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Title: Concerning Genealogies
Author: Allaben, Frank
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Director of the Genealogical and Biographical Department
of The Grafton Press; Compiler of the Biographical
Volumes of The Memorial History of New York
and of Leslie's History of Greater New York

[Illustration: Logo]


Copyright 1904 by


This little book puts the pleasure of tracing one's ancestry within
reach of those who have had no previous practice. It covers every phase
of the subject--the sources of information, the methods of research, the
compiling, the printing, and the publishing of a genealogy.

Strong emphasis is laid upon the importance of employing the historical
method, without which no genealogical work can become authoritative. If
we may judge from most of the family histories in print, a vigorous
protest against pernicious methods should be lodged with professional
genealogists as well as with amateurs.

Special attention is also called to the radically different plans for
genealogical works, one tracing the many descendants of a common
ancestor, the other tracing the many ancestors of a common descendant.
There is a general drift toward the latter, many having discovered the
fascination of exploring their direct lines of descent who would not
care to trace the collateral branches of a family "tribe." But a
detailed plan of work devoted to the exhibit of the many lines of one's
own ancestry is here formulated for the first time. This "Grafton
Plan," as we have called it,--already carried into execution, and
approved by experience,--will appeal to thousands for whom "tribal"
genealogies have little interest.

Our little volume also offers something more than a mere theory of how
to proceed in genealogical work. It tells of labor-saving notebooks
devised for each kind of genealogy, and explains ways in which our own
genealogical department is placed at the service of the reader.



CHAPTER                         PAGE
  I ANCESTRY HUNTING               9


III COMPILING                     29

 IV THE "CLAN" GENEALOGY          37


 VI THE PRINTING                  56

VII PUBLISHING                    64




Everyone has leisure moments which are apt to hang heavy upon one's
hands unless employed in some sort of recreation. One turns to golf and
outdoors, another goes forth with gun or rod, a third arms himself with
a camera. Many dabble a little in science. Some take to the telescope
and star-gazing, while the microscope claims others, who haunt scummy
ponds with jars and bottles in search of diatoms, and other denizens of
a drop of stagnant water. One goes in for bugs, another for ferns or
fungi. Others, of a bookish turn of mind, do their hunting in the dark
corners of second-hand bookstores, hoping to stumble upon a first
edition or some other treasure.

But it is doubtful if the whole range of hobbies can produce anything
half so fascinating as the hunt for one's ancestry. This combines the
charm and excitement of every other pastime. What sportsman ever bagged
such royal game as a line of his own forebears? What triumph of the rod
and reel ever gave the thrill of ecstasy with which we land an elusive
ancestor in the genealogical net? If any proof be needed of the
fascination of this pursuit, behold the thousands who are taking it up!
The nooks and crannies of civilization are their hunting-grounds--any
corner where man has left a documentary trace of himself. Behold them,
eager enthusiasts, besieging the libraries, poring over tomes of deeds
and wills and other documents in State and county archives, searching
the quaint and musty volumes of town annals, thumbing dusty pages of
baptismal registers, and frequenting churchyards to decipher the
fast-fading names and dates on mossgrown tombstones, yellow and stained
with age, or cracked and chipped by the frosts and rains of many

A tidal wave of ancestry-searching has indeed swept over the country.
Genealogical and biographical societies have been organized. Periodicals
have sprung up which confine themselves exclusively to this subject.
Newspapers are devoting departments to it. The so-called patriotic
societies and orders have become a host, with branches in nearly every
State. They count their members by tens of thousands, their rolls are
steadily increasing, and new societies are constantly being organized.
There is scarcely an achievement in which our ancestors took part which
has not been made the rallying-point of some flourishing society. All
these draw life and nourishment from the mighty stream of genealogical
research. We must prove that we have had ancestors, and that one or more
of them had the distinction celebrated by the particular organization at
whose door we knock for admission.

Librarians and the custodians of public records bear witness to this
great movement. The libraries have become wonderfully popular, thronged
by multitudes who have enrolled themselves in the army of amateur
genealogists. So onerous has become the work of handing out historical
and genealogical books that in some large libraries such works have been
gathered into alcoves which are thrown open to the public, where the
ancestry-hunter may help himself.

Formerly such public records as deeds and wills constituted the special
preserve of the lawyer. But his monopoly is a thing of the past. The
genealogist has invaded this domain and established equal rights. He
still leaves to the lawyer the dry searching of titles to property,
choosing for himself the pleasanter task of sifting out important data
for the biography of an ancestor, or for the proofs of a line of

Old church record books, with their marriage and baptismal registers,
have acquired an extraordinary value. In many cases these volumes have
been rescued out of dark corners and from beneath accumulations of dust
and débris where they had been tossed as ecclesiastical junk. But the
pastors and church secretaries who unearthed them, at the instance of
inquiring genealogists, have now discovered a profitable occupation for
their leisure in transcribing items for correspondents. Indeed, a number
of societies are now engaged in collecting these old registers, or in
making transcripts for their archives.

What is the subtle attraction which draws these multitudes--the
fascination which lures so many into genealogical research? We have
hinted that the pursuit of ancestry yields the exhilaration both of the
chase and the stillhunt, kindling the suspense of expectation into
sudden thrills of discovery, as keen as those when the wary canvas-back
flies low over the blind, or a pair of antlers comes crashing through
the brush.

But while genealogical research affords all the excitement of the chase,
it is followed by no reproach for having taken life, but by the
permanent satisfaction peculiar to the benefactor of mankind. The
ancestry-hunter does not kill, but brings to life. He revives the
memories of the dead, and benefits the world with an honorable
contribution to the science of history. For a trophy he does not show a
string of fish, nor a few birds and skins to distribute among friends,
but a genuine historical work of ever-increasing value, which hands down
his name to an appreciative posterity.

We have compared the peculiar delight of establishing a family link,
long shrouded in mystery or attended with harassing doubts, to the
angler's joy in landing a notable catch. In both cases the issue may
long hang in the balance between skilful manipulation and a possible
stroke of bad luck, which no skill can guard against. The fish may be
reeled in or given his head without a single mistake of judgment. But
who can foresee the sharp rock, the hidden snag, which cuts or entangles
the line? And so, too, is skill most richly rewarded in searching for
ancestors; but what can it avail against the positive wiping out of
indispensable records?

We recall one of these genealogical tragedies, which cast its shadow
over a remarkable record of successes in tracing a number of interesting
lines for a gentleman who could start us off with no more than the names
and birth-places of his parents. Two lines remained which pointed back
by strong evidence to European connections of the titled class. All that
was needed in one case was a clue to show to which of several branches
of the family in Great Britain, the first American ancestor belonged.
But to this day that clue has eluded every attempt to pick it up by
research here or abroad.

Cases which are parallel up to this point are not uncommon. But the
tragedy has yet to be told. At the colonial homestead of this ancestor
we learned that his personal papers had, indeed, been preserved from
generation to generation. Their last owner, a maiden lady, had carefully
kept them in an old trunk, which was itself an ancient heirloom. But she
had never taken the pains to examine their contents, and only a short
time before our investigation brought us upon the scene, these hoary
documents, after surviving the vicissitudes of seven generations, had
been destroyed in a fire which reduced the old house to ashes!

Who can express the sorrow of it? No finder of Captain Kidd's buried
treasure could gloat over Spanish doubloons and glittering gems with
half the delight with which we would have contemplated those ancient
parchments. How fondly our fingers would have turned the precious pages
and smoothed the creases of those yellow papers! But now no hand may
touch them, no antiquarian's eye explore nor pen exploit their contents
to the world! If our friend had only sought his forebears earlier, and
launched us sooner upon the voyage of discovery!

The other line, it is true, had no disappointments for us. It even
yielded the discovery and possession of an original parchment pedigree,
signed by an official herald of arms, which the ancestor had brought
over with him, exhibiting his descent from the many Sir Williams and Sir
Johns of an ancient Lincolnshire family extending back nearly to the
Conqueror. It also enabled us to confirm the connection through official
sources in England, and to prove that the emigrant was the son and heir
in the line of primogeniture. For these kind favors, we trust that we
were truly thankful. But they could scarcely comfort us for the lost
papers which might have carried back another line in the same
distinguished fashion.

Thus, genealogy has its griefs as well as its joys--some disappointments
among many triumphs. But so it is with life and with everything worth
while. Who would care to measure skill with a gamefish if the creature
had no chance? Or who would glory in the death of a bull-moose that a
look could bowl over? In genealogical research it is the part played by
skill and by the unknown quantities which gives to it all the
fascination, with none of the risks and evils, of a great game of skill
and chance.

