Guidelines

Welcome!

Genealogy is my passion. I gravitate to genealogy not only because of the enthusiasm generated when I uncover lineages and more family members, but also because my research opens doors to the social, political, economic, and cultural events experienced by my ancestors, sparking a desire to learn more about these specific historical events. My spouse of over 30 years, Mitchell Block, comes from a New York City Jewish family, steeped in the traditions of the urban East Coast and in Jewish religion and customs. I come from South Dakota, raised Lutheran, surrounded by rural, pioneer-influenced Norwegian, German, and English traditions. Our family backgrounds couldn't be further apart and yet we've blended in wonderful ways and cherish our differences.

All of us contain genetic fragments from our ancestors who preceded us. Our families influence us dramatically and can actively mold and shape the individuals we become. So, the connected bloodlines documented in these pages are a reflection of who we are, what we were, and from where we came. Enjoy the connections.
--Gerald Lowell, Webmaster

1.0 Database Updates and Changes

The backbone for "Connectedbloodlines.com" is a database of information for almost 20,000 individuals, made available via the Web using The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) software. I serve as the web master for this website. The ConnectedBloodlines database is updated regularly by importing gedcom files from Reunion software on my home Mac computer.

Given the my Reunion database serves as my database of recore, I do not permit other individuals to make changes to information in ConnectedBloodlines. If you have additional information that you would like to see added or corrections that you would like to make, please contact me via the website. I will then update both ConnectedBloodlines and my home Reunion database.

2.0 Privacy

The genealogical community has long debated the issue of privacy and the amount of information that should be made publicly-accessible via online means for individuals who are still living. Privacy expectations and legislation vary considerably from country to country. An amazing amount of online and in-print information is already available for individuals who are still living. I have mined such informtion continuously to pull together the information that is contained in my genealogy database. Obituaries, if found, routinely list the names of survivors. Public records exist nationwide containing names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Birth, marriage, military enlistment, and draft registration records may contain birthdates. A wide range of miscellaneous documents available on the Internet can also provide what many view as sensitive data that should not be provided via genealogical websites for individuals who are still living.

I have attempted to institute the following privacy policies for Connected Bloodlines:

a. Individuals lacking a death date and born after 1910 are presumed to be living.

b. For all individuals presumed to be living, the only information about that individual that will be displayed without a user signon will be the full name.

c. Family members may register and receive permission to have access to all data available for any individual who is living. Exceptions to this policy may be requested by contacting me. I will then make a determination, on a case-by-case basis, whether to provide access or not.

d. If any living individual wishes to not have their name appear in Connected Bloodlines, please contact me and I will make the necessary changes so that your name will not be displayed.

2.0 Source Citations

When I first started building my database in the early 1990s, I had little appreciation for the importance of maintaining an accurate system to document the source for the form of name and for birth and deaths for individuals, as I continuously added names to my database. Instead, I simply added these pieces of information as I encountered them. When finding records contained in other publicly-accessible databases, I simply copied all or portions of this relevant primary source data into the Notes field, indicating the source of the record as part of the Notes statement. I did use Reunion's source feature for all oral history materials that I generated during my research. As I watched my database grow, I began to appreciate the importance of clearly documenting the source for every bit of information and began to use the source features in Reunion more consistently, but by that time, it was too late for me to attempt to go back through the thousands of records that were already in existence and edit them appropriately. Therefore, at this time, the information in the Notes fields contains the only source data that I have. I do not have any additional information that I can provide to anyone regarding the source(s) I used for establishing the form of name, birth, and/or death dates.

3.0 Standards for Names

Within Reunion, I have developed two different style sheets for recording name data, one for personal names and one for geographic names.

3.1 Naming Conventions for Individuals

I have adopted the following style sheet for my use of the Reunion data structure for names:

PREFIX: Include titles that always appear in front of the name: Capt., Rev., Lieut., etc. I do not include Dr. or Esq. nor do I include any titles for royalty in a prefix. TNG displays prefixes as the initial part of a first name; they do not need to be used for searching.

FIRST NAME: Used for first and middle names of an individual, when this individual has last name; the name only, if there is only one name without a last name. Numbering for royalty is included as part of the first name, e.g., Hugues II. If an individual only is known by a first name, that name will appear as a first name and the last name will be blank. Use original language for the first name given first. I list the first name in its original language first. If desired or needed, I include the Anglicized spelling following any original language first name: e.g., "Guillaume or William."

LAST NAME: Actual last name. For early royalty and nobility, when only one name was used, leave "Last Name" blank and put name in "First Name" field. Consider as last name any patronymic, e.g. names preceded by AP, FERCH, or FITZ or followed by names ending with --SON, --SEN, --SSEN, SSON, or --DTR. Use patronymic abbreviation, e.g., "dtr" rather than "datter". If there is expected to be a last name but it is not known, use "?" in the Last Name field. Norwegian farm names, if needed for identification, are added in the last name field following the patronymic, e.g. "Olsen Presthaug" where "Presthaug" is the farm name.

