Month: February 2011


It’s the bane of any genealogy research. Finding out you have incorrect information long after you’ve added it to your family tree. In the worst cases, this could have ended up with you researching the wrong line for years. Fortunately, I’ve never (at least not yet) had that issue.

While I love Ancestry.com with their user-submitted family trees and I have used it constantly in my research, it’s a double-edged sword, especially for newer researchers. I sigh and roll my eyes every time I see their television commercial that shows a woman who notices the “shaky leaf” on some of the names in her family tree. When she clicks on them, she is able to add whole new families to her tree. Unfortunately, it seems most people think it’s that easy. Just click and boom, all your work is done.

I admit that in the beginning of my research over ten years ago, I usually just went for quantity over quality. It was so exciting to find new people and information that you just added it. I’ve paid the price for that now, but fortunately not in any major way. I’ve just had to go back, change a few pieces, and re-find all of the sources. That has actually indirectly helped me find new information, since now I look closer at every source I find.

I can use my great-great-grandfather’s profile to prove my point.

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Nathaniel Shannon
Nathaniel Shannon's Headstone in Boston.

The SHANNON surname first appears in my wife’s family tree at her maternal great-grandmother, Marie R (SHANNON) BANNACH. From the looks of it Marie didn’t have a very good start to her life. Her mother, Mary (DAKINS) SHANNON died when Marie was only four years old. Then, as far as we can tell, her father, George Washington SHANNON, up and left as she is next found in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census living with her grandparents (Mary’s parents.) I have not yet been able to track down George, but some signs point to him dying in Colorado in about 1930.

George’s father is Nathaniel SHANNON, born in 1816 in Gilmanton, Belknap Co., New Hampshire, where the SHANNON family lived for many generations. If naming conventions had been used, his name should’ve been Nathaniel Shannon VII. From this point on my wife is descended from seven Nathaniel Shannon’s straight back to her 9th-great-grandfather Nathaniel SHANNON who was born in about 1655 in Ulster County, Ireland. The seventh Nathaniel also had a son named Nathaniel, but we have not traced it any further. The original Nathaniel Shannon is somewhat famous, at least in death, as he is buried in the famous Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston, Massachusetts with the likes of Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. According to his headstone (to the right, click to bigify), he was also a Naval Officer of the Port of Boston. This is as far back as we can currently trace the SHANNON line in my wife’s tree, though from this line is where my wife theoretically connects to the Royal Line via the second Nathaniel SHANNON’s wife Abigail VAUGHAN.