Tuesday, June 11, 2024

June 2024 Newsletter

 Privy Examination 

A Privy Examination: 16 - 20th centuries
A separate "private" examination to confirm that the sell of "her" property was not due to coercion or pressure from her husband. The law required the Judge or Justice of Peace to obtain, and note, the married woman's consent as a step in signing the legal document.

Her Pride

What is the Meaning of "Lesbian"
Pride Month led me to ask "What does "lesbian mean?" Which led me to wonder how long has the word lesbian been used to describe relationships. Well, the word "lesbian" has its roots in ancient Greek culture and literature, specifically linked to the life and works of Sappho and the island of Lesbos from c. 630-570 BCE. Evolved from the association with Sappho and her works, the term "lesbian" began to be used in the late 19th century to refer to female homosexuality. 

History and historical documents and writings tell us alternative lifestyles have always existed. And, as genealogists, it's hard to be blind to the records that reveal our ancestors' secrets.  I've written about some of my non-traditional unions already. The relationship of Elena DeSayn and Alice Eversman was revealed through IRS tax records awaiting me at the Library of Congress. Read Library of Congress Holdings. 

6 Tips to Start Your Research
  1. Read: Was Grandma a Feminist? shhh... Her Secret Life? Many women were feminists. But, it is here that we often uncover names and associates. But more research is required to understand your female ancestors. There have always been advocates, and those who wanted freedom  to speak, financial anonymity, sexual choices, and to buck against the cultural construct. 
  2. Divorce Records: I was able to uncover spousal accusations, with names in divorce records.
  3. Asylum records: Yes, "unnatural" relationships could have caused an ancestor to be institutionalized
  4. University Special Collections. I've had great success here but stay tuned. Will be posting a full blog and will add the link here once completed. 
  5. Newspapers and Journals: The Feminist movement was well covered across America. It is here where many uncover their ancestors names. However, one must not assume an ancestor was a lesbian due to their involvment. Some were fighting for rights and many had support of her husbands. But, further research may provide more information on the organization, there parites (sometimes rumored), or their boldness.
  6. "Boston Marriage" keyword. This keyword is a big hint that your ancestor had a non-traditional marriage. The relationship may have been platonic, or a "sympathetic union.Or, it may have been their preferred life-time mate in which many would say they were lesbians
St. Louis Globe - Democrat, 1894, pg 27

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AI: Make It Work For You
We heard you.  You wanted proof. It's easy. Let us show you how to use FamilySearch Experimental AI.

Step 1: Log in using your free familysearch.org accout.

Step 2. Go to the home page by clicking on the Family Search logo on the upper left-hand coner. 


Step 3.  Scroll down to the far right bottom of the page and find VIEW EXPERIMENTS. Keep in mind it is in beta, so the image placements may change, but the wording has so far been the same. 

Step 4.  In the middle of the top row, you will see this image with Expand your search with Full Text. And Go to Experiment. 
Feel free to try all the buttons, but this is the one you were asking about after the last podcast. 

Step 5. Start Your Search using Keywords. Trying to find relationships?

This gave 5545 returns. With both names in quotes it translates just find ever occurence of Thomas Baird and/or Polly Baird. This would allow me to gather places, timeframes, names, etc.  But it's AI, I can narrow that if I need to.

Now the Search Tips give you little to work with, but here are a few suggestions. 

Are you needing to narrow your search? In my wide search, I learned there are several Thomas Bairds and several Polly Bairds in Ohio. I need the correct 1) Polly Baird 2) I need to confirm her relationship with Thomas, 2) I need her to be married or widowed to a Samuel Thompson.  Of, course there are times when we have to widen our search. For example, Wonder how many Thomas and Polly Bairds there are in Ohio?But I want only documents that have both names in it and the bonus if S. Thompson is also named in the same document.  You can put all three in your search, but for our purpose (and my need to narrow down one step at a time), I'm showing yu how I do it. 

So, I add the "+" sign before each person of interest with the "quotes.. This translates to I want all the occurences of these names in the "same" document. 

Wow!That gave only two documents with them together and both documents are in Hamilton Ohio. That was a big lead for me. I wasn't sure where they had moved to/from. 

Big Bonus
These documents answered all my questions. It not only named Polly, it confirmed Thomas was her father and Samuel was her husband. 
Oh...and I learned the cause of my confusion

Polly Baird was the daugther of Thomas Baird by his first wife, Jane Kilgore, the daughter of Charles Kilgore of County Knox, Indiana Territory. Here's a link to the document: bit.ly/45ydxW1
Now do you see why I love this AI program?

A Bit More Under ther Umbrella: 
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Kathleen Brandt & The Board of Tracing Ancestors

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