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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GPS Study Group - Chapter 1

Genealogy Proof Standard Study Group
Homework
Chapter One  -What is the Genealogical Proof Standard? Your Name

Reference: Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case 4th Edition Revised, (San Jose, California: CR Publications) 2014.


My book arrived today -- so I can get the homework done in time!

While waiting on my book, I've been thinking about which areas of my research that I could pull from for the assignment. However, after spending my day working with a genealogical resource and trying to figure out the mystery behind it, I've decided to use it for my homework.

The resource in question is a journal found in the archives of the Nemaha County Historical Society titled: Dr. Fangman's journal of baby deliveries.

This journal contains birth information from June 1932 until August 1955.

I would categorize this journal as a derivative source.
  • The handwriting is very similar throughout the journal. This would imply that the same person entered the information
  • It appears that the same ink was used on an entire page or pages.
  • At least one entry appears to have been recorded twice (March 1952)
  • There is a loose sheet of paper in the back that appears to have been a list that was used to enter some of the information
Based on the consistency of the handwriting and ink, it is likely that the information in this journal was copied from some other source -- such as the original records.

At first glance, this journal appears to be a source of primary information for the birth information. To be able to say this journal contains primary information, more information is needed about the journal itself and its provenance.

According to the letter that came with the journal, the journal may have been a record of all of the births of Dr. Fangman in Nemaha County.

Since the Seneca area has a rich German heritage, it was fairly obvious that the names in this journal were likely Nemaha County names. (ex: Koehler, Steinlage, Huerter, Bergman, Engelken, Kramer, Bramlage, Olberding, Luebbe, Heiman, Feldkamp, Broxterman, Brucken, Rettele, Wempe, Rusche, Lueger)

Before this source could be considered to provide primary information, we had to verify the identity of Dr. Fangman and that he indeed practiced medicine in the Seneca area between 1932 and 1955. At this point, all we have is negative evidence.
  • The history of the Seneca hospital does not list a Dr. Fangman
  • No record of a Dr. Fangman could be found in other historical society holdings
  • No reference to a Dr. Fangman could be found in the newly digitized Courier Tribune
  • The 1940 census contained several Fangman families in Nemaha County but none were identified as a doctor
  • None of the former board members for the historical society knew anything about a Dr. Fangman
Since the provenance of the journal is in question, I would classify the quality of the birth information as indeterminable (at this time).

Whether the information in this journal is direct evidence or indirect evidence would depend on the question being asked. 
  • If asking whether Mrs. Clifford Jerome had a son on Dec. 26, 1933, then it would be direct evidence 
  • If asking whether a specific Jerome son was born on Dec. 26, 1933, then it would be indirect evidence since the record does not contain the name of the baby.
Writing a citation for this source is actually more difficult than determining the quality of the source. Based on how the journal is entered in the historical society's collection and following he guidelines for archived material in Evidence Explained, the following would be the citation:

Fangman. "Dr. Fangman's Journal of Baby Deliveries." Doctor's Collection, Nemaha County Historical Society, Seneca, Kansas.

Because this journal contains a lot of valuable information regarding local families, I am still trying to figure out the provenance of the journal. I have appealed to the community thru a blog post and thru Facebook.

My husband talked to someone born in 1951 and believed to be in the journal. There was an entry indicating his parents had a son in July 1951 -- but he was born in early August of 1951. The July entry is the last entry for July in 1951 so it might be the same person. Since this person was delivered by Dr. Hash, we believe the journal may be a listing of the babies delivered by Dr. Hash.

Thru a Facebook contact, another individual was born in Feb. 1953 and delivered by Dr. Hash. Her parents aren't listed in the journal -- but there are two lines indicating Feb. 1953 and no parents listed.

Thru another Facebook contact, we have located a set of twins in the journal. The birth date in the journal is one day off of the celebrated day. We are hoping the birth certificate will identify the doctor.


More evidence needs collected connecting the individuals in the journal to Dr. Hash before we could conclude that the journal is actually a listing of Dr, Hash's deliveries. In addition, some genealogical research on the donor's family needs conducted to try and figure out the provenance of the journal.

Even though the provenance of the journal is in question, I would love to have this type of information as a source on one of my relatives. The info in this journal could easily lead to a newspaper entry for the birth -- thus working toward that goal of a preponderance of evidence.






4 comments:

  1. Great post, Marcia. This is such an interesting find but the detective work needed to ensure it is useful, so frustrating. Very interesting though. I look forward to seeing if you get more answers.

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  2. What a great way of using Facebook to find people for your project!

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  3. Really cool record! A journal of baby deliveries. That is not something you see every day.

    I see your reasoning about it being a derivative source. But I want to add two ideas:

    How connected to identity is a surname? Is there a plausible reason why Dr. Fangman and Dr. Hart might be the same person?

    I agree with you about the handwriting, but if it was retranscribed by the Doctor who had first-hand knowledge of the delivery, then is it still a derivative source? I think it still is, but perhaps it might have a little more weight, since supposedly he was present at the births. But then again, maybe only just a slight amount more, since maybe this guy kept poor records, had bad memory, etc.

    Also, what if he transcribed each separate page at the end of the week from his memory, after he had finished all the jobs and was home and comfortable at his writing desk? Is it possible that is an explanation for the continuous handwriting and same ink? Does the ink change at all during the page changes? And then would it still be a derivative source? I suppose it depends in what category of source "memory" would fall. I don't know the answer.

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  4. Thanks for all of the comments.

    Facebook has proven to be very helpful. Because the info was shared, it was forwarded to a Fangman family historian. She couldn't find any record of a Dr. Fangman in the Seneca area at that time. The fact that we are accumulating a lot of 'negative' evidence for Dr. Fangman and a lot of confirmation for other doctors delivering the children in the journal, we have concluded that we have a journal of baby deliveries from an unknown source.
    Traditional genealogy is kicking in as we are now researching the family of the donor to try and identify an author.


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