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TRACING YOUR ANCESTORS

Maddox is one of the 700 most common names in the US, according to the Census Bureau.  Your oldest known ancestor may be identified in genealogy databases only by a name, birth date, birth place, or spouse's name.  He or she may be among dozens of others with the same name, or even a different surname spelling that's SIMILAR to Maddox.
The hardest part is linking your earliest known ancestors that you already have from grandma to the older, already published lineage of even earlier ancestors, long dead, but recorded by genealogy hobbyists.  You'll find those older possible ancestors at genealogy sites like ANCESTRY.COM (a fee-based site after a month's free trial, or the MORMON site which is free. run by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latterday Saints---the unquestioned experts in ancestral research and collection.
1.  You won't find so much published lineage after 1930.  That's partly because many genealogists don't like to invade the privacy of living individuals so they just haven't collected the names born much after World War I.  Most genealogists like collecting names from 1600-1930.  That's harder to find and a Revolutionary War tidbit is a prize worth a dozen Great Depression ones.   That's why it's important to get your own ancestors at least back into the 1800s through research among your own family members.  Make sure you know where they grew up, who they married.  And dates!   You'd be surprised how your late grandma kept a details list of every birth and death--often in an old family bible passed from one grandma to another.

2.  It's important to record the siblings of your own ancestors--those great uncles and aunts--because they may be the only keys to taking your family back much further through existing genealogies.  Why record those who are related but not in your direct line? 

 Because one of your distant cousins may well have taken the line further back and they have the names, dates and places you don't.  Often the names of a great grandfather's brothers is the only means you might verify that their data is about the same family yours is.  So write down ALL the siblings and dates into your records, if you have them.

Linking your research to this site or to others

If you have uncovered good ancestral data, experienced genealogists might have records to link you to THEIR research, often going back to Europe during Revolutionary times.  They might help you if you approach them right.  Otherwise, you may have to do some digging on your own.  Now then.  Genealogists do tend to help each other but only after they get the idea you're serious and not just asking them to do your leg-work for you.  They're more inclined to trade their research for yours, so don't approach them empty handed.  Have some data they want to give them.

A great amount of family ancestry from the time yours arrived in the states is already in databases, the early ones found in the most places.   Your people are found in birth, marriage, military, death, and tombstones, census records and ship manifests.  Lots of people have done long, detailed, nearly boring investigations in courthouses and on internet databases, and books.  Good thinking volunteers have actually put all the names, birth and death dates from tombstones into databases.  

The biggest mistake you can make is to write to a genealogist and say "I'm looking for my great grandfather Harry Maddox who lived somewhere in northern Georgia...can you help me?"

1.  What to put in your Inquiry to genealogists or Internet websites

Before you write, be good enough to look yourself at our website.   
Or sign up for ANCESTRY.COM or go over to the free
Mormon FAMILY SEARCH.ORG site.  Use their search engines.  Start with Maddox's (earliest name, date, and place) but also wives and children.   Please don't just ask us to look on the site for what you would see there yourself.  But you may have additions or special questions.  So when you inquire or submit data about an ancestor, ALWAYS include his or her:
Name, and Birth Date,  and Birth Place
If you don't have it all, give what you have--an accurate state is better than no city OR state.  If all you have is Death Date and place or Spouse's information, provide that.  Just don't give a common name you find on our site and expect results!    For example, say,  Don't guess because a wrong state will put ypu off the track.
"I'm inquiring about the parents of Charles Maddox, b 01/12/1805 St Marys MD."
That makes him unique-- not like the twenty other Charles Maddoxes born in Maryland during that time period.  Get in the habit of telling their birth year as if it was part of the name--it reduces confusion.  Like these:
"Notley Maddox born 1902" in Ohio,  "Sally Smith born 07/15/1840" Atlanta,   "John Jones Born 1734, served in the Maryland Brigade under General Christian, died in 1806 in Covington, Ky."
That eliminates the question, "uh, do you want Bill Smith the father, the great grandfather, or the brother Bill married to Calamity Jane?"


