When is the right time for a family historian to publish and distribute research findings? And in what form? Book, online tree, family group sheets, blog? Should one publish not only facts but the family lore that can’t be proven by any records? How much background should be included in order to place a family in historical and social context? How wide to cast the net? To concentrate only on direct ancestors may give an incomplete picture, but the number of collaterals can be daunting enough to stymie the whole process!
Up to now, I’ve hesitated to publish anything on paper since it’s obvious that there is much more to be discovered about both my own and my husband’s ancestors. Also, I’ve worked as an editor of both print and online content and know that many rounds of correction by several persons are required to make sure that the information is accurate and the copy is without typos.
All of which helps to explain why I started this blog for my husband’s family. A blog seems more “forgiving” — corrections and new facts can be added as soon as they’re discovered without printing a new book or yet another set of family group sheets. A blog allows me to write and publish discrete essays without having to worry about how they’ll “fit” into the format selected for a book, while having the ability to link them to related postings. I can include anything that helps to tell the family’s story, whether documented or passed down orally, as long as I let my readers know which is which. Other family members can comment on the information and stories presented and thereby help to correct errors.
Perhaps the best reason for this blog is that I’ve always regretted not keeping a better diary while researching my own family — not a research log but an account of the research process with all of its excitement and frustration. A blog enables me to include these and other aspects of my relatively recent research into my husband’s family.
But even in this medium, I still have to contend with a “hard copy” mind set about when to publish my findings: As soon as they’re discovered? Or only when a family group’s information is complete and meets all five elements of the Genealogical Proof Standard?
From the comments received on this blog, many persons are looking for their MINNAAR ancestors, but have yet to establish a connection to a recent ancestor that will enable them to trace their family back to the single progenitor Philippe MESNARD/MINNAAR who landed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1688. So, even though it’s incomplete, I’ve decided to publish the vital information I’ve found to date for the family of my husband’s great-grandparents, in the hope that some of those searching may find clues to their branch of the family.
Hendrik Nicolaas MINNAAR (1855 – 1903) &
Engela Aletta Jacobmina STEINHÖBEL (ca. 1864 – 1941)
1) Philip Andrew (16 Aug 1883 – 12 Apr 1960) = Charlotte Eugenie EBERHARDT
2) Letitia Selina/Aletta Celina (ca. 1885 – ca. 1965) = Arthur Henry POOLE
3) Steinhöbel Franz Frederik (ca. Feb 1887 – 2 Dec 1954) = Jacoba Aletta
4) Ernst Pieter (6 Jul 1892 – died after 1941)
5) Hendrik Nicolaas/Frederik (6 Jul 1892 – died after 1941)
6) Edward Lourens/Lawrence (ca. Jul 1893 – 26 Nov 1927) = Anita LEVY
7) Engela Aletta (1 Nov 1898 – death date unknown) = Gerrit Hendrik ‘T HART
8) Christiaan de Wet (21 Mar 1901 – 11 Oct 1921)
9) Vera (6 Oct 1902 – 25 Jan 1970) = William Edward Rundle LIDSTONE
10) Emily (16 Jan 1904 – 5 May 1974) = Pieter Johannes Steyn MASSYN
Specific birth dates are taken from Family History Library microfilm #1439118 “Christenings 1842-1887, 1891-1907, 1913-1987,” part of the record set “Parish Registers, the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk, Potchefstroom (Transvaal).”
Christening records for the second and third children appear to be missing. The estimated birth month/year for Steinhöbel Franz Frederik is taken from his age of 67 years, ten months, at the time of his death as given by his wife on his Death Notice; the records from 1888 – 1890 are listed as missing on the microfilm. The estimated birth year for Letitia Selina, my husband’s grandmother, is based on the age of 22 as given on her 1907 marriage certificate. Although records for the years 1885 – 1887 fall outside the years listed as missing in the microfilm, repeated searches have failed to find her record.
The christening records show that Ernst Pieter and Hendrik Nicolaas/Frederik were twins. My husband’s two oldest brothers are twins so it’s interesting to find that there might be a family history of such births. However, there is a gap of five years between the births of Ernst and Hendrik and those of the next oldest sibling. There are a couple of possibilities: (1) Another baby was born before the twins; if so, the christening record would be among those missing from the data set. (2) The two children who appear to be twins were actually born in different years, but were christened on the same day, with the minister recording one of their birth dates incorrectly.
Son Hendrik’s middle name is shown as Nicolaas on his christening record, and his mother’s Death Notice lists him as H. N. However, he is listed as Hendrik Frederik on his father’s Death Notice.
Both of the twins Ernst and Hendrik were alive at the time of their mother’s death in 1941; I haven’t found either of their probate records on the index for the South African National Archives.
The christening record for the sixth child, Edward Lawrence, has not yet been found, although I’ve searched the microfilm two times line by line. His estimated birth month/year is taken from the age of 34 years, four months, given on his Death Notice by his wife.