First Four Generations of the Stearns/Pease Family Update


Wow! I’m feeling very empowered right now. Maybe I shouldn’t be.  My new lighted, large print keyboard is installed and working like a charm. I just looked at Finally Get organized! 7th-13th Feb 2016 checklist. I know that the first four generations do not have any hastily added people. I can’t say that for all my generations, I’m human after all. In my first four generations I can say that maybe I error too much on the side of caution. I rather not enter a person to my tree until I feel confident by the Genealogy Proof Standards (GPS) that they belong there. [The reason for 46 individual trees (only one or two people in each,) they are waiting for approval from me to be added.]

The reason I feel empowered is because I already began working on the weak areas in my first four generations. I’m adding daily to my “To-Do” list using RootsMagic. Why RootsMagic? It is a new program to me. I can start fresh with my research data entry, thus verifying my previous research, finding areas that need strengthening and learning to better cite my sources. My goal is to continue following the GPS standards and Elizabeth Shown Mills Evidence Explained citation format.

My goals this week:

  1. Continue reviewing the 1st four generation records (ongoing)
  2. Adding the areas of need to the person’s Research Log “To-Do list”
  3. Re-watch Dear Myrtle’s Hangout on Air What Does She Say? Study Groups from 2015 [goals 3 &4]
  4. What Does She Say? Study Group – 14 Aug 2015 Fundamentals of Analysis (120 minutes)
  5. What Does She Say? Study Group – 21 Aug 2015 Fundamentals of Analysis (cont.) (90 minutes)
  6. Continue scanning and adding photos to my genealogy photo album for the 1st four generations
  7. Verify the siblings for the first four generations (ongoing)
  8. Indexing on Family Search Indexing at least one document daily

My To-Do List I started on my father, Nelson William Stearns [I forgot about this online tree-more research needed there] last week:

Research log Nelson W Stearns To Do List

Source Citations:

Richley-Erickson, Pat “Finally Get Organized,” Dear Myrtle, DearMyrtle’s Genealogy Your Friend In Genealogy since 1995 Blog, 31 Jan 2016. Access 2 Feb 2016, checklists.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd edition (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015). [Book available from the publisher at and in digital format from the author’s website]


Finally Getting Organized: Packing Slips and Genealogy Research


FINALLY Get Organized! With DearMyrtle continues.

Richley-Erickson, Pat “Finally Get Organized,” Dear Myrtle, DearMyrtle’s Genealogy Your Friend In Genealogy since 1995 Blog, 31 Jan 2016. Access 2 Feb 2016, checklists.

Packing Slip
Packing Slip

Why is this packing slip important in regards to genealogy? It answers several question we ask ourselves to provide important evidence in regards to June Stearns Butka.


Name: June Butka

Residence: [mark with red dashes] 14 Taryn Rd. Derry, NH [New Hampshire] 03038

Date of Residence: [highlighted in yellow] 11-18-2000 [18 Nov 2006]

Health Insurance Provider: Havard Pilgram Health Care PO 699183, Quincy, Ma 02269

Medical Supply Company: Empi, Clear lake Industrial Park, Clear Lake, South Dakota 57226

It also tells you that this health care provider paid for medical supplies ordered. It does not tell medical history or what the supplies were used for, You know it was an electrical device requiring, electrodes, batteries, moisture cream, cut off at skin prep. It was shipped in two days.

You may not need all the information provided in genealogy. It fills in some of the story of June’s life. Ask yourself…

Why would June require medical supplies? What was her diagnosis? Does a family member know the answers to the questions?

Here is the rest of the story from the horses mouth.

June Stearns Butka diagnosis was chronic pain due to degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, connective tissue disease and Fibromyalgia. Physical Therapy was ordered. The use of a device called T.E.N.S. unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to reduce the pain was successful. She was discharge from Physical with exercises and an order to use the unit at home for pain.

Here is my attempt to properly cite this artifact for June Lee Stearns genealogy file, using Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained 3rd edition page 112, Private Holdings: Personal Correspondence.