When you submit your lineage via EMAIL, offer us names you have (names, dates, places) and keep the relationships crystal clear. Who the spouse was, ( say 'married' or use abbreviation 'm.'  List and number the children with their own dates and places, as much as you know.   Here's a format you might want to use to submit your lineage to us:
JOHN MADDOX b 1805 Covington Ky, d 4/12/1866,  married  SALLY STRUTHERS, b unkn.
Children of John and Sally:
1.  John Struthers Maddox b 1831, Covington KY, d 1904 St Louis
2.  Ulysses Maddox,  b unkn
3.  Sally Jane Maddox, b 1835, Covington KY, married Edward Unknown
4.  Frank Eugene Maddox, b abt 1837, d 11/22/1937 Covington Ky
5.  Lucy Struthers Maddox, b 7/4/1838, Covington Ky, d.6/5/1927 Denver Co.
In the above example, you've made it clear just who John and Sally's children are, one family unit at a time.  Then if you want to take some of those down even further, refer to the children separately, (by name and birthdate, or at least year) in another paragraph one family unit at a time.  Note how each person is in list form, each on a separate line.  Again, make the lineage relationships clear to the data entry person.
Children of LUCY MADDOX b abt 1838 m FRANCIS POWERS b 1/3/1836, Cincinnati OH
1.  Edward Powers b 9/5/1860 Cincinnati OH d 6/30/1902, no marriage, no children
2.  Sally Jane Powers b 10/12/1861, Cincinnati OH, m Bill Black, b unkn, d About 1910, Cincinnati OH
To make yourself well organized.  Print out a Handy LineageForm,  More Forms or something like it, even if you can't fill it out completely.  Then when you do get information as time goes on, fill in the details.  And check back later but be patient.   Likely, a distant cousin will one day see your contribution here or elsewhere and add more!  That's what you want to have happen!    When you submit via EMAIL, leave your Name and address or your EMAIL address (but don't change your EMAIL address!)   Genealogists often want to know the SOURCE of your lineage, whether by a book, a website (and who submitted the database, family Bible, documented research etc.  So put that in your EMAIL to him.

Searching the Clues

Before 1930 when movie and radio, later television became popular, many families named their children for ancestors, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  Even popular politicians or movie stars or Catholic saints.  But mostly ancestors!  Certain names have been handed down since a family arrived by sailing ship.   Go to this site to Maryland and Virginia pages and see that in the Cornelius Maddox line, there are more than a few Corneliuses.    Also true of Samuel Maddox of Maryland who arrived with this friend Thomas Notley who became Govenror.   There are a half dozen Notley Maddoxes scattered in states and decades.  Most assuredly most ALL of them are descendants of Samuel Maddox.   First names tend to be carried down.   It's true there are lots of Johns and Elizabeths, but when you see a couple more obscure names in your family tree, that's a clue to search databases for OTHERS of that same name.   Even from an earlier state where ancestors arrived. 

All clues are good clues because we know that most Maddox's arrived on the coasts--Maryland, Virginia, New York, North Carolina then moved westward to Ohio or Kentucky.  Or Southward to Georgia, Mississippi or Alabama.  Or even Florida 75 years later.   You'll see that on Ancestry.com, or this site, or the Mormon site, "Family Search".

  


Don't forget searching for military and cemetery records!   And Census records, taken every ten years.   You can often find SIBLING names and dates in those too!  Census records are listed by state and COUNTY.  Good clues to point the way.   And you'll see many Maddox's were Southerners and Confederates, often because so many were southern state farmers and grew tobacco and some held slaves for a time.    Sadly, not all courthouse and church records exist anymore.  Civil war destroyed some wooden courthouses as did fires over the decades past.

Submitting Notes on your Ancestors

One of the best reasons to get free or small-fee genealogy software, or a web database is you can list all the family members chronologically (parents, their ancestors, spouses, children, grandchildren with full names, dates and places.   And a BONUS.  You can enter in biographical NOTES that give more clues and help your ancestors be more than just names...but to tell what they did for an occupation, if they were in the military; how they died if it was interesting.  How they survived, where the moved.  Did they trek over mountains or across the plains in a covered wagon?   If you have a paragraph or two of "Notes" to submit to an existing database ancestor, write them up in an EMAIL and put them in your database under the 'Notes' section that allows you free form narration..
  1. In the Subject line type:  NOTES for John Maddox b 1698.   That tells us precisely which ancestor on our database you're creating notes about from your research and make it easier so we will insert them into the right individual.
  2. Make your Notes clear, citing references, wills, census documents, ship names, military units, cemetaries, etc.  Or tightly and clearly write the short biographical narrative.
  3. If you wish to include your name and even EMAIL address, do so.  Here's a made up example of what might be in Notes which are inserted into our database:
  4. Example:

  5. Subj:  NOTES for John Maddox b 1698"
 This John left St. Mary's Md in 1809 with his wife and seven children and settled along the Green River of northern Ohio.  He farmed near Wilmington until his death.  His will (Liber 245, pg 17, Wilmington County Archives) left the family farm to his three sons, John Jr, Samuel, and young  Franklin.  His two oldest served with General Franklin during the Civil War on the Union side.  Some descendants remain in northern Ohio. --from family bible,  J Maddox Martin, Toledo  jmartin999@aol.com.