Another pleasure is the sensation of original discovery. Would you
experience the feelings of a Columbus? Then set forth to explore the
unsailed seas and hidden continents of your own or some other person's
ancestry! If your own happens to be virgin territory you are one of
fortune's favorites, with the ripest joys of life just before you. Nor
is it any question of great achievements or high social position enjoyed
by the ancestor. The truth is that all ancestors are remarkable persons.
In the first place they are _our_ ancestors, and in the second place it
is a noteworthy fact, as mysterious as delightful, that every homely
feature about them wears a wondrous glamour and dignity. Their
homesteads, their property, their church affiliations, their signatures,
any little act of barter or sale,--all these items create an absorbing
interest as they stand recorded in old archives.

We remember, as if it were yesterday, the peculiar charm of the simplest
details in clearing up our family history. The most that parents, aunts
and great-uncles could give was a vague tradition of a certain
great-great-grandfather, a captain in the Revolution whose chief
distinction seemed to have been his success in getting captured by the
British and having his silver knee buckles stolen by a Tory. Of course
he subsequently escaped, met that Tory, knocked him down, and recaptured
the silver buckles.

Turning to the records we were able to identify this energetic patriot
without trouble, although in the process he dwindled from a "captain" to
a "sergeant," and even held the latter title on a rather uncertain
tenure, having been once "reduced." Indeed, his military record ends
(shall we confess it?) with the rather compromising word, "deserted."
But what of that? This flesh-and-blood progenitor is much more to our
liking than any starched and laced dignitary of the imagination. And
while history saith not concerning the knee buckles, that he was ready
with his fists seems altogether probable in the light of his subsequent
career. His title of "captain" was acquired at sea. He commanded a craft
in the waters of Long Island, where he met an untimely death--through
"foul play," says that old gossip Tradition, whose tongue we dare not
trust. Features of mystery still remain, and if we knew all, it is
possible that we could lay claim to a picturesque pirate--a most
desirable addition to any family line, and especially so if he escaped

Much as we delighted in this liberty-loving individual, the reader will
understand that we thought well to look backward for a more sober
character to maintain the family dignity. We found several who filled
the rôle of quiet respectability to perfection, and thus reached the
emigrant-founder of the line, a gentleman who drew our special
affections by the extreme littleness of his greatness and the romantic
character of his surroundings. He was of French Huguenot descent, a
weaver by trade, and possessed of a "frame for a dwelling house ...
twenty foot in length and sixteen foot in bredth," and other realty in
the shape of an acre of woodland and an acre of upland "lying in a place
called Hog-Neck," bounded by "a cove west" and "ye Goose Creek north."
What distinctions! Not every one can boast such a progenitor, a wielder
of loom and shuttle on the lordly promontory of Hog-Neck, where the
gentle waters of Goose Creek flow into the sea, near the ancient town of

We could not doubt that such a character had other claims to
distinction; and sure enough, the achievement of having loitered in this
world for ninety-six and one-half years is carved upon his tombstone in
the old cemetery where he rests beside a third wife, who herself
attained to ninety-two summers! Peace be to their ashes! We can almost
see this famous ancestor, the patriarch of the village, toiling down its
long street under the weight of the honor of his many years, responding
to the greetings of man, woman and child with a cheery nod and a
pleasant French accent. We would not have one single feature changed in
order to place him upon a higher pedestal.

His father and grandfather, as we learn from old documents, were elders
and leaders in one of the French churches established in England by the
Huguenots in the sixteenth century. But the dignity of these men,
banished from their native soil by the atrocities of St. Bartholomew's
day, can not outshine the quiet glory of the aged weaver of Hog-Neck
and Goose Creek, nor even put to shame the restless career of their
later descendant of the Revolutionary epoch. In fact, throughout the
entire ancestral line we found every progenitor perfect in his place and
after his kind. And so has it ever been with the genealogist, and so
will it be to the end of time.

We may add that genealogical work is literary work--a fact which adds
immensely to its fascination. The genealogist tastes all the delights of
authorship, added to those of research and discovery; and it is the
purpose of this little volume to bring these pleasures within the reach
of all. For is there a reader of books who would not take delight in
making one, if he thought himself competent and the labor not too great?



It will not require much space to indicate the main sources of
information in genealogical research. Having decided to trace back our
own lines, we naturally turn first to the living members of our family.
If we have parents living and accessible,--grandparents,
great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, cousins, or others who
are likely to know more about the family than we do,--let us consult
them, personally if we may, by letter if we must. We expect to learn
most from the older members of the family, provided that their faculties
are unimpaired. Certainly we should make no delay in applying to the
aged, before the opportunity passes away forever.

But when we have gathered all the facts and traditions which these
sources can contribute, the main work of research begins. Our advice at
this point can be given here only in a general way. "The next thing to
do" depends upon the peculiar circumstances of each case--upon the known
facts, the localities to-which they point, and the character of the
resources in each locality. We have devised a plan of rendering
assistance in such cases to those who need it which will be explained at
the end of this chapter.

In a general way we here refer to the wills, deeds, intestate records,
tax and court records on file at the county seats, and to the
miscellaneous records, often of great value for genealogical purposes,
on file at the State Capitals. The value of church registers has been
mentioned. They contain membership rolls, and records of marriages,
baptisms and deaths. In many cases the date of birth is given with that
of baptism. In New England and many other places, the old town records
are exceedingly valuable sources, the births of children being
frequently recorded, besides early property transactions, contracts, and
much else showing the status of the early settlers in the community.

The records in old family Bibles are often "shortcuts," while other
family papers, if old, frequently have a special value. The records on
tombstones are a resource apparent to all. The Pension Bureau at
Washington has records of the soldiers of the Revolutionary and later
wars who drew pensions. Early warrants for the survey of lands are
recorded at many State Capitals. A large miscellaneous collection of
historical manuscripts, many of them containing genealogical
information, will be found in the custody of historical and genealogical

The resources in libraries are almost endless. The genealogical works
already published are a host in themselves, to which we must add the
genealogies given completely, or in part, in periodicals. The line we
are interested in may have appeared in one of them, or may be referred
to in their pages. Certain indexes in book form help us to find them,
and should be consulted at the outset.

Many States have published their archives, and of town and county
histories there are not a few. A number of important church registers
can be consulted in print, and even the tombstone inscriptions have, in
some cases, been published. The Revolutionary records of most of the
States are now accessible in printed form, as are many of the valuable
papers held by historical and genealogical societies. In certain
libraries can be found a large collection of exceedingly valuable
genealogical and heraldic works covering the countries which contributed
the bulk of early emigration to the American colonies and States--Great
Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Germany. The publishers of this
book have arranged a means for placing these and other library sources
at the service of those who do not have access to them, or who have not
the time or disposition to consult such authorities for themselves. This
plan is described at the end of the chapter.

Having learned all that relatives can tell us about our family, we are
ready to turn to these other sources. All systems of gathering
information are systems of taking notes. Thus the question of proper
notebooks presents itself. This matter, however, we relegate to other
chapters, in connection with the two plans for genealogical works, for
each plan has its suitable notebook. But here we simply remark that the
question is all-important. Upon its solution depends our escape from the
old task-master, Drudgery, who stands ready to burden the pleasure of
our pursuit with pains and toil if we do not circumvent him.

Use plenty of paper, writing on one side only, in a plain hand. Write
with pen and ink where possible. A good fountain pen is a handy friend,
though some libraries do not permit its use when consulting books. In
such cases a lead pencil must be employed. We prefer a moderately soft
one, which makes a heavy black mark without tiring the hand by requiring
much pressure, and we carry several, well sharpened, with a knife to
keep them so.

There is only one right way of making notes, and that is to give the
full authority for our facts when we note the facts themselves. This
applies to personal information, as well as to that obtained from books
and documents. Take the case of the information obtained from our
relatives. Was some of it secured by correspondence? If so, the letter
itself gives the name and address of the informant, together with the
date. This is as it should be. But if it is not certain whether some
part of the contents is based upon the personal knowledge of the writer,
the statements of another, hearsay, or general tradition, it is well to
write again and have the source of the information clearly established.
Only so can we rightly judge of its value. If our information was
obtained in a conversation, the name and address of the informant should
be noted, with the date of the interview. The foundation of his
information should also be learned and recorded.

The moment of first hearing the facts, when the joy of discovery and
the satisfaction of making progress are upon us, is the psychological
moment for making our notes. It is a positive delight while the fever of
enthusiasm is high. As our informant begins his story, let us interrupt
with the cry of the enthusiast, "I must jot that down!" Out comes our
notebook, conveying to our friend a very distinct impression of the
importance of being accurate. He collects himself, and proceeds to give
his facts and traditions with the greatest care. As we stop him with
questions, or take time to write the facts, his memory is stimulated.
With skillful questions the genealogical worker can draw out all the
information, taking care to cover every point which may come up later.