1. Empi, Clear lake Industrial Park, Clear Lake, South Dakota 57226, to  June Butka, 14 Taryn Road, Derry, New Hampshire, Letter/Sale receipt, 18 Nov 2006, providing list of medical supplies for June Butka, Personal Correspondence, 2006; Stearns-Butka Family, June’s Lee Stearns Research File; privately held by June, privately held by June Stearns Butka, Address for Private use, Merrimack, New Hampshire.

2. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace 3rd edition, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company of Maryland, 2015, page 112

3. Richley-Erickson, Pat “Finally Get Organized,” Dear Myrtle, DearMyrtle’s Genealogy Your Friend In Genealogy since 1995 Blog, 31 Jan 2016. Access 2 Feb 2016, checklists.

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2: Chapter 2 Homework

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones
Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group 2

My Chapter Two Homework Assignment


Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group

Chapter 2 homework involves answering 18 questions. To protect the copyright of Dr. Jones’s book, I am going to answer those questions in my own manner. After all isn’t the purpose of learning to make the new learned knowledge your own? To be comfortable with what you acquired and put it into practice. I hope Dr. Jones understands why I am presenting his material in this manner. I will strive to bring out his key points, as I see them, in the most accurate, creditable and as close to the original as copy write issues will allow. If someone notices an error in my information, please provide a comment with your source and reason why. I will re-evaluate and address all those issues as I would in any genealogical research I would do. I hope my manner of presenting will also help anyone who is struggling to understand Dr. Jones approach to genealogy research.

In preparing to do my homework for Chapter 2, I listened to an interview with Dr. Thomas Jones given by Jane Wilcox of Blog Talk Radio “Forget Me Not Hour” on 19 June 2013 about his book Mastering Genealogical Proof.

The discussion included how the book best aids adult in learning the material. Adults learn in three ways; Visual, Doing and Comparing.

Visual is done by reading the book.

Doing is completing the homework assignments.

Comparing your homework answers to his answers in the back of the book meet the third criteria.

Dr. Jones remains us that no matter what type of research you are doing one of the most important approaches is to answer a focus Question. It can be one of five questions; known as the 5 W’s. They are Who, What, When, Where and Where.

In genealogy research the focus question is broken down to one of three categories, relationship, identity, and activity.   Asking a focus question will guide you in your research with more ease and less drifting off the subject. If the question is too board you are inundated with more information to filter through before you find the correct answer. On the other hand if it is to narrow you will lose information that is important in answering the question accurately. You can add supporting questions to aid in your research.

One focus question in research would be about identifying Mr. ________; “Who are the parents of ______  ______ that died 1811-1812 in Montgomery County, Kentucky? Some supporting questions would include; who his siblings are; who are his neighbors or close contacts, where did he live when he was paying taxes, or what information was found in his will that would be useful in identifying his family.

Focus questions along with supporting questions can help aid in distinguishing between families that may have the same name. Yet they can also aid in determining that maybe they are not three separate people but the same person.

Who are the parents of John Smith who married Jane Doe in Muskegon, Michigan, in 1871, and what became of him after their divorce. Records also have a John Smith that married a different woman in a different state. How do we know he is the same person? We need to chart familiar relationships of the two men; parents, children; neighbors; where lived, what years lived in those areas, why relocate, what is happening in the community at the time that would affect any decisions made? Do you see the emergence of the five “W” questions? (One focus question with supporting questions?)

Making a timeline provides guidance in answering some of those five W’s. War, Health, Religion, family disagreements all come into consideration when evaluating and analyzing a person’s life.

Different sources and record types need to be researched. The informant of those resources helps validity or question the accuracy of those same sources. What reason does the informant have for providing “false” information? Does the informant want to cover up an early birth, or maybe a marriage before an official divorce, are two examples of why the “false” information would be provided. Dr. Jones goes into great detail in determining each “man.”

His homework makes us practice finding the questions that he answered in his research. Questions like;

“Who are the parents of_________ residing in ___________, ____________, who married______________ in the year__________.?

Who is the husband of ______________?

Were ________________, _______________, and _______________ the same person?

What happened to_________________ after the divorce_______________ from ____________in the year________?

When writing a research question for your “bump in the road’ person (some call it a brick wall) you need to keep in mind relationships, individual identity and the activity of the person you are researching. What that person does, who the friends and family are and what community participation will help narrow the field to the correct family member you are researching

Keeping that criteria in mind I have created five research questions for my “bump in the road” person, Alonzo Chase.

  1. Who were the parents of Alonzo Chase, born Hopkinton, New Hampshire in the year 1835?
  2. What year did he marry Kate E Colby of Warner, New Hampshire?
  3. Where did Alonzo and Kate resided when their daughter, Clara Jane, my great grandmother, was born?
  4. Which Alonzo Chase residing in Merrimack County, New Hampshire in the 1860 Untied States Census would become Kate E Colby’s husband?
  5. What branch of service, if any, did Alonzo Chase, who resided in Hopkinton, New Hampshire in 1860 provide?

When researching it is important to understand the need for different types of resources; original, authored and records. Every source is open to error, but the closer to the original and time of the event you are there is less chance of errors.

Dr. Jones mentions an “exhaustive” list of sources in his Appendix A and B for each Research Client. This is a reminder to us of the need to seek different types of sources in our research before concluding that the family member found is “our Family member.” He wants us to become comfortable in identifying the different types of resources. His homework aids us identifying each type.

When we are looking at “Authored work’ we are seeking resources that provide the authors own conclusion. Family genealogies, town histories, and Dr. Jones own book “Merging Identities Properly: Jonathan Tucker Demonstrates the Technique” are just a few authored works.

United States Census, Tax Books, parish Records, Personal Property Tax list, the annual inventory of early colonists are examples of “original works.”

“Derivative works” would include any transcriptions of the original hand written document, it could be posted to a blog, used in your own notes, or you notice the same handwriting for all entries into a family Bible decades after the fact.

Dr. Jones continuously reminds us of the importance of utilizing the original primary information verses secondary information to reduce the risk of errors. The further from the original the transcription becomes the more at risk for error. Not even the original is exempt from error, but it is less prone than each future generation of the document transcription., and other genealogy research site provide us with “clues” to our family records. When you see the record, you believe to be your ancestor, the first thing you should do is order the original. When the document arrives mine it for all it is worth. Birth certificates, death certificates, land deeds, and wills, to list a few, all provide information from what Elizabeth Shown Mills refers to as the F.A.N Club(Family, associates, neighbors.) Many times they are family members or people who help identify your ancestor in that location and time. A good example would be a notation “next friend” in a court document usually meant relative such as father, brother, cousin, etc. Another example would be on a Bond record. Most people, unless they are related to you, would not post a bond involving money.

While looking at the documents you need to recognize if they are “Primary” or “Secondary,” who was the “informant” and type of source. The importance of each of these provides the validity, strength or weakness of the source information.

Primary sources are the strongest where secondary may provide useful information and can be use when no other source is available.

Information we are looking for include occupation, reason someone gets married, number of children, who was subpoenaed, date of death, date of birth are just a few. The source for these could be court records (primary), interview of a family member (secondary), family Bible entries written by the mother (primary), death certificate with the informant as a family member (secondary), War pensions listing children can be either (primary or secondary) depending who the informant was. Mother of the children is primary, an estranged family member secondary.

Other information that is important to seek is: Where someone lived during a certain time, did they pay taxes (property or personal), who are their heirs, when were the christened. Source for this information would possibly be Tax books from the county or town, Deed books listing the property ownership and location, a Parish register could tell who the parents are. Remember that if your “focus question” is not answered from the sources more research is need until you find your answer (exhaustive search), that is when you are done until new evidence is found.

Now, the twist in our research. You haven’t found “direct evidence” of your family member. You have several sources, when combined, confirm who they are, not just one.  It implies that it is the same person/s. The census for several consecutive years list your family member, land deeds list the person as a neighbor to another family member or maybe he is on the tax records for that town where you believe your family lived.