SUFFIX: Include royalty titles and any phrases denoting geographical location of person, e.g., "de Hereford" or "King of England." Use original language when known, e.g. "Comte." Note that it is sometimes difficult to determine when a geographic suffix title begins to be used as the "official surname."

3.2 Challenges Associated with Naming Conventions

The formatting of personal names is especially problematic in three areas: a) names of royalty and nobility in medieval times, b) naming formats and the spelling of names in Norway before surnames were mandated by the Norwegian government, and c) naming formats and the spelling of names for Jews in eastern Europe and Russia.

Royalty and Nobility in Medieval Times

It is sometimes quite difficult to search for names from the medieval era. Some databases use versions of a name based on its spelling in the native geographic area. Information can then be missed, if one uses an Anglicized search term. This challenge is especially apparent when working with Norman family names after these families relocated to England. For example, when does "Guillaume" become "William"?

Many times, an individual's name was changed when that person was crowned as a member of the royal family. Sometimes, one individual might have two different names with differing number schemes, if more than one political entity is being governed by the same individual.

Sometimes, there are numerous versions of names for one individual given the variations found among primary sources. I have attempted to follow the naming conventions used by the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy when entering medieval names into my Reunion database.

Nowegian Naming Conventions

Until the early 1900s, Norwegians, especially those living in rural areas, did not use consistent surnames. Patronymics were usually employed, followed by the farm name where an individual lived and/or worked. Sometimes the farm name was used as the surname, without use of a patronymic. When rural Norwegians moved from one farm to another, their "last name" usually changed to reflect the new farm location. More than one farm name may be used for a Norwegian last name. When multiple farm names appear, they should be listed from earliest to latest, i.e., the first farm name covers the location of birth and the last farm name will be the name of the farm where the individual died.

Given the naming conventions in place during the 1700-1900s, it was very common for a son to bear the first name of his father, which would then mean that the first name and patronymic were the same for more than one individual. After working with sixteen different "Ole Olesons" from one family line, one appreciates the availability of a farm name or relatively accurate birth and death data to distinguish one Ole Oleson from another. If a farm name was needed to clearly identify a specific individual, I have included that farm name as part of the surname, listing it after the patronymic. In 1923, the Norwegian government mandated that each family should have a hereditary last name and only one last name would be used consistently, ignoring patronymics and changes in farm location.

Naming Issues for Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia

In the area now known as Poland, civil registration for Jewish births, marriages, and deaths began in 1808, following Napoleonic record formats. The data was written in Polish and registration data for all religions, including Jewish, were registered in the Roman Catholic civil registers maintained by the Roman Catholic church. In 1815, the Kingdom of Poland was formed from the former Duchy of Warsaw. In 1821 Polish Jews were required to take surnames. In 1826, separate civil registers began for each religious community; therefore, separate Jewish registers began in 1826. From 1826 to 1867, these Jewish records were written in Polish, using the extended Roman alphabet. From 1868 to 1917, the Jewish civil registrations were written in Russian using the Cyrillic alphabet. From 1918 on, the records were again written in Polish. Given the differences that can arise when one transliterates a name from a Cyrillic alphabet to a Roman alphabet form, since different transliteration schemes exist, variations in the spelling of a last name can occur. In addition, the use of Yiddish or Hebrew names adds more confusion, given the various forms of a name that a specific Jewish individual may have. Finally, as Jews immigrated to the U.S., they usually dropped the Yiddish forms of their given name and used Anglicized names, e.g. "Rochla" becomes "Rose"; "Shlomo" becomes "Sol". Sometimes, these Anglicized versions of names bear no similarity to the Yiddish forms of the name, e.g., "Chaim" becoming "Herman." There is also considerable variation in the spelling of surnames, regardless of issues surrounding the use of Polish or Russian. For example, I have uncovered eleven different spelling variations used by various family members in spelling their last name of "Balowitz."

3.3 Geographic Naming Conventions

a. For all U.S. place names: I have recorded geographic names in the following order: Town, County, State, USA, e.g., Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota, USA. If a town name is unknown or does not exist, I will attempt to identify the relevant township within county, if possible. If I am able to locate a township, then these types of geographic names are recorded as Township, County Name, State, and USA, e.g., Wall Lake Township, Minnehaha, South Dakota, USA. If there is no known township, then the geographic form of the name would be: Minnehaha Co., South Dakota, USA. If neither town or county is known, then the name of the state is used, South Dakota, USA.

b. Methods for handling the political entity called "County" in the U.S.: There are several situations occurring in the United States that cause problems with the routine standard of Town, County, State, USA:

  • Some cities are defined as "independent" and are not part of a county. Instead, the city functions also as a county, e.g., Anchorage. For these cases, I will cite the name of the city, followed by its political designation, and then the usual state and country, e.g., Anchorage, Borough of Anchorage, Alaska, USA.
  • Some cities spread across several counties. For these circumstances, I will locate the official website for the city to determine how it lists its address.
  • Some towns or cities have the same name as the county in which they are located, e.g.: Athens, Ohio located in the county of Athens. For these circumstances, I use the following format: Athens, Athens, Ohio, USA.
  • New York City's political structure poses special, unique problems. After much research, I have adopted the following conventions to cover the various parts of New York City:
    • When the specific borough is known, the following place names are used:
      • Manhattan (New York Co.), New York City, New York, USA
      • The Bronx (Bronx Co.), New York City, New York, USA
      • Brooklyn (Kings Co.), New York City, New York, USA
      • Queens (Queens Co.), New York City, New York, USA
      • Staten Island (Richmond Co.), New York City, New York, USA
    • If the specific borough is not known, use: New York City, New York, USA
    • Long Island consists of four counties: Queens (a borough of New York City); Brooklyn (a borough of New York City); Nassau County, and Suffolk County. For Long Island:
      • When the borough location is known and it is Queens or Brooklyn, do not use the phrase "Long Island." Instead, use the style conventions listed for New York City when specific borough is known, as shown above.
      • When the town is known and it is located in either Nassau or Suffolk County, do not use the phrase "Long Island." Use: [Name of town], Nassau, New York, USA OR [Name of town] Suffolk, New York, USA.
      • If the town on Long Island is not known, but county is known, use: Nassau Co., New York, USA OR Suffolk Co., New York, USA.
      • For Long Island locations where neither town nor county is known, use: Long Island, New York, USA. Note that this is the only condition where the term "Long Island" is used.

    c. For place names in Norway: I have recorded geographic names as follows: Farm Name (when applicable), Town or Parish, County, Norway.

    d. For place names in Poland: I have been inconsistent to date in recording geographic names in Poland. I am attempting to introduce the following standard: Town or Shtetl Name, county or powiat name, and then "Poland." Like the spelling issues surrounding people's names, the form of geographic names in Poland can vary considerably. I have attempted to use current forms of spelling. To confuse matters further, there are a number of different villages in Poland, Eastern Europe, and Russia with the same name. In order to distinguish various same-name villages, Jewish genealogical resources use latitude and longitude measurements to identify unique locations for each of these various villages.

    e. For place names in Germany: As with Poland, I have been inconsistent to date in recording geographic names in Germany. I am attempting to introduce the following standard: Town, State, Germany.

    f. Methodologies used when geographic or political names change:I try to use the contemporary version and form of spelling for the names of all geographic entities, based on their current political alignment, when possible. I will use the Notes field to record earlier versions of names. I still have a significant amount of editing work to be done for geographic names outside the U.S.

    4.0 Standards for Dates

    When working with a family with numbers of descendants and a lack of much substantive information, the oral history of dates, e.g., birth dates, immigration dates, etc., often gets garbled and memories of dates associated with various individuals become contradictory. Sometimes, our individual memories of the date for a specific action become so imbedded that we simply refuse to accept the date that exists on a primary source document for this specific action. And, at other times, our ancestors simply didn't know or use a "correct" or "consistent" date. For example, for my Jewish family in eastern Europe, three different calendars were in use during part of the 1800s: the Julian, the Gregorian, and Hebrew dating systems. Therefore, it is quite common to find inconsistencies from one Note record to another for the dates for certain events for a specific individual.

    5.0 Authenticity

    In building my database, I have always placed a high degree of emphasis on including only those family connections that can be documented and proven per conventional genealogical standards. I find it humorous to see family trees published showing lineages back to Adam, Eve, Noah or to Moses, given the lack of any source materials that reliably document these connections. I have refrained from doing this. Instead, I have relied heavily on experts, especially those associated with the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, to determine how far back I can go and still feel comfortable that the information is valid and supported by historical documents. The inclusion of individuals within Connectedbloodlines reflects these authenticity guidelines. In my Reunion database at home, I have many more individuals listed; however, the linkages among these individuals can not be proven.

    6.0 Terms of Use

    a. This site is owned and operated by Gerald R. Lowell. The entire contents of this site are copyrighted under the United States Copyright laws. The domain "connectedbloodlines.com" is owned by me. The database may not be downloaded and/or reloaded into any commercial or religious database.

    b. It is expressly forbidden for anyone to charge for access to these pages or to sell the information contained in these pages to any entity.

    c. This website is to be used solely for the personal use by the individuals listed in these files or for broader genealogical research.

    d. Photographs of living individuals may be copied by family members (as defined above) for their personal use. Photographs of deceased individuals may be copied by anyone for their personal use. If photographs contained in "Connectedbloodlines.com" are to be used for any commercial purpose, permission must be granted by me in advance of such use. When using photographs from Connected Bloodlines, please reflect the fact that you found the photograph in Connected Bloodlines.

    e. Finally, this database has been developed for my personal enjoyment and for the enjoyment and education of others. I make no guarantees that data contained on this site is accurate. I have done my best to provide correct data but there will always be mistakes in any endeavor such as this. If you find errors, please contact me and I will correct them immediately.

    If you have questions on any of these guidelines, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

    Gerald R. Lowell

    18 October 2008

    Rev. 22 November 2011, 22 July 2012, 21 Jun 2015