Sunday, September 15, 2013

Your Family Tree: To Share or Not to Share?

My family tree has been available on Rootsweb since... oh gosh, I'm going to estimate 2002, in that range.  That's my best guess, since I had my son in 2002, and that's when I quit working to stay home with him, thus giving me more free time to work on genealogy. 

It's been available for a long time, but I'm not sure it does any good any more, since I've also shared many of my brick walls and questions in forum postings and here on my blog.  I've also gone through every single family line and shared it here, so I don't think all my research on my entire family needs to be available online any longer.

Of course, I do hope people look up names and connect with me to ask questions, but sometimes I received some rather silly questions off my Rootsweb tree.  Sometimes people asked if I had any sources, when all my sources were available for anyone to read.  Sometimes people tried to append more data to the tree.  If I wanted the data there, I would have added it myself - because my ancestors are mostly from New England, most of this is very easy to find.  That was mildly frustrating, because I stated very clearly on the family tree that people could contact me directly.

But when I was having lunch with one of my associates in the Next Generation Genealogy Network another matter came up that had me mulling it over - people who take and use data for themselves, without crediting the original source. 

I do believe the genealogy community is extremely helpful, communicative, and generous.  However, there are times when people overstep their bounds.  Maybe they don't realize they are doing it.  It's truly unfortunate when it happens.

Overall, I decided ten years of having the tree available was enough.  I do believe it is easy for people to locate me in connection with any of my ancestors and I will, as always, gladly share information.  I do think having family trees out there is great, but when it becomes just one of many, maybe it really doesn't help anyone anyway.

What do you think?

Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dr. Roy A. Miles Collins

In June or July of this year, I went to an antique store in Galena, Illinois.  There I found an 1894 copy of In Maiden Meditation, with the following inscription:

"Susanna M. Nuckolls.  Presented by - Roy A. Miles Collins.  March 1900."

First of all, I'm not sure about the last name of the woman.  That's how the handwriting looks, but it could be something else...

Out of curiosity, I looked up the names via Google, and stumbled on to what appears to be a very sad portrait of Dr. Collins's life.

He was born about December of 1874, which means he was roughly 24-years-old when he gave that book to Susanna.  Was she his intended?  A friend?  A relative?

In the 1900 census on 12 June 1900, Roy A. Collins was at the Industrial School for Boys in Eldora City, Hardin County, Iowa.  The head of that "household" was none other than his stepfather, B. J. Miles.  Roy was born in Iowa or Nebraska on 14 December 1874.   He is buried in Kearney Cemetery in Buffalo County, Nebraska.

A look at the 1880 census shows Roy with his stepfather, Branston J. Miles, and mother, Belle C. (Cooke) Miles, in Eldora, Hardin County, Iowa. Apparently his father, Milton M. Collins, was killed by bandits when Roy was quite young.

Whatever Roy's story is, the ending is not a happy one.

On July 24, 1909, his third wife, Kate Van Winkle Collins, murdered him.  Of course it is very interesting to know I have a book that was gifted from a murdered man to who I am assuming was a young lady - perhaps a love interest.  So that leads to the question who were his first two wives?  Was one of them Susanna? 

Well, in a relatively short time (1900-1909), young Roy A. Collins had only 3 wives.  Let's see if we can learn more about them:

1. 1900-1902:  What happened during this time?  I simply don't know, but I wonder if he married the Susanna to whom he gave the book I now own.

I found Susanna Nuckolls, born about December 1877, in the 1900 census with her parents in Eldora, Iowa. She is also listed in the 1895 Iowa State census.

There is a Susanna Nuckolls who married a Frank C. Hammond and had a daughter, Elizabeth, in Eldora on 4 January 1909.  It seems likely that this is the same Susanna.  However, was she Roy's first wife? 

2.  1902-1908: According to newspaper articles, his first wife eloped with a Danish nobleman, leaving Roy with a 3-year-old daughter to care for.  She became the Countess Viggo Holstein Rathlou.  She was formerly Elinora (Nora) aka Goldie Lang.  At the time of the marriage, 19 July 1902 in Cedar County, Nebraska (Lang, Golda to Collins, Roy A.), she was 17-years-old and a singer.   They filed for divorce in 1908, but it was not finalized by October of that year, when she remarried to the Count Viggo Holstein Rathlou.

3.  1908-1909: Kate Van Winkle is, of course, the one who shot and murdered him on July 24, 1909.  They married sometime after October 20, 1908.  She was much older than Roy (49 to his 34), and "of a suspicious and jealous disposition".  They were married less than year and in the process of separating when she shot him.

And that is the tale of the unfortunate Mr. Collins.

Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan

Humble Apologies...

Oh my goodness, I have not posted since April!  I certainly will start posting again this month, as I have much to share.

I do apologize, though.  Of course I had a baby in January and in June we moved from England back to the U.S. and are only now feeling "settled" in our new home.  Many of us are friends on Facebook, so you realize I've been quite busy.

A post is in the works, as are many exciting things in my own little world of genealogy.

Copyright (c) 2013 Wendy L. Callahan