When “not direct (negative) evidence” answers your focus question, it is the absent of evidence itself that is the proof. John Smith was not on the 1810 Census for town “A” family members, yet a John Smith was listed in town “B” census as a family member.  This narrows down which family John Smith was a member of. Comparing and analysis is an important part of all research.


Remember the importance of all sources wither it is an original, authored, derivative work; was it a primary or secondary source; who was the informant, what reason would that informant redirect or provide incorrect information; was the informant not known; was it direct or indirect evidence that answered your focus question; was it tangible evidence or inferred; all need to answer your original Focus Question. You may use supporting question to answer your focus question keeping in mind the importance of Validity strength when doing so. Your Focus question needs to answer a relationship, activity or Identity.


  1. Jane Wilcox Blog Talk Radio “The Forget Me Not Hour” Dr. Thomas Jones interview, 19 June 2013;
  2. Reference:
  3. Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]
  4. “Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof Study Group Chapter 1 HOA
  5. “Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group
  6. : The following two links I found while preparing my homework. They were not in Dr. Jones book. It leads me to want to research them to find the link, if any to the Pritchet family mentioned in Dr. Jones book.

(wills )  (

MGP 2 Study Group Chapter 1 Homework

Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones
Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones

My Chapter One Homework Assignment

Thomas W. Jones, Mastering Genealogical Proof  (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society, 2013), 6. [Book available from the publisher at ]

“Dear Myrtle’s” Mastering Genealogical Proof 2 Study Group. Thank you for allowing me to participate.

Genealogy is a multidisciplinary field of research accurately reconstructing unknown family from present day, you, to your ancestors of long ago. Is it curiosity or a need to know type of study? I think it is both.

I have always approached Genealogy like a medical case you want to know the answers to. We are always asking patients what health issues did their mother, father, their grandparents have to help find and hopefully prevent any disease developing. We strive for as much accuracy in the diagnosing and assessing them as can be achieved through test and interviews compiling a “reasonably exhaustive” search until you feel you have answered your question. If a hospitalization is needed we want to know their religion, so that we can provided for their spiritual, as well as, their physical needs.

Sometimes they don’t know the medical history. It maybe because of an adoption, you not the biological child of the father or mother because of an extramarital affair; more likely because the family didn’t discuss those things. My mother also said she cared for her sick mom who had muscle weakness, her father always complained of Angina. My Dad always complained of a tummy upset. Fortunately when I entered the medical field, at the tender age of sixteen, my parents gave me a little more information about themselves. Neither of them know what their parents or grandparents diseases were. That is how I started my family research; looking through old records and family documents to find the answers.

Dr. Jones mentions the importance of following the five Genealogy Proof Standards that “prove’ the family relationships to the best of your knowledge. The need to have guidelines to follow when researching and accurately providing a written synopsis of those finding for future generation to build on. Just like in the medical field needing standards or guidelines, so everyone is on the same page at least when they start. We may approach it in different ways to get the answers; yet we strive for “accuracy and consistency” in all we do.

He talks about a “reasonably exhaustive” search to answer our research questions. In medicine we are looking for a reason for the illness. In genealogy we are looking for our ancestors. Both are broad based statements that need to be narrowed done to one question at a time. I consider the “reasonably exhaustive” part is like our C.E.U’s (Continuing Educational Credits,) in our professional fields. You use what knowledge base you have until more up to date information or research is found. Researching your family is an ongoing investigation of who we are and where we came from. You make a supported conclusion of the family relationship and keep that as your evidence until some updated file proves otherwise. I think Michael Hait from the panel of the MGP Study Group says it best; “I reasonably exhaustive search is when you have enough evidence proving your conclusion” In other words answering your original question to your satisfaction.