In consulting books and documents we generally wish to copy in full all
important references, and we will initiate the reader into a cunning
stratagem of the old campaigner. We often run across a paper or
paragraph which we can see at a glance is a "find." We do not read it
through, but simply skim over it to make sure of the portion which we
desire, and then begin the work--nay, the delightful pastime--of copying
it. What a pleasure it is, absorbing the contents, line by line, as we
transfer it to our archives! And there is a bit of solid wisdom in this
method, for the chance of errors in copying is less when the interest is
at fever heat than when the work is done in a mechanical way.

Mistakes in copying are further diminished by placing a card or sheet
of paper above the line which we are transcribing,--a device which saves
the eyes the strain of finding the place on the page every time we look
up from the notebook. Never fail to accompany each extract copied into
the notebook with the authority from which it is taken. If from a book,
give author, title, date of publication, volume and page. If from a
public record or document, give volume and page, with the office or
society, the town or city where the original is deposited. Along with
extracts from books, it is well to note the library where they were
consulted. We may wish to refer to the books again, and are likely to
forget in which of the libraries we found them. After making an extract,
compare it with the original, to guard against errors in copying.

The true method of genealogical investigation is to follow as far as
possible the methods of the lawyer. Not, indeed, that genealogical
research has anything to do with the learned quibbles of a legal
dry-bones! Far from it. But the genealogist may well proceed as would a
lawyer whose case could only be won for his client by demonstrating a
line of descent. The value of the legal method lies in the fact that it
proceeds, step by step, toward the accumulation of _positive proofs_. If
the demonstration of an ancestral link depends upon recorded wills, the
lawyer will obtain certified copies of such wills, to be presented in
court as evidence. If the proof lies in a deed, which perhaps
demonstrates the relationship of husband and wife, or father and son, a
certified copy of the deed is secured. If the family record be found in
a Bible, and the book itself cannot be obtained for presentation in
court, the record is copied and certified, and the history of the
ownership of the book established by personal testimony or affidavits.
In the same way extracts from church registers and tombstones are
authenticated before a notary public or justice of the peace, and
personal testimony is collected in the form of affidavits. Then, even if
the originals should be destroyed, the copies are just as valuable as
legal proofs.

Every link of the chain is thus established. The lawyer knows that in
the attempt to break down his case no cunning in cross-examination will
be spared, no expedient of rebuttal left untried. He gathers the
testimony of his witnesses, and also collects evidence of the
credibility of these witnesses. Judge and jury will not only hear the
testimony, but will form a judgment of the reliability of those who give

To all who can afford the extra expense, we recommend the literal
application of the legal method. To apply it to collateral lines would
be difficult and expensive. But it is the true method of demonstrating
our direct ancestral lines, and it is especially desirable for the line
from which we have inherited our surname. Strictly legal proofs of
descent, competent to establish the genealogy in any court of law and to
justify its entry as "proved" upon the records in any European college
of heraldry, constitute most valuable and interesting family heirlooms.

While the expense of the legal method may deter some from using it, the
_historical_ method is within the reach of all. It is the legal method
minus the single feature of official certification. In other words, the
genealogist's good pen does all the copying, and in lieu of official
certification, he gives the place, volume and page where his evidence is
to be found in its original form.

A good many people will have the time to investigate personally under
either of the methods mentioned here. Many others must have the work of
research done for them; and the Genealogical and Biographical Department
of The Grafton Press will place the best skill and experience in
genealogical work at the service of any one desiring it. Investigation
will be taken up from the beginning, or at any stage, and will be
carried to the first American ancestor of a line, or continued with a
view to establishing the European connections. When the service of this
department is desired, all facts of one's ancestry, so far back as
known, should be communicated in full.

In the second place, amateurs and others are often in need of practical
counsel and a reference to authorities based upon a wider knowledge and
experience than they command. Many beginners, having ascertained the
information which relatives can give concerning their ancestors, are at
a loss as to the next step. A mere general statement of the kind of
authorities usually available, such as we have given above, does not
meet their need. They desire to be in communication with some one to
whom they may feel that they have a right to apply, and to whom they can
say, "Such and such is the case: what shall I do next? what and where
are the authorities which will help me? how shall I get at them? must I
go in person, or is there some other way? and what would you advise in
such and such a case?" At any stage in the investigation perplexing
difficulties may arise which call for expert counsel, or direction to
the proper resources. We have given much thought to devising a
thoroughly practical arrangement which will not be burdensome to either
party and will afford full liberty of consultation throughout the
progress of investigation. Let the difficulties be stated by letter.
Correspondence is always preferable to personal consultation. It gives
us time to make an investigation, if necessary, in the interest of the
inquirer, while our reply is also in written form, which is more
convenient for the worker.[1]

Our third form of practical assistance in research work is designed to
make known the resources of the New York libraries to those who cannot
reach them, or who have not the time to become familiar with their
contents. Taking the sum of its library facilities, New York City
undoubtedly offers the genealogist the best opportunity on this
continent to consult American sources, and is unrivalled in the
possession of works on the genealogy and heraldry of mediæval and modern
Europe. We refer especially to the genealogical collections of unusual
merit in the custody of the New York Public Library (Astor and Lenox
Branches), Columbia University, the New York Historical Society, the New
York Society Library, the New York Genealogical and Biographical
Society, the Holland Society and the Long Island Historical Society.

Our plan for placing these resources at the service of inquirers
involves, in the first place, a search for all the references to a given
family, the object being to cover everything recognized as bearing upon
the line of descent in which the applicant is interested. References,
not extracts, will be given; they will show the character of the data
found and give the author, title, date, volume and page of the book
containing it and the library. When these references have been sent to
the applicant, he can consult the authorities for himself, or may
arrange for the copying of any items desired, their translation, if they
are in a foreign language, or for the making of abstracts.[2]


[1] Any person becomes entitled to the service described above for the
period of one year, during which applications for advice may be made, by
remittance of a fee of $25 to The Grafton Press, Genealogical and
Biographical Department, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York City.

[2] A fee of $10 entitles one to the above service--that is, to a
report, by the Genealogical and Biographical Department of The Grafton
Press, on the references to a single family line in the New York
libraries. Additional arrangements can be made for copying, etc. One fee
covers the search under a single surname only.



We will suppose that at last the task of investigation has come to an
end. We have run our family lines back as far as our plan contemplated,
or as far as we were able to do with a reasonable amount of research.
Perhaps most of them go back to the original emigrants, but it may be
that in a case or two we have had the good fortune to make connection
with an old family stem in Europe. In any case, the work is now done. We
have made our discoveries, and scored triumphs not a few. But though the
excitement of the chase is over, its pleasures are by no means spent. Is
there no story to tell, no tale of our difficulties and exploits? Next
to the exhilaration of the hunt itself, what can compare with the mellow
joy of going over it with a comrade! Least of all can the "inevitable
narrative" be spared in a case of ancestry-hunting. It is the logical
issue of the search, and failure to weave our facts into a readable
story, after having collected them, is almost unthinkable.

Having piloted the reader safely hitherto, we must now faithfully warn
against pernicious ways, even though it should involve criticism of many
of the genealogical books which have appeared in print. The truth is
that in the great majority of such works we look in vain for the proofs
of the statements made. Authorities are not given and we do not find
systematic footnotes, nor even ordinary citations of authorities in the
text. We have nothing better than our own guess to enable us to decide
whether the compiler is giving us the fruit of original research, an
extract from another compilation, unsupported tradition, or a mere

This is most unfortunate, for a genealogical chain is no stronger than
its weakest link. Suppose that we have tested one of the statements in
such a book by our own original investigations and find it to be
erroneous. How can we feel sure that the next statement may not be
equally unreliable? The whole book therefore becomes discredited in our
eyes. With genealogists everywhere at work, the errors in such volumes
are bound to be discovered, and made public.

Any degree of confidence which we can allow ourselves in such cases
depends upon the reputation of the compiler. But no man is infallible,
and how can we know that the author's methods were such as to reduce his
errors to a minimum? It may be that our own family line has been treated
in such a book, that we have personal knowledge of the compiler, and are
well satisfied as to his carefulness and accuracy. But can we expect
others to have this same faith? How are they to be convinced that our
family history is correctly given in a book of mere assertions, backed
up by no display of authority?

Can a genealogist claim to be exempt from conditions which the greatest
historians impose upon themselves? Does a Gibbons, Macaulay, Guizot,
Motley, Prescott or Bancroft expect to withhold the sources of his
information and ask to be taken on faith? By giving the authorities for
his statements, he proves instead that he has made proper researches,
that his work is faithful, and that he can be trusted to draw judicious
conclusions. We appreciate the great labor involved in compiling an
authoritative work and understand the temptation to compile a book of
mere assertions. But we see no honest escape from the obligation to give
authorities, nor is escape desirable. For it is a sad fact that some,
who support themselves by means of genealogical investigation, manifest
no great anxiety to do honest work. They are careless in gathering their
facts, and their pretence of having surveyed a field is no assurance
that desirable data have not been overlooked or wilfully neglected. In
compiling, they are equally slipshod. Their work is always set forth in
the unauthoritative manner here condemned, and it is most desirable that
others should protect themselves from the outward appearance of a like
carelessness by giving their authorities.

The extra work which the giving of authorities is supposed to entail is
more fanciful than real. The failure to jot down the authority with each
note made in our notebook, to remind us of the actual value of each item
and to direct us where to go for its context or for reinspection, is
probably a much more substantial cause of extra work. And there is no
difficulty in giving our authorities in the manuscript prepared for the
press if this work of previous investigation has been properly done. We
can appreciate the terror of the situation for one who has failed to
note his authorities as he transcribed his extracts. After compiling his
manuscript from his notes, must he go over the whole territory covered
by his research in order to gather up the missing authorities? Unless he
is of heroic mould, he will probably refuse to do so in despair!

Thus the reader can perceive the full importance of doing the work of
investigation properly, as insisted upon in the preceding chapter. If he
has done so, there is no difficulty in compiling an authoritative work.
His note and the authority for it stand side by side, and as he uses the
one he can instantly set down the other.

We have spoken of the legal method of investigation, and said that the
genealogical investigator is like the lawyer who is getting his evidence
together. But this having been done, there remains the preparation of
the case for its presentation to the court. The work of the genealogical
compiler corresponds to this. As the lawyer's brief compels the
favorable decision of the judge, or as the logical presentation of the
case convinces the jury, so should the argument of the compiler of
family lineage convince the court of public opinion. His should be an
historical document which carries its evidence upon its face. But if his
method has been careless either in research or presentation, the
cross-examination of historical criticism is sure to tear the case to
pieces. Although a temporary decision may be given in his favor, another
investigator will eventually arise and question some of his unsupported
statements. The whole case will thus be appealed, and a new
investigation be called for.

It is perfectly true that a strictly legal method cannot be carried out
in the printed volume. Original documents can be readily presented to an
ordinary judge and jury and by them be carefully inspected. But when we
present our case from the printed page, the whole world is the court,
our readers the jury, and the printed volume itself both witness and
advocate. The original documents, though we may have them in our
possession, cannot be placed in the hands of every reader of a book.
Therefore in compiling for publication, the historical method takes the
place of a strictly legal presentation of the case. This method, as we
have already seen, simply leaves out the feature of affidavits and
certified documents, and substitutes that of references to the original
authorities. It is the legal method adjusted to the conditions of

The reward which flows from this method is easily seen. We cannot hope
that our book will be flawless. Mistakes will occur, and it may
transpire that some of our witnesses were misinformed. But what of this?
If we have followed the historical method, the pointing out of an error
in no wise invalidates our book. One witness out of the hundreds we
have called may be impeached, but this only affects the single aspect of
the case which rested on the testimony of that witness. The rest of the
testimony stands unimpaired.

On the other hand, the historical method involves no undue severity in
the character of our book. It need not be stiff and solemn and pedantic.
If we are gifted with a sprightly style, let us make the most of it. If
we see a humorous side of things, let us entertain the reader with it.
Even though one of our venerable forebears be the subject of the joke we
need not hesitate. Could we appeal to him, undoubtedly he would smile
with the rest and urge us to go ahead and make the book as bright and
lively as possible.

If we have collected portraits, photographs of old homesteads,
tombstones and churches where our ancestors worshipped, ancient
documents and other heirlooms, these should be inserted or referred to
in the proper places in the manuscript prepared for the printer. A
genealogical work embellished with illustrations has its attractiveness
increased many fold, and much can be accomplished in this direction
without incurring a very great expense.

A truly interesting genealogical work is not a dry compilation of family
statistics, but contains striking biographical pen pictures. Let these
be made as complete as possible, and the story told with all the
interest we can throw into it. We believe that the ideal genealogy is
yet to be written, and that it will present facts with the accuracy of
a Bancroft, but clothe them with the charm of an Irving. What
possibilities there are, and all in connection with a work which will
hand down our name, wreathed with the memories of our ancestors, in a
common halo of glory!

In view of what has been said it will be suspected that we do not look
with much favor upon statistical tomes, with their hieroglyphic
abbreviations, disconnected phrases, and other contortions of
condensation. This is certainly true. We would abolish all abbreviations
in genealogical works if we could, and would have the story told in
sentences framed in our mother tongue. We would have the book excellent
in matter, pleasing in style and attractive to the eye.

In closing this chapter we may add that the service of the Genealogical
and Biographical Department of The Grafton Press is intended to cover
every phase of genealogical compilation as well as of genealogical
research. The entire work will be undertaken--both the investigation of
the family lines and the preparation of the manuscript for the press, or
the data accumulated by others will be compiled. Manuscript which has
been arranged but is not satisfactory will be rearranged and edited, or
entirely rewritten, as desired.[3]

In the chapters which immediately follow, the subject of "compiling" is
continued in connection with the two forms into which a genealogical
work may be cast. As we shall see, these forms are fundamentally so
different in plan that the reader must make his choice between them at
the outset. The great point before us in the present chapter is that of
compiling so as to make an authoritative work.


[3] Address, on this subject, The Grafton Press, Genealogical and
Biographical Department, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York City. Estimates will
be given on data or manuscripts submitted.



Our chapter heading is simply a re-christening of the oldest and
hitherto the favorite plan of the American genealogist. We might rather
call it the American genealogy, for nearly all the genealogical works,
which have seen the light, are of this kind.

The plan of most of the existing works is distinctly that of the
exhibition of a genealogical tribe or clan. Its purpose is to assemble
in one book all the known descendants of a certain ancestor, or only the
male descendants who are bearers of the family surname. The head of the
clan is generally the first American emigrant, and his family becomes
"Family 1" of the book. "Family 2" will depend upon our choice of one of
two modifications of the general plan.

Let us suppose that the head of the clan is John Smith, and that he had
three children, Mary, John, and Philip, all of whom had families. If our
purpose is to exhibit the entire clan, we will make no difference
between daughters who marry and give their children the surnames of
their husbands, and sons who give their children the surname of the head
of the clan. In that case, the family of John Smith being Family 1, that
of his oldest child, Mary, will be Family 2, while the families of John
and Philip will be 3 and 4 respectively. In the third generation we will
go back to Mary's oldest child, who left descendants, who will become
the head of Family 5, followed by her other children, who had families,
in the order of birth. The children of John will next be given in order
of birth, followed by those of Philip, all who had children being
treated as heads of families to which a family number is assigned.

But the work of accounting for all the descendants becomes so irksome,
in the case of fertile families, which have to be carried through a
number of generations, that it is the prevailing custom to shirk the
responsibility of this full exhibit. Thus, only the families of sons,
and son's sons, are carried down from generation to generation. The
daughters, if their descendants bear other surnames, are set aside,
although the blood-tie is the same. The tribe itself is not exhibited,
but only that part which bears the surname of the common ancestor. This
is the modification adopted by the most eminent genealogists.

All forms of the "clan" genealogy unite collateral lines of descent by
the sentimental bond of a thin blood-tie, affording an excellent basis
for "family reunions." But they are quite unsatisfactory as attempts to
exhibit one's ancestry. If we are included in such a book, "The Smith
Family," for example, we generally find but one of our many ancestral
lines traced. And even if one or two of our Smith progenitors married
cousins of the same name, only two or three of the Smith lines will lead
down to ourselves.

Such an arrangement does not go far toward showing one's ancestry. Not a
few Americans are in the tenth generation from their earliest
forefathers on this side of the water. Hundreds of thousands are in the
seventh, eighth or ninth generation. Let us reckon the number of our
progenitors for ten generations. We had 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8
great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents, 32 ancestors of the
sixth generation, 64 of the seventh, 128 of the eighth, 256 of the
ninth, and 512 of the tenth generation.

The number of ancestors for ten generations is thus 1,022. The different
surnames represented among them may be as many as the number of
ancestors of the earliest generation--i.e., 128 for eight generations,
256 for nine, and 512 for ten generations. The actual number is
frequently lessened by the marriage of ancestors who bear the same
surname. But the general significance of the numerical argument remains.

Are we a descendant of the first John Smith, in the tenth generation and
through a single line? Then the book on "The Smith Family" will only
show 18 of our 1,022 ancestors, assuming that the wife of each of our
ancestral Smiths is mentioned. If the wives are omitted, only 9
ancestors will be shown. And in the latter case the book shows our link
with but one family and surname out of a possible 512. Or, if the book
gives the maiden names of the wives of our nine ancestral Smiths, nine
other family surnames out of the 512 will receive a bare mention. But
none of these lines will be traced.

The reader will now fully appreciate our reference to this kind of book
as the "clan" genealogy. It shows the relationships, most of them quite
distant, between the collateral branches of a single tribe; but it does
_not_ exhibit the many lines of one's ancestry. The kind of book which
accomplishes the latter object will come before us in the next chapter.

Nevertheless, the "clan" genealogy has its place. The recognition of
tribal relations has become popular, and family organizations, with the
occasional function of a "family re-union," are rapidly increasing. Many
of these organizations, embracing all the known descendants of a common
ancestor, elect regular officers, and in a few cases the whole tribe has
a legal status as a corporation.

The tribal genealogy is also favored by many who hope to make a profit
by the sale of their book. A fair-sized tribe is considered a promising
field for such an enterprise. Among several thousand clansmen a
considerable number, it is assumed, will purchase a copy of a book which
traces one of their ancestral lines. When the project is well managed
and the book properly exploited this hope is often realized very

The "clan" genealogy also finds a prominent place in local history. The
annals of a town or neighborhood having been given, these are
supplemented by monographs on the old families. Beginning with the first
settler, his descendants are traced down, each family sketch becoming a
"clan" genealogy on a small scale. This feature immensely increases the
interest of town histories, and if the tribal genealogy needs any
justification, it certainly finds it here.

Finally, there is the undoubted fact stated at the beginning of our
chapter, that the "clan" genealogy has pre-empted the field. It is the
work everywhere met, the book which is in every mind when a genealogy is
thought of.

Special difficulties attend the compiling of this kind of work, and for
the overcoming of these we have prepared a special notebook.

It should be remembered that if, instead of counting one man's
ancestors, we should reckon one man's descendants, assuming an average,
in each family, of three children who become parents, in nine
generations some 9,841 descendants would have become parents, each with
a wife or husband, making a total of 19,682 to appear in the tribal
book, without counting descendants that leave no issue!

After the ninth generation the tribe grows with leaps and bounds that
are truly mighty. A single additional generation, the tenth, would add a
new crop of no less than 39,366 husbands and wives, making a total of
59,048 tribesmen entitled to a place in the book! And the eleventh
generation--but peace! Our little work on the joys of genealogical
research shall not be marred by the statistical bore who tries to scare
with his wretched arithmetic!

In truth, formidable as the "clan" genealogy sometimes is, at present it
seldom takes in ten generations, while our estimate of family increase
is perhaps too great. And what genealogist, though he beg and implore
information of the later generations, sending out hundreds of eloquent
letters, is ever able to make a complete exhibit of a great tribe? Our
figures should not terrify, therefore, but simply compel proper
appreciation of the problem of the notebook.

How shall the data for a whole tribe be preserved until the day of
compilation, and how can we keep it from becoming a jumbled miscellany
that will drive us to despair?

The terror of the notebooks first dawned upon us just as we thought we
had the matter well in hand. It was our first extensive investigation,
and as the ancestral names increased on our research list we found that
we must make a choice of methods. Should we search the authorities for
one name at a time? Many advise this to avoid confusion, on the
principle of choosing the lesser of two evils.

But it is a clumsy method, well nigh intolerable, which leads one to
visit certain places and consult certain authorities for data on one
name, and then return over pretty much the same ground for the second,
the third, and all other names on a long list. We rejected the thought
of such a system, determining that as each authority came into our hands
we would extract whatever it contained on any of our names.

This settled, another question presented itself. Should we carry a
separate notebook for every name investigated? Our list of names was so
formidable that such an expedient threatened to transform the
genealogist into a genealogical packhorse. Hence we preferred to carry a
book or two at a time, to which we committed all our discoveries.
Previous historical training had taught us to note the authority with
each item, and we made rapid progress with the work. When one notebook
was full, another took its place. What could be more simple and

But the day came when we sat down to compile. Alas! our sins had found
us out! A stack of notebooks lay before us, and through them all were
scattered our data for each name, without system or chronological order.
Oh, the despair of going through that pile of books, turning down pages
and numbering items according to dates, in a desperate attempt to
arrange the material for each name so as to compile the facts in a
decent order!

In spite of all our care, the wretched books concealed desirable items
until our manuscript had passed the proper place of insertion,
sardonically calling our attention to the omissions when we were busy
with another subject. How we grew to hate those notebooks, and how they
tormented us with a plague of re-writing! We had a premonition that they
would conceal some things to the very last; and, sure enough, having
tortured us during the days of writing, humiliated us in the
proof-sheets, and demanded a display of errata as the book went to
press, they waited until it was nicely printed, bound and published
before making their final disclosures!

To obviate all this trouble, we now have the Grafton Genealogical
Notebook, American Form. As the last two words indicate, this notebook
embodies the arrangement of the "clan" genealogy used by the most
eminent American genealogists and adopted by such organizations as the
New England Historic-Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical
and Biographical Society.

This notebook consists of a succession of groups of pages, each group
arranged with blanks to receive the data for a whole family. The facts
are written in their proper spaces when first ascertained, and when the
work of research is finished it will be found that the work of
compilation has taken care of itself! In fact, the notebook is
self-compiling. The blank spaces are arranged in the order of the
statements as they are to appear on the printed page, the connecting
words and proper punctuation being printed in the notebook. Having
filled in all the spaces which our data requires, we simply draw a pen
through the rest, and our book is practically compiled, for its own
leaves may be sent to the printer as manuscript! The leaves are
perforated so that they may be readily detached, and thus we are saved
the labor and the possible errors of recopying.

For example, having written our introductory matter, we detach the
leaves from our notebooks, group by group, beginning with the family of
the common ancestor, followed by that of his oldest child, who had
issue, and so on through all the families and generations in order. In
this order, we consecutively number the leaves in blank spaces provided
for that purpose, and if the "family" and "individual" numbers have not
already been assigned, we note them in the proper spaces.

We may add that this notebook is equally well adapted for tracing all of
the descendants of an ancestor, or those of the sons alone. Its use will
be understood at a glance by experienced genealogists. Detailed
instructions, however, with sample blanks filled out, have been prepared
for those desiring them. These instructions completely initiate the
amateur into the details of the best form of "clan" genealogy.[4]


[4] The Grafton Genealogical Notebook, American Form (copyrighted), can
be had of The Grafton Press, Genealogical and Biographical Department,
70 Fifth Avenue, New York City. Price, per copy, 25 cents; 12 copies for
$2.50. The book is 5 1-4 inches wide by 8 1-2 long, and can be carried
in the pocket. The instruction pamphlet will be sent to any address upon
receipt of 25 cents. It is furnished free, _when requested_, to every
purchaser of 12 copies of the notebook.



Under this name we introduce a plan of genealogy which we believe is
destined to become more popular than the clan genealogy. This is the
book for all who are interested in their own ancestral lines more than
in the ramifications of a thinly-connected tribe.

It is the plan which permits a full discourse of all that is nearest to
the heart. Its preliminary investigations thrill one with discoveries of
the deepest personal interest. Its compilation permits all the humors
and liberties of literary speech. Its every page and chapter is like a
visit to ancestral halls, where the genial shades of forebears seem to
gather round as we gaze at their portraits, listen to the old tales,
handle the heirlooms and ransack the family papers.

The general idea of this genealogy is simple. It enables one to exhibit
as many of one's direct ancestral lines as can be ascertained, or a
sufficient number to make an interesting volume.

Where do we begin? With ourselves, James Smith! Next we put down the
name of our father, William Smith, and the maiden name of our mother,
Mary Jones, and under each name collect all the biographical data
possible. In the next generation there are four names. There is our
paternal grandparent, William Smith, Sr., still hale and hearty, and his
wife, Mary Doe, of sainted memory, whom we remember almost as well as
we do the fragrant odor of her inimitable pies and cake!

Then there is our maternal grandfather, Colonel Henry Jones, a soldier
and a gentleman if there ever was one, and his young wife, Mary Summers,
whom we never saw because she yielded her sweet life in the throes which
brought our mother into the world. Have we not often mused over that
dear face, gentle and beautiful in the old daguerreotype! Many a tear
have we shed over her sad story--in the sentimental days, before the
callous cares of this world's business crept into our heart!

