of course. By all means.
It won't come as a surprise that there are some unpleasant people in the family, but the scope is kind of impressive. We have Pennsylvanian slaveholders (one of whom had a son by one of his slaves, a boy he baptized 'Sin'); ax-murderers, vendetta and family feud enthusiasts with murder in their hearts, bigamists, innkeepers with less than ethical business practices, and sticky fingered persons of all ages, nationalities and both sexes.
But there is a spirit of tightfistedness about some genealogical work that surprises and disconcerts me. We are not talking about people who do this for a living, but those who pursue it out of love of history and family. Do people yell 'copyright!' because they want credit for original work they've done? In genealogy I would guess that truly original work is rare, but sure, credit should be given where it's due. But why get all bellicose and confrontational about it?
I have put no copyright claims on these pages for a number of reasons. First, because I believe that genealogical data should be shared freely. If by some fluke I am the first person to stumble across a piece of information about an ancestor, I am pleased, of course, but I try to keep it in perspective. Yes, I find it exciting to know for sure that a great aunt twice removed was married to a minor novelist, and yes, the notice in the paper is really interesting for a lot of different reasons. But to claim that I somehow own that information is, to put it bluntly, absurd. If I want to keep it to myself with a horde of other little facts that (let's be honest) are of little interest to the world at large, why then I'll hide it away in my (imaginary) safe deposit box, with my (imaginary) Krugerands.
The whole point of genealogy, it seems to me, is to make connections. So instead of hiding away those six lines from a 130 year old newspaper, I put it up on the web. Maybe somebody else will come along with another piece of the puzzle and send it to me and then we'll both know a whole lot more. Maybe somebody named Josephine will print it out and take it to Sunday dinner at Aunt Erma's and claim that it's her discovery, and wow, isn't she clever. Should I get upset about that? Vow revenge? Hire a lawyer? Life is too short. I can't work up any emotions for poor Josephine beyond amusement and a little pity.
Would I prefer that Josephine give me credit rather than claiming my few original discoveries as her own? Well, sure. Most certainly I do care, and care very much, that I give credit to other researchers where it's due.
And here's the thing I care about most: I hate, absolutely hate the idea that anybody would take information they find here and pass it off as fact without making sure of the citations and sources. I don't want to be responsible for the proliferation of any more bad genealogy. Dog knows there's enough of it out there already. So I'm dead serious when I say: check the sources.*
Much of the research presented here is my own, but the majority of it came from other places. Many pieces of information I found multiple times in multiple ancestral files or on-line genealogies, without documentation. Of course it could be wrong all 1,724 times, just another error being proliferated. So I make sure that people looking at my data know that unsubstantiated data is just that: awaiting confirmation. In that case, I don't try to cite the 1,724 people who all tell me that Antonia di Giglio was born 1 April 1845 in Naples, because none of them have provided a verifable citation. But if YOUR website includes Antonia's birth record with numbers and dates and references, I will give credit to you and then, sigh, I will do my best to double check the source myself. I give credit where it is due, wherever and whenever possible. If I have overlooked something, please bring it to my attention. Really.
*While there are many excellent software packages available for recording genealogical data, none of them cope with sources/bibliography/citation complexities at all well. I've been looking for a way to handle this for ten years at least, without success. So my academic-self is apologizing for what will certainly seem to be incomplete or oddly formatted sources and citations. It is something I'm working on, but it's a lonely business as others don't seem too concerned with what is, to me, crucial.
My name is Rosina Lippi. I'm a writer, researcher, editor and academic. There's more information about my work-self here, if you are interested.
The larger genealogy project is composed of three primary parts:
The data can be accessed by means of
Other useful pages include
Any and all information about persons still living is blocked from public view. However, if you have a documentable connection to one of the families and would like to contribute more directly, please contact me and we can talk about the possibility of setting up an editor's account for you.
Please don't forget to have a look at the illustrated tutorial, which will make the basics of navigation much clearer.
Genealogy is a team sport. The only way to make any progress is to interact with other people who are already immersed, and to dig into the books and newspapers. Luckily it's easy to do those things these days; so much is available online, it's sometimes staggering. (And still, crucial things that should be easy to find simply will not come out of hiding). Some of what's included here: images of original census sheets and ships' manifests, transcripts of wills, architectural drawings, newspaper clippings, and on it goes.
There are a few genealogists who have gathered together data and make it available, often through print, but increasingly online as well. Suggestions on where to get started below.
Some of the most intractable hidden or cloaked ancestors include the following individuals (the links will take you to weblog posts)
Note that these men each married more than once.