A generation gone…

On Monday, December 15th my last grandparent passed away. William Atkinson Shepard, jr. He was 94 years old. Only few weeks short of being 95.

Bill, as he was known by family, was the son of William Atkinson Shepard, sr. and Rachel Hays. He was born in Ohio spending his formative years there and first saw my future grandmother, Lois Shaw, while sitting in church one day.

He joined the US Army Air Corps (which eventually became the United States Air Force), on June 12, 1942 during World War II.

Bill and Lois had 5 children. The first, William Gerald, didn’t live but a day after being born. Lawrence Alan died in a car accident in 1978 after being hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel.

I am sorry that I didn’t know my grandparents better, but travel and distance made it difficult. My favorite memory of my grandfather is his stories, he was a great story teller, certainly not a skill I inherited. He would open the trunk in the attic of their house on Sugar Hill in Maine and pull out stories of Brer Rabbit and that briar patch and read them to me and my brother and sister.

Like my grandmother he donated his body to science.

I can’t really find the words to memorialize my grandfather with, but I do have pictures. So here are a few of my favorites. Starting with Bill and Lois looking so young, starting their life out together.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Sue and Ken, the eldest two.

This is grandfather in Korea.

My favorite picture of me and my grandfather, this would have been about 1963.

Lazy genealogists…

A cool tree you can find at: http://www.bespokecustomgifts.com/personalized-gifts/Type-of-Gift/Artwork/diy-peacock-family-tree-personalized.

A lot has changed in the 15 years I have been pursuing our family’s history. Many resources are easier to find and access, digitization of records has improved greatly, and more people than ever have jumped on the genealogy bandwagon.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that all these folks want to research their family’s history, and I want to encourage anyone who is interested to dip their toe in the water. But the problem is the majority of these newbies seem to think all they have to do is copy the data from one person’s tree to their own and violà they are done. Sorry, but true genealogy is actually hard work. But work that us true genealogist really enjoy.

The only reason I bring this up is, first I find it extremely annoying to see more and more of these trees online and second, this is lazy genealogy for which I have no patience or respect.

Case in point. I am trying to prove that Thomas R. Stackpole, my 3x great grandfather on my Shepard side, is indeed the son of Richard and Margaret Stackpole. To do this I have been researching land records for Harrison and Marion Counties in Virginia/West Virginia where Richard and Margaret were living during a certain time period. I was hoping to find land records related to Richard and Thomas that might connect them. Well I didn’t, but I did find a land record from 1852 showing Richard and Margaret selling their property which was located on the Teverbaugh River in Marion County, but they were living in Tyler County at the time the deed was created. The 1850 census shows them living in Marion County. (This census also has a son Thomas living with them, but the age doesn’t quite match, so I have never been sure that this was my Thomas.) So sometime between 1850 and 1852 the Richard Stackpole family picked up and moved to Tyler County.

Thomas Stackpole married Lydia Lemasters in Tyler County in 1851, a daughter, Dorcas, who had been listed in the 1850 census record, also married in 1851, to a Christopher Sees.

In 1854 in Marion County, John Stackpole is selling land he inherited to a Richard Stackpole, jr. Neither of these two persons are as of yet connected to Richard, sr., but the fact that one of them is a junior and the property being sold is on Teverbaugh River in Marion County, and John lived in Tyler County, makes a strong argument that Richard, sr. is indeed their father and he had died by 1854. The 1860 census appears to meld these different bit of data together even closer. Margaret is living with Dorcas and Richard is no where to be found. A few pages away in this same census we find John Stackpole, Dallas LeMasters(my 2x great gramps), whose daughter Lydia married Thomas, Thomas Stackpole and other Lemasters families, all related. Putting all these bits together is making for a very strong argument. But, there is still more work to do, only now all in Tyler County.

What has all this got to do with lazy genealogy? Well, I am working hard on the research to try to make the connection and will continue to do so until I am satisfied with the results whatever they may be. All of the trees that I keep finding online for Richard and Margaret have merely copied someone else’s tree, and all have the same exact incorrect information, which includes his death, with no apparent effort to actually do the research themselves. Lazy. Not only lazy, but these trees make for a useless resource for helping others with their research.

This is just one example. I don’t have the time or the energy to list all the others.