My method is pretty basic. I prefer to work on my tree from what I know to what I can prove from documentation to what I can presume from documented facts I uncover myself to what I speculate from what I know. However, it’s not always a straight linear method like it sounds. Sometimes it is helpful to consider the work of other researchers or the personal knowledge of informants, such as cousins, other relatives, associates of relatives and ancestors, historians, or knowledgeable elders while doing my own work. It can be really helpful because sometimes it allows me to steer myself, going from pieces of knowledge I didn’t have before, finding and collecting the documented facts that support that knowledge, and then going from there. Sometimes I’ve found myself stuck. Having a solid network of fellow researchers and informants is essential to doing genealogical research, and I imagine it is essential in doing research for books, films, news stories, and other pursuits, as well.
I started entering data on Captain Robert Rivers II, my seventh great grand uncle, after learning that a cousin of mine, we’ll call her Lagertha, is a living descendant of him. Exciting! Capt. Robert (“Master Mariner”, as he is often titled) was the half-brother of my seventh great grandfather George Rivers, Sr. I wanted to add Lagertha to my tree on Ancestry, so I started with Capt. Robert and went on down the line to Lagertha.
Lagertha had shared with me a screenshot of a page from her mother’s tree on Ancestry that diagrammed her relationship to Capt. Robert on through his descendants.
Also, using Joseph D. Rivers Pedigree Chart #1 I can use the screenshot that Lagertha shared to guide me through all the names to clarify the line to which she belongs.
Robert Rivers I, my eighth great grandfather, had at least two sons from two different marriages. Captain Robert Rivers II and George Rivers, Sr. were half-brothers.
Robert I was the son of Lt. John Rivers, IV, my ninth great grandfather.
Robert I’s siblings included William Rivers, Daniel Rivers, John Rivers, and Nehemiah Rivers.
Robert I was probably born on Bermuda, where his parents settled and where the four other brothers of his I know about were born also.
Captain Robert Rivers II, Robert I’s first son as far as I know, named one of his sons Mallory, which was the family name of his Uncle William’s wife, Elizabeth. William was the first Rivers on James Island and one of his daughters married a man from the Stanyarne family and they had a son named Rivers Stanyarne. But as you’ll later read Capt. Robert married a Mallory woman. We’ll see. Joseph D. did not add that into his charts, which is a little odd if it’s documented.
The Capt. Robert Rivers II, Master Mariner line of the Rivers family is the line that produced Capt. Elias Lynch Rivers, Lucius Mendel Rivers, John Laroche Rivers, and many other prominent Rivers family individuals and families. I had not worked on this line as much because I descend from his half-brother’s line, George Rivers, Sr., who was born I believe about thirty years after Robert was born. Capt. Robert was old enough to be George’s father and Robert I, his grandfather. Nevertheless, George Rivers, Sr. was a grandchild of Lt. John Rivers IV and Ann (Newman) Rivers also, and although I do not descend from Capt. Robert II Lagertha and I both share common ancestors beginning with Robert Rivers I, my eighth great grandfather and her eighth great grandfather, I believe, as well as son to Lt. John IV, my ninth great grandfather.
Another woman who I started chatting with on Facebook, we’ll call her Polly, more recently who is also a cousin related to Cousin Lagertha revealed that she and Polly “both descend from Amelia Rivers and William Brown” and that her great grandfather and our other cousin’s grandfather were brothers. Polly also told me that Lagertha’s grandmother was a Rivers cousin as well.
Both cousins also shared information I did not have about the spouse of my eighth great grand uncle (Captain Robert). I didn’t even know her name, Keziah (Mallory) Rivers (1689-1739), born in Bermuda, died in Charleston, South Carolina. She married Capt. Robert in 1710, when she was either twenty or twenty-one. Her groom was thirty-two or thirty-three, which signals to me that Keziah probably was not his first wife. According to Polly the marriage of Capt. Robert and Keziah produced two children.
So now I’m excited to hopefully have the chance to examine the research of Lagertha and Polly so that I may fill in the details of the descending lines from our common ancestors to these two cousins of mine and fellow family history enthusiasts.