Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scholarly Approach Pays Off

In the 1970's and through to the mid-1980's, Gordon Wagner completed an extensive amount of genealogical research into the Wagner family's history (Gordon's research papers were donated to the University of Waterloo, Ontario (http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/discipline/SpecColl/archives/wagner.html). This included the Faulkner family of his mother, Lottie Marion Faulkner. Gordon's work was completed without the advantage that computers and large databases today offer us. His tools were paper forms like pedigree charts and family group sheets - something that many of us who started family history research in that era might remember well.

Gordon also did not have the same opportunity to complete his work collaboratively - certainly he made some connections with distant family members who offered up some additional bits of information, likely anecdotal and without sources. These connections would have involved letter writing and the use of what we know refer to as 'snail mail.' Now we enjoy almost instant contact through email and electronic chats and the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers.

One such current collaboration is to be congratulated for a significant breakthrough piece of work. John Carew, Dr. Alaric Faulkner, and Ian Smillie connected to uncover an error in Gordon's research on the Faulkner family that now clearly identifies Sylvester Faulkner's paternal lineage. Sylvester, born in 1780 in Sturbridge, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, was identified by Gordon Wagner as the son of Peter Daniel Faulkner and Chloe Cram. The work of John, Alaric (Ric), and Ian over the past few months has provided a convincing and compelling argument that this was incorrect and that Sylvester's true father was Peter Faulkner, a cousin of Daniel Faulkner, who married Chloe Cram.

As John Carew informed me, "The situation has developed to the point that Sylvester has a credible, verifiable ancestry to the line of Edmund Faulkner in Andover, Massachusetts and we have a family tree that takes Sylvester Faulkner’s descendants of today back 400 plus years to Kingscleare and Richard Faulkner, in 1597."

I had only the minor role to play of feeding the 'team' with the references and notes left by Gordon. Their success was brought about by strong collaboration and perseverance. My work now begins as I have a messy database of Faulkners to organize.

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