The names of all these we put down, gathering the materials for full
biographies, and thus we continue with our eight great-grandparents, our
sixteen great-great-grandparents, our thirty-two great-great-greats, and
so on until we have unraveled the glories of the entire ten generations
(if we can boast so many in America), with their 1,022 ancestors and 512

The reader may ask, "Is this not as bad as a 'clan' genealogy? How shall
we manage all these names and the reams of data?"

The fact is, however, that he who can boast himself to be in the tenth
generation in even a single line is fortunate, and must have had an
American ancestor contemporary with the Jamestown gentlemen or the
Mayflower pilgrims. Undoubtedly many of our lines go back on this side
of the Atlantic only four, five or six generations. Such cases subtract
materially from our 1,022 possible ancestors and 512 surnames.

And let us suppose that when the Dutch stem of Schermerhorn and the
French stem of de Lancey come into view in our family tree, we find
Joneses again, and--yes, a little research proves that these Joneses
also descended from the emigrant, Stephen Jones, the ancestor of our
maternal grandfather, Colonel William Jones. The Jones stock is a fine
brand, and three strains are none too many, but their appearance
subtracts two more surnames from the theoretical number.

Furthermore, while we may be able to find our way back from generation
to generation with almost ridiculous ease in some cases, such luck is
usually too good to last. It is a rare vein which yields family
connections at every stroke of the genealogical spade, and one such line
may have to console us for a number which we mine slowly and painfully,
and for some others which yield no results whatever beyond a certain
point. In truth, most old American families pan out fairly well, with
here and there a golden nugget of peculiar lustre, or a diamond of the
first water; but we are seldom troubled by finding more of this wealth
than we are able to handle.

In making the investigation, we should aim to collect data for a very
full account of each ancestor, with a portrait, autograph, the history
of his possessions, photograph of the homestead, his old letters, his
Bible and will--in fact, any and all materials which picture clearly
his character and affairs. When we have finished collecting, our
accumulations are worked up into monographs on each one of the lines
traced, each monograph enriched by illustrations and accompanied by an
appendix in which we exhibit in full the documents and extracts
constituting the proofs of the descent. We recommend that each monograph
be introduced by a chart, exhibiting the pedigree from the earliest
known progenitor down to the person whose ancestry is the subject of the
book. This adds a valuable feature, and makes the whole line clear at a
glance. After all the monographs are completed, they should be arranged
together for publication in one volume.

If expense is not much of an object, it is especially interesting to
prepare for one's own library one copy of the edition printed,
sumptuously bound and enriched with original documents, or certified
copies of them,--old prints, silhouette portraits and other
illustrations gathered solely for that copy. In fact, some people may
prefer to limit the edition to this one copy. These ideas may be
followed in the Grafton plan of genealogy with brilliant results. A
proper method of research, with the necessary means at its disposal,
should result in the accumulation of an abundance of interesting
illustrative matter for such a book.

The Grafton plan of work calls for a notebook in which the display of
the genealogical statistics of a family takes a subordinate place. What
is wanted is a notebook in which an indefinite number of pages may be
devoted to the data of each ancestor, with some index system which will
make all instantly accessible, and some ready means of rearranging the
pages. These ends are achieved by a notebook equipped with the Grafton
Chart Index, which is quite different from the notebook mentioned in the
last chapter.

The Chart Index affords a diagrammatic display of one's ancestry for ten
generations--spaces for writing in the names of every one of our 1,022
theoretically possible ancestors, each in his proper place. Each name is
located by a Roman numeral, indicating the generation to which it
belongs, and by an Arabic figure, indicating its place in that
generation. With each name also appears a blank space in brackets, to
receive the number of the page of the notebook where the data of that
name begins. And at the top of this page in the notebook are written the
generation and place numbers of the name in the diagram.

Do we wish to know where to look for the data bearing upon a certain
person? We glance at his place in the chart and there find the page
reference to his place in the notebook. Or, with our notebook open at a
certain place, do we wish to know the ancestral connections of the
individual there treated? We glance at the numerals which head his data,
and thus learn his place in the chart, which displays at a glance his
relations to all the lines and other individuals of our entire ancestry,
so far as determined. The body of the notebook is detachable from the
cover and chart-index. When its pages are full, another section may be
attached, which becomes Section B of one great notebook, this process
being repeated as often as desired, the one index covering the whole. If
the data on John Smith begins on page 50 of the first section, the page
reference in the chart will be A50, or simply 50. If it begins on the
same page of the next section, the reference will be to B50, and so on.

The leaves of the notebook are perforated and easily detachable. When
the work of investigation is complete, or at any time in the process,
the data can be rearranged in any order desired. When the data for one
complete line has been gathered, we may wish to arrange it in the order
of descent and begin the delightful task of working it up for the
printer while other lines are still being investigated.

The Chart Index may be obtained separately. It can be used simply as a
chart, to exhibit one's entire ancestry, or may be adjusted as an index
to some system of notebooks which the reader already has in hand.[5]

The notebook referred to in our last chapter may be used to advantage
in conjunction with the one just described.

For example, John Smith, the first of one of our lines, may have had
eight children. While the "Grafton" genealogy will dwell at length only
upon that one of the children who is our ancestor,--Stephen Smith, for
example,--his seven brothers and sisters will be briefly noticed,
although their descendants will not be followed unless it be to call
attention to distinguished relatives in some of these collateral lines.
Having given the history of the first John Smith in full, we append a
condensed account of all his children, other than the one who is our
ancestor, after which we take up the latter, Stephen Smith, in full. The
notebook devised for the "clan" genealogy will serve admirably for
collecting the skeleton of facts desired for these notices of the
brothers and sisters of our ancestors.

The research necessary for a "Grafton" genealogy sounds every note in
the gamut of joys peculiar to ancestry-hunting, and adds a special
appeal to those who wish to join one of the patriotic societies. If the
line of our surname fails to yield ancestors who had the foresight to
qualify us for membership in a given organization, it may be that
another line will give better results. Or if our name is already on the
roll, it will be pleasant to be numbered among those who have qualified
through more than one ancestor. Who knows what riches lie hidden,
patiently awaiting a discoverer, to reward him who systematically
carries back all of his family lines?

The "Grafton" genealogy recommends itself to us, even if one of our
lines has already appeared in a "clan" genealogy, and that line the one
through which we inherit our surname. In Europe, where titles and
property are inherited by male children, under the laws of entail and
primogeniture, a legal significance attaches to the line of the surname,
and to most Americans this line is of special interest. Nevertheless, it
often happens that our ancestry along this line is less brilliant than
along some of the other lines. In that case we will not do full justice
to our surname until we reveal the glory of the sturdy stocks which our
ancestors had the good sense to engraft upon our line by marriage.

Our line may appear in its due place in the great tome of the clan, but
does it shine with the splendor worthy of our immediate ancestors? Is it
not almost hidden from sight among so many other lines? And when we find
it, is there anything more than a concise epitome of dry facts under the
name of each ancestor?

No doubt the tribe-embracing plan prohibits all else, but is this all we
want? Do we not desire a full history of each ancestor, with all the
interesting facts, traditions and illustrations which can be brought
together? Then let us set to work to gather these, and to make our own
line the subject of the first monograph of a Grafton genealogy, which
will show all the luxuriant branches of our particular family tree, a
happy intertwining of many stocks and surnames, of which we are the
final product. Those who work in the hope of realizing a profit from the
sales of the printed book should consider the possibilities of the
Grafton genealogy. What gives interest to a genealogy? Not the later
generations, but the earlier stems and origin of the tree, ascertained
through historical research. Instead of presenting one such stem and
appealing to a single tribe, why not exploit all the stems of one's
ancestry and appeal to as many great tribes of descendants? The prospect
certainly seems as favorable for marketing a genealogy which sets forth
researches on the origins of many American stems as for the other kind,
which only interests descendants of a single stem. But whether the
finished work embodies the "clan" or the "Grafton" plan, its sale will
principally depend upon the application of proper methods in getting the
book before the public. This subject will come before us a little
farther on.

We add a word on our right to assume the rôle of godfather toward the
plan of genealogy discussed in this chapter. We claim no patent-rights
over the bare idea of a work which traces more ancestral lines than one.
But where, outside of these pages, will the reader find a recognition of
the possibilities of such a work? Where else will he find its plan
developed and presented so that its advantages may at once be seen by
the ancestry-hunter? The rights of occupation and colonization are
certainly ours, although we exercise them with a royal largeness of
heart! We have developed this rich territory, only to throw it open to
the world. Having ourselves cultivated its fertile fields with pleasing
results, and transformed a barren wilderness into a blossoming garden,
we now invite our friend, the reader, to step in and take full


[5] The chart-index and cover (copyrighted), with notebook, can be had
for $1.25; 12 copies for $13. Additional sections of the notebook, 25
cents each; 12 copies for $2.50. The chart-index alone, 50 cents per
copy; 12 copies for $5.50. Address, The Grafton Press, Genealogical and
Biographical Department, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York City.