In the medical field we record “complete and accurate” citation of our findings through, blood work, CT scans, medical history, ultrasound or whatever test is required to reach the end results. We record each step and test done. That same care is needed when researching our family. Where did you find that cause of death, their birth date, marriage date, etc.? Can you go back and find it now these many years later with what you recorded nine or more years ago? We go back generations when researching our ancestors, if we do not record the repository, book, family Bible, birth certificate, marriage or death certificate and where it was found we have not supported or provided “proof” of our research.

Dr. Jones goes on to speak about the “correlation’” of the information gathered. It is like the telephone game we played as children, one person tells you something, you pass it on, they pass it on and by the time it comes back to you it is a totally different story. The same happens with family medical or social interactions. What one sibling or spouse tells you of the medical history does not agree other the other. It is time to gather all known and told facts and compare them to what records you have. Then and only then can you move on to the Resolution of any conflicts in the information provided.

Finally all of that needs to be recorded accurately with a written supporting  synopsis of evidence and documentation of your research sources. Just like the medical field does with each patients diagnosis. I use the S.O.A.P method when writing my supporting evidence, along with the O.L.D. C.H.A.RT. assessing tools. I don’t remember which medical book or teacher/s taught me this year ago, for that I apologize. I used these methods in my daily life for whatever analysis I need done personally or professionally.  Thank Stanley Plodsnick, my nursing professor, way back when, for your quote “Don’t Assume anything, it makes and ASS/U/ME.” I saw that posted on the chalkboard for weeks and still remember it to today.

Subjective           What you have been told             Family Traditions/Specific question needs answering

Objective            What you observed/see                       Family records/BDM certificates/Census/other documents

Assessment       Gather and compare all evidence pertinent to answering your chief question

Plan                       How are you going to find the answers for the blank information to your chief question?

A need to revisit the same problem from a different view may elicit more information before you put it out there for peer review. That is where the “old chart” methods comes in.

Onset of the Event                          BDM(birth, death, marriage), finding a photograph, illness

Location                                               Residence/where they lived

Duration                                              How long there

CHaracter/CHronology                  Quality/support strong or weak/does progression make sense/ residence in same area/ if at a distance does it show how they came to be there

Alleviating/Aggravating factor    one piece of information doesn’t agree with anything else/Can it be proved/resolved

Radiation                                             F.A.N. club (Family/Associates/Neighbors) is Elizabeth Shown Mills  of Evidence Explained fame, way of saying to search further than the single person/increase your range of search to you side family lines/work mates/ those you live in your neighborhood

( Chapter 1.3)

Temporal pattern/Treatment     Daily routine/ seek a different view/ same search gives the same results/look from another angle

Severity                                               Strong Evidence and written conclusion supported with documentation

What I would do if someone wants me to remove supporting documents. I would tell them the same thing I told my nursing supervisor when she told me my notes were too long. “If I did it, I record it.” That is how I was taught and that is how I will continue. (PS when the OSHA review came through my notes saved their collective you know what.) Ever since then I stand by my method until I can be shown a better way.

Partial Genealogy conclusion are like partial medical conclusion; a misdiagnosis happens. Do you want to find out too late that you family has a history of cardiac disease when you thought there was none because you were following the wrong family? I think not. All parts of the assessment are interdependent on one another for the most accurate diagnosis/conclusion for each life event.

The first step in genealogy research is the same as in medicine; Ask the unknown specific question or relationship that needs answering. Example: “Who is Alzono Chase born 2 July 1835, Hopkinton New Hampshire?” Support the conclusion with written documentations. Now play devil’s advocate and try to disprove what you just proved. Then you have a valid supported proof.

I document my resources in different forms. I am converting my index cards, family sheets and birth certificates to my tree, my Family Tree maker program while still keeping my Microsoft word program of documentations. I have plans to use Ed Thompson Evidentia software to aide in my documentation once I become familiar with his program. I’m not tech savvy to say the least.

For more information please view Dear Myrtle’s You-Tube feed to listen to both MGP 1 Study Group and MGP 2 Study Group.

My goal is to improve my written citations for all my genealogical records. I strive to achieve the most accurate and well documented family tree that I can produce.