Sidetracked again – Who is Eliza E?

Back in December of 2012 I found an Obituary for a Thomas M. Jones, and in my usual process I created a tree and found different family trees for it. I then got into a message conversation with one of those owners and she wanted to have more info on a branch of the original person. She said she wanted more information on Robert R. Harper and Sophia, so I sent her, a link to another tree owner who seemed to have the info she wanted.

Thomas M Jones Obit w Picture 1972
Thomas M Jones Obit

Well, today I was cleaning up my old messages and came across her Robert R. Harper message.

I thought I would look at FamilySearch.org and see if I could come up with a marriage certificate for Robert R. Harper and a Sophia. When I put in his full name and her first name I did not get what I wanted but I did get a Robert Harper and Eliza E. ___. I was intrigued by the lack of last name, so I brought up the transcription page and it had a photocopy of the original (some don’t) so I thought I would look at that to see if I could read Eliza’s last name.

Eliza E Hevener wed Robert Harper 1871 a
Dark large Marriage Cert
Copy of Eliza E Hevener wed Robert Harper 1871 a
Dark small area

I think you know where this is going.
The photocopy was real dark and her name was not clear so I figured I would play around with it and see what images I could bring out. I made a copy of the photocopy and lightened the page, then played with the contrast and sure enough I was just barely able to read her name “Hevener”.

Eliza E Hevener wed Robert Harper 1871
Marriage Cert Light

I checked Ancestry.com for a family tree with Robert Harper and Eliza E. Hevener but did not find a conclusive one so I created a family tree and got pulled into its branches.

Robert Harper Family Tree 01
Orig Tree

Many hours later I was able to find a branch which connected conclusively to the original Robert and Eliza marriage certificate but it was on a distant branch (Bland Family).

Robert Harper Family Tree 02
Full Tree

So as not to feel guilty about my many hours of working on some unrelated task I figured I would put it into a blog.
In my climbing through this family tree and all its tangled branches I found a book which might be useful to readers of this blog who have relatives in Pendleton County, W. VA.

A History of Pendleton County WV 1910
A History of Pendleton County WV 1910

Link: A History of Pendleton County WV 1910

I was pointed to a web site for a branch containing the Ritchey/Diehl Ancestry, which might also help other readers.

Link: Ritchey/Diehl Ancestry

Ritchey - Diehl Ancestry
Ritchey – Diehl Ancestry

I found out that the name Hevener is spelled several ways and the two most common are Heavener and Hevener. I found out that the family goes back many generations here in the states and the many branches all have similar first names which caused many family trees to have wrong information. For instance a Julia A. named her daughter Julia A., so some trees got the two mixed up.

1860 census Julia A Wevener
1860 census

I found that many of citations used in the trees are empty (Unsourced Citations). Many of the citations are listed as Ancestry Family Trees but don’t take you to the tree. And of course many of the trees have no citation what-so-ever; they just have names and dates but do not tell you where they got the information.

All in all I found the same mistakes I’ve written about in my previous blogs and was able to alert the family trees owners about some obvious errors, so my time was not really wasted.

I was able to build a good solid tree using only accurate records and I was able to provide documentation on the tree for all the good information I found. I was also able to contact some of the tree owners and let them know that I had a tree which had photocopies of documents and they were free to take whatever they needed off of them. I even sent my message to “private” tree owners who hide everything from other users.

However, I still have not found a marriage certificate for Robert R and Sophia.

Maybe tomorrow I will try a Link: FamilySearch.org search for the elusive marriage certificate.

Thank You.

By Jose A Munoz

Retired General Motors designer who now works on subjects dealing with genealogy. I create trees using items I find in old Google News Archive newspapers and I contact other tree owners notifying them about the news item concerning their relative and send them a link to the tree I created. I post a screen print of the news item on the tree for others to copy, so that my work will benefit others. Occasionally, I will post about the tree I created or the item that I found, always with a "how to" in-bedded in the post. I want my blog posts to help others with their family trees or with their genealogy experiences.

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