Sunday, May 3, 2015

Compilers of Family Genealogies

John Douglas Gallup, compiler of the earliest Gallup genealogy, 1893

Who are the Compilers?

At NERGC 2015, D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, presented a thought provoking session titled, "Printed Legends and Missing Footnotes". I was looking forward to this session and it was wonderful. Many of my friends were in the audience.

Some years ago, I started reading about my ancestors that lived in Connecticut because so many of them were of the family of Capt. George Denison. As those people are recorded in my family Bible. I figured it was a good place to start with entering them into my first genealogy database from the paper records I have kept for years.

I never thought much about the compiled genealogies and history books I was using. The authors or compilers were listed as educated men with professional jobs like judge, physician, or ministers. When I had access to vital records, the information compiled matched the actual records. 

But, where did the information come from and how did they put it together to make a book? Did they have access to vital records? Did they walk in the same cemeteries I have visited? I got a chill just thinking about it. That's high energy genealogy for sure!

Later versions of these compiled genealogies did give credit to previous compilers and offered a biography of them. But, who were these "compliers" and how are they related to me? Can I use the information given by Mr. Taylor to verify information I can't be sure of? That is my project-based genealogy for this month.

As I have been researching Gallup family members in a gated cemetery on private land, I began to take a good look at the four compiled genealogies I am using with new eyes. As shown under the photo of the compiler, here is a crop of the section about him from his own book (on page 132). Does his biography in later versions give us more to learn about him? It will take me a lot of coffee to find out. Stay tuned.

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