Saturday, May 2, 2009

Using Date Calculator in Genealogy Software

Thanks to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings for last Saturday’s night fun (April 25, 2009) on using the Date calculator in genealogy software. When I need to determine a birth year or some other genealogical calculation, I always create a formula in the Microsoft Excel software. Occasionally, I use a pocket calculator or the computer calculator located in the Accessories section in Windows. I did not know that genealogy software had a date calculator until last Saturday night.

Family Tree Maker Date Calculator
I use Family Tree Maker 2009 and I accessed the Date calculator by clicking on the Tools menu and the Date Calculator option.

Date Calculation Project
Since last Saturday night, I have been using the Date Calculator feature of my genealogy software to calculate various types of dates. Today, I pulled out data from the Greensville County, VA Free Negro Register, 1803-1832. I was focusing on the Ferguson family because Sandy Ferguson and his wife Susan are believed have deed land in the 1870s for the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. I do not think that I am directly kin to the Fergusons, but several members of this family have married into my Robinson and Greenway family in the Skippers area of Greensville County, VA.

Henry and Allen Ferguson
In the register, the mother of Henry and Allen Ferguson is named as “Betty.” I had calculated their estimated birth years a long time ago and determined that they were born some time between 1797 and 1798.

The Two Bettys
Two Bettys were listed in the Free Negro Register and I had not calculated their estimated birth year because I wasn’t sure which Betty was the mother of Henry and Allen. Instead of using Microsoft Excel or a calculator, I used the Family Tree Maker Date Calculator.

Below, are the results along with the Free Negro Registration description on each Betty where I typed in the year they registered and age given on registration. The calculated birth year is in grey.

Betty #1
Betty, a free woman emancipated (as above*), about 47-years of age, 5' 4" high (in shoes), and has no material marks or scars on her head, face or hands perceivable. Registered August 23, 1814, Entry #44

*Note "by the last will and testament of Nathaniel Mabry, deceased, of record in my office" Indicated in Entry #43, the one above Betty's entry.



Betty #2
Betty, emancipated by Doct. Jessee A. Bonner, of a dark complexion, aged about 60-years, 5' 3-1/2 high (in shoes), a small scar or lump on her right arm, her fore teeth out, by occupation a Spinner. Registered December 29, 1820, Entry #81


Conclusion
Based on these estimated birth years, there is only a seven year difference between the two Bettys. Therefore, one could not possibly be the mother of the other one.

However, searching other documents and generating additional date calculations have provided an answer to this mother mystery.

Stay tuned tomorrow…

1 comment:

Cheryl Fleming Palmer said...

Love the example you used and posted! Now to find out the results of your mother, daughter situation!