Whether the offspring of our love and labor be a clan or a Grafton
genealogy, we will now suppose it has attained its maturity. It will
grow no more. Not alone is the research complete, but our data has been
compiled into a book in manuscript form. What next?

We sincerely trust that no genealogical worker who reads these lines has
any other thought than that of giving the fruit of his labors to the
public. The whole genealogical world protests against any other idea. It
is a patriotic duty as well as a moral obligation to put it in print.
Having ourselves profited from the printed pages of many a worker, shall
we refuse to repay the debt?

We hope better things of every reader of this book, and assume that all
his researches are to appear in print as soon as they can be put into
proper shape. It matters not whether we have much or little, one page or
a thousand, enough copy for a chart, a pamphlet or a volume: it should
be printed and published. If we have worked out only a single ancestral
line, and have no leisure for further work, or must turn away from such
labor for some time to come, let us print what we have collected.

If we commit our manuscript to type, we are quite likely to receive a
rich reward. Some one sees our production, gets into communication with
us,--being interested along the same lines,--and very soon we find
ourselves learning things we long desired to know! Hundreds can tell of
such experiences.

Do not hesitate to print because your work is fragmentary or incomplete.
Sometimes one strikes a genealogical "snag," and, do what he may, is
unable to proceed in the work of investigation. Under these
circumstances some genealogists become discouraged, holding back their
entire work for years in the hope of solving their perplexities. This is
the wrong way. It is much better to print the work in its incomplete
form, frankly setting forth the difficulties encountered. This has many
times resulted in the solution of the problem. Some one, somewhere, may
hold the key, and as soon as our printed page catches his eye he will
supply the needed link.

Sometimes two genealogists, unknown to each other, are at work on
intersecting lines, which cause them the greatest perplexity, while each
has in his hands the precise facts which would solve the other's puzzle.
In this situation they may grope on for years without making material
progress. If they would only print what they have completed, each would
discover the complement of his work in the other, and each could then go
on with his task rejoicing.

Printing in itself is another reward. The exultant thrill of actual
authorship is only felt when we see our work in black and white on the
pages of the printed volume. This is the true goal of literary desire.

But this leads us to warn all that only correct and tasteful printing
produces this result. Poor type, incompetent proof-reading and inferior
presswork produce that which will be a perpetual eyesore and
humiliation. When we have come to the point of printing, we cannot
afford to practice an undue economy. It is not even "good business" to
do so. People do not like to add inferior specimens of book-making to
their libraries, and every publisher knows that the quality of the
printing may turn the balance and make or mar the success of a book.

Peculiar difficulties attend the printing of genealogies because of
their charts, names and dates. We must have exact work as well as
tasteful work, and neither of these things is found everywhere, while
still less frequently are they found in combination.

In the first place, we would say, put your manuscript in the hands of
careful and responsible parties. It is your treasure, and you cannot
afford to entrust it to those who will not provide a safe place for it,
and guard and watch over it from beginning to end.

In the second place, choose a printer who is accustomed to genealogical
work. This is always preferable. Only thus can we obtain the facilities
and the experience our book deserves. When the manuscript is in the
hands of printers untrained to the peculiar kind of work needed, one of
two results generally follows. The book is inaccurate in matter and
slovenly in appearance, or we may have to insist that much of the work
be done over. A printer often trains himself at our expense, his bill
piling up far above his estimate, while the book comes forth at last
with an unmistakably amateurish touch everywhere apparent.

But it is not sufficient to choose a printer accustomed to genealogies.
We know of some who have done this kind of work for many years, yet
scarcely ever have done it well. Their books are many, but in wretched
taste, some of the volumes being a disgrace to the book-maker's art.
Genealogy is worthy of better things!

Choose a printer and publisher who has taste and enthusiasm, who is
unwilling to resort to cheap material, ordinary type, and careless labor
for the sake of a wider margin of profit on his contract. It is not
difficult to select the right man. Examine samples of his book-work, and
see if _all_ are attractive, the lowest-priced as well as the expensive
editions. If he is the right man, a touch of taste and excellence will
appear in all his work.

Ascertain, if possible, the character of proof-reading you will receive.
The author, of course, will read his own proofs, but even if he is an
experienced writer, and has carried several books through the press, he
will be saved many a mistake by good proof-reading. It is a peculiar
fact that a mistake which our own eye has once passed over in the
manuscript is likely to escape our notice many times. But the fresh eye
of an expert proof-reader, versed in genealogical work, will detect many
of these mistakes, and we will find ourselves deeply indebted to his
habit of questioning doubtful points for our reconsideration.

If the reader is not himself an expert genealogist, or is printing his
first work, the services of the right kind of proof-reader are still
more indispensable. But, in fact, all writers are largely dependent upon
the printer and proof-reader for the systematic carrying out of a
correct style of punctuation, capitalization and spelling. How
satisfying is the book which receives expert attention in all these

Finally, choose a printer and publisher who is a book-making genius. The
author is dependent upon the printer for the best suggestions for style
of book within the limits of cost decided upon. There are masters of the
art of making books who, having learned the author's mind as to price,
have an ability almost amounting to genius for suggesting the perfect
thing within the limit named. They have the character of the work in
mind, and they suggest an ideal combination of type, size of page,
illustrations, paper, margins and style of cover. Such book-makers are
readily recognized by the books they turn out. The author cannot do
better than to follow their suggestions.

In a word, let your genealogy appear in the most attractive dress which
you feel you can afford, and you ought to feel that you can _not_
afford anything which is unscholarly or unsightly. Do you want a book
which will give you pleasure to the end of time, or one which you cannot
hand to a friend without an apology? We repeat again the maxim, that the
stage of printing is no place for injudicious economy!

Have we any "practical help" to offer in this chapter? Yes, dear reader,
if you desire the kind of printer's service herein described, it is
offered to you by the publishers of this little book. Let the reader
satisfy himself as to the quality of workmanship by examining the books
which bear the stamp of The Grafton Press. If these do not tell the
story, nothing can. This is the true test in every case.

We may add, however, that the Genealogical Department established in
connection with The Grafton Press was organized expressly to bring
together the expert co-operation necessary in order to lift every
feature of genealogical work to a higher standard of excellence than now
generally prevails. The supervision of this department extends to all
the genealogical printing done by The Grafton Press.

In submitting manuscripts in order to obtain estimates of cost of
printing, a general idea of the style expected should be given. For
example, let it be known which of the following three kinds of book is

First, the elaborate volume, made for those for whom the item of expense
is not an important consideration. This book is sumptuous, "a thing of
beauty and a joy forever." It is printed on fine hand-made paper, with a
handsome morocco binding, and illustrations by the very best processes.

Second, the low-priced book, very plain and strictly businesslike. It is
as useful as the first, but the cost is kept down to the minimum. Yet,
although plain, it is good, and in good taste.

Third, the book which has a place between the other two. Serviceable and
of moderate cost, it is made very attractive and will give solid
satisfaction during the years to come. This is the book chosen in the
great majority of cases.[6]

All-important are the principles laid down in this chapter. Let the
reader regard his genealogical work as an offspring to whom he owes all
the care of a fond parent. It is a question of proper clothes for the

All this having been decided on, another duty confronts the author while
his work is in process of transformation from a manuscript to a book. He
not only has proofs to read, but also an index to make, or to have made
for him. We say nothing of an index of general subjects and places; but
an index of names is indispensable in order to make the contents of a
genealogical work accessible. If the work is a "clan" genealogy, two
indexes are called for, one devoted to persons bearing the common
surname, the other devoted to those of other surnames.

For example, in "The Smith Family" we would have one index, in which all
the Smiths are arranged alphabetically according to their baptismal
names. The generation to which each individual belonged should be shown
by a small Arabic figure after his baptismal name. The other index
includes all the other persons mentioned in the book, with an
alphabetical arrangement of the different surnames. The husbands and
children of Smith daughters are found in this index.

The index can be begun as soon as the page-proofs are in hand. Each
name, with its page number, is generally written on a separate slip of
paper, all the names under one letter being kept together. When all are
written, the names under "A" can be rearranged like a card catalog,
according to the alphabetical order of the second, third and fourth
letters in each name, and when in proper order may be pasted upon sheets
for the printer. So we continue through all the letters of the alphabet.


[6] Address, on all questions of printing, The Grafton Press,
Genealogical and Biographical Department, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York
City. Estimates given on any kind of manuscript, genealogical,
historical or biographical, whether for chart, pamphlet or volume. Along
with estimates, specimens of type-pages, paper, binding and
illustrations will be cheerfully submitted when desired.



The first copy of our book has come in, crisp and fresh from the
binder's. What a delight, what a feast to the eye, as we turn its
wholesome pages! None can imagine the joy of this hour--it must be
experienced. It never fails us. True, we may be veterans, who have seen
many a campaign; nevertheless, each new battle thrills us afresh. Is her
fifth babe nothing to the mother, because she has had four children?
Just ask her, dear reader! And so is it with the joy of hailing our
latest-born, fresh from the press-room and bindery!

But already the reader begins to sigh. "Now, at last," he cries, "I have
exhausted the sensations that my book can give!" Friend, speak not so
hastily. Have you forgotten the great joy of publishing? the excitement
of getting the book before the public? the sweetness of the hearty
congratulations of friends and fellow-workers? the delight of reading
the press notices and the book reviews? the pleasure of receiving your
publisher's smile and handshake as he tells you how well the book is
selling? the deep satisfaction of banking the goodly checks which
accompany his reports of sales?

The most substantial fruits of our labor are still untasted when our
book comes from the press, and in order that these may be enjoyed to the
full by the reader we offer him the practical suggestions of this
closing chapter. We assume that the garments of his offspring, obtained
from the printer, are all that they should be. Otherwise, the pleasures
of publishing can never be realized. Neither our friends, nor the
reviewer, nor the great public, will enthuse over a shabby book. Why
should they?

But the reader of these pages, we trust, will have had his work nicely
printed. He is now ready to market his book, and he desires the advice
of experience as to ways and means.

First of all, choose a publisher. Have the imprint of a firm of good
standing, furnishers of excellent books to the public, upon the
title-page of your volume. This will be found to be a great advantage
even if the author expects to push and sell his own work.

In the second place, arrange if possible with the publisher to list and
handle the book for you, through the book and library trade. Have him
put it upon his catalogues, which are regularly furnished to the
booksellers. No individual can well attempt to handle this end of the
business himself. He does not know how to go about it, and if he did,
the necessary machinery of manipulation would be too costly if set up in
connection with a single book. But the publisher has this machinery
already working in the interest of his other books, and he only needs to
take ours on his list in order to give it the benefit of extensive

Other things being equal, choose a publisher who is located in the
great book and literary centre of the country. No doubt the cost of
printing and publishing is a trifle more in a large city, where rents
are high, than in country or semi-country places. Nevertheless, it is
worth while. The prestige which goes with the right place of publication
is a satisfaction to the author and a substantial help to his book.

By all means, if possible, commit the printing and the publishing of
your book to the same hands. While the book is still in process of
making, the plans for bringing it before the public should be arranged.
Preliminary announcements can be made, and it can be put into catalogues
which it would miss if placed in the hands of a publisher only after the
printing had been done. Literary notes, circulars, review slips, and all
the paraphernalia of its announcement to the public can thus be
prepared, and all be ready for the campaign as soon as the book comes
from the press. This is a very important point.

Genealogical works should be committed to publishers who have already
had experience along this special line. The sale of genealogical works
depends very largely upon a special kind of circularizing which will
bring them to the attention of those particularly interested--public
librarians, historical and genealogical societies, and special
collectors. And whether the book be a "clan" or "Grafton" genealogy,
there are many who will be anxious to own it, on account of distant
tribal connections, and who can be reached only by the proper methods.

A little judicious advertising may prove a paying investment. For this
the author is altogether dependent upon his publisher. He who ignorantly
plunges into the luxury of advertising may readily sink a large fortune,
without returns, in a very short time. Or the little that he has to
invest will all be thrown away. But the experienced publisher is like an
old fox that has learned the ways of hounds and hunters and is not
easily caught. Such a publisher knows the best mediums, where a modest
notice almost always brings good returns, and one cannot do better than
to reap the fruits of his experience.

If the reader desires to try his own hand in the work of publishing, we
wish him well, and advise him that the only way in which he may hope to
realize sales is by carrying out, as well as he can, the regular methods
of the publisher.

The truth, however, is that the author cannot expect to do for himself,
even in a modest way, much which the experienced publisher does for him.
The avenues to the book trade, the book reviewer, and therefore to the
general public, are not really open to any of us who are not
publishers--as we can soon learn by making the attempt to travel,
unpiloted, in these directions.

The only genealogist who may hope for any measure of financial success
by his own efforts, is the author of a "clan" genealogy who has
systematically gathered the names and addresses of the living
representatives of the "tribe" his book exploits. These may be
circularized, and appealed to on the ground of family pride and of fair
play. The least they can do for a historian who has toiled for their
glory is to take a copy of his book.

The plan commonly adopted is to make such works "subscription books"
from the beginning. The author fixes a price for his forthcoming volume
and as he sends letters for information to living representatives of the
tribe, he invites a subscription to his book. But whether these
subscriptions have or have not covered the cost of production by the
time the book is ready for the printer, why should the author not seek
to realize all the additional profits which can be secured through the
regular channels, aided by a publisher?

The services of The Grafton Press can be secured as the publishers of
any good genealogy, as well as in all the other capacities hitherto
mentioned. Probably such a connection would approach as near to the
ideal set forth in this chapter as any which it would be possible to
make. Added to all the rest, it certainly would secure the hearty
co-operation of an experienced firm which pushes the works of
genealogists with special zeal and enthusiasm.

The publishing of a "clan" genealogy will be cheerfully assumed at any
stage in the production. If desired, the "subscription" feature will be
taken in hand, and that as soon as the author begins his work. Or if he
has handled this feature during the progress of authorship, every effort
will be made to realize the further profits from a proper introduction
of the book to the public.

The service rendered may be in the capacity of publishing agents merely,
or that of a kind of partnership arrangement in connection with the
author's book; and the work in question may be a chart, a pamphlet, a
volume, or a work of still larger proportions. The desire is to
co-operate so as to give the worker all the fruits of his toil, and
secure to him all the profits which the best business methods can

Many readers will be glad to know what the general prospect is for the
sale of genealogical works. In the matter of immediate sales, such books
are not unlike others: some have a good run and others sell more slowly.
Nor can the author or publisher be certain in advance of the fate of a
book. The favor of the public is a peculiar thing, and the quality which
makes a book popular is frequently beyond the power of analysis or the
ken of the prophet.

In the case of "clan" genealogies, much depends upon the size of the
"tribe," its financial circumstances, degree of family pride, and proper
education in a genealogical direction. The rest depends upon the author
and the publisher--upon the employment of the right methods in
presenting the claims of the book.

But in general, and in the long run, it is undoubtedly true that there
is scarcely another kind of book which enjoys the permanent popularity
and marketable character of the genealogical work. Immediately after
publication, in the case of many "subscription" genealogies, or in the
course of a few years, in most cases, the book is at a premium. It does
not get out of date, like books on other subjects, but becomes more
desirable as a historical authority and treasure as time passes. There
will be a demand for it fifty, seventy-five, or a hundred years hence.

This is what experience has shown. Genealogical works compiled on the
principles set forth in this little book, with a permanent historical
value which can never be shaken, because they set forth the proofs of
their statements, will never lose their marketable value. Property
rights in such works by copyright and copyright renewals should be
secured by their authors. The demand will last so long as Americans take
an interest in the question of their ancestry, and the price will
increase as the copies become scarce.

In conclusion we will suppose that the reader has at length tasted all
the delights of research, all the excitement of the discovery of
ancestors. He has experienced the pleasure of compiling a Grafton
genealogy, and the joy of seeing it pass from the manuscript state into
that of the printed volume. The triumphs of successful publishing, the
delight of reading the reviews and the satisfaction of realizing a fair
profit on the sales, have all been his. And now perhaps he sighs as he
thinks that nothing remains but the reminiscence of past enjoyment.

But here we offer the reader another suggestion. Would he have all those
pleasures and delights once more a reality, and not merely a memory?
Then let him begin again at the beginning, and _start another
genealogy_! And when that is finished let him start a third one! What a
glorious prospect! Added to all the joy and excitement of each
achievement there is also the prospect of a little stream of checks from
the sales of each work--two, three, four or five streams instead of one!


[7] Correspondence is invited with all who have a genealogy, small or
pretentious, either in hand, in preparation, or in prospect. Address,
The Grafton Press, Genealogical and Biographical Department, 70 Fifth
Avenue, New York City.

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