If your lineage is in Genealogy Software already

If you're already a well-organized, computerized collector
, you may also upload your database in its GEDCOM format or Family Tree Maker file (available at Ancestry.com.)   Send it as a file attachment.  Be sure to have it as complete as possible before you send it because its harder to correct what  you've already put on the internet.  In the email with the attachment, write notes  about its sources, who you are, and email in case he has questions.

Most genealogists would rather you keyed your kin into a file they can receive, rather than doing your data entry for you.   So put it on the internet or obtain a free or low cost genealogy program to put your family into and share with others.

More tips on gathering and recording your Genealogy

Don't make Assumptions!!

Always understand that people make mistakes when they write down lineage--both now and in the old days.  It's possible there are mistakes in the oldest handwritten documents you have-- the ones you hope to rely on.  Remember that just because a family notebook is OLD, is no assurance everything in it is right.  Why?  Because often your ancestors might have put it together back in the 20s over the kitchen table-- interviewing oldsters with failing memories.  
People sitting around trying to remember names and dates are just prone to guessing.  What to ask.   Too lazy to get up and go look in grandma's trunk, so they blurt out a reasonable answer and it gets written down and assumed fifty years later to be accurate.  Since you weren't there when they took the notes, you have no idea if what they wrote were dates firmly in Aunt Emily's memory because she was always good with dates, or whether she said, "well, lets seeee, Uncle George was 72 when he died, I think, so put down, uh, uh,...1880.  No, make it 1884."

How do you handle a guess on a date?  Use "ABT 1884"--as in born "about 1884".  That tells later researchers you're not quite sure but it's close.  If you have no idea...leave it blank.  People will assume that a specific date is accurate so it's better to leave it blank rather than put in a wild guess which later will be taken as gospel.  If you're not sure of a maiden name, or its spelling, put a question mark after what you think it was.    "Sally Smith (Smythe???)

And there are common names, so common people living in the same small town may not have been related at all.  There are lots of Johns, James', Joseph's, and Charles's.   Lots of Elizabeth's and Mary's.  What you might assume is a grandfather, might actually be an uncle.  Or an unrelated person.  That's why getting spouses names, dates and places is so important.  About faulty places, just because Uncle Joe lived most of his life in St. Louis, that's not an assurance he didn't move there as a kid and was really born in Cincinatti!   And an identical name in the wrong state may be the wrong person altogether, which will head your search into a dead end!

Validating your Family Notes

To validate ancestors you suspect are yours, look for official documents, which are more likely to be right.  You may need to travel to visit a courthouse to verify names from birth or death records, or wills and deeds.  Or marriage records--those are at the courthouse too!   Or church baptismal records which might list parentage. And published obituaries or Social Security records available on CD.   The real nuisance is when you're looking for documents based on faulty names or guessed dates, or wrong counties of birth.  You might be in the right courthouse...but may be looking in the wrong book if someone's date was off by three years!  So tracing your roots firmly may take some real detective work.  With luck, it won't be too hard!


Public records and genealogy sites

More and more genealogy can be found on the Internet.  There are Historical and Genealogical Societies in virtually every state.  The RLDS Mormon Church has collected millions of records of Americans of all faiths. They have genealogy libraries you can visit all over the country whose locations can be found on the Internet.  And if you have birth/death dates AND places, counties and churches have archives.  Not ALL of them were destroyed during courthouse fires or the Civil War.  Many survived and are open for inspection when you travel there.  Perhaps you can find a genealogist living there who can visit those sites for you (either free or otherwise.)

There are both professional and not-for-profit genealogical sites on the net which have thousands of surnames--dozens of Maddoxes, Mattixes, Madduxes, Maddockses, etc.  You'll find quite a lot on Rootsweb.  And the names of the families your ancestors married into.  These repositories only help if you have some ancestor data already assembled.

If you have many dozens or hundreds of names, you should buy some genealogy software where you can enter the names, dates, places of people in an organized way.  Most of them issue nice reports and also export the data into a commonly accepted data format called GEDCOM files, which most professional software can both import and export so others can read your data.

You'll see several large commercial and not-for-profit links on our Maddox site BLOG Page, and there, you'll find other sources including the RLDS church, RootsWeb links, some other Maddox sites, and more.  You can access this anytime on our Home Page or Blog page.
 
The best RESEARCH LINKS have been moved to The MADDOX FAMILY BLOG... http://www.maddoxgenealogyblog.com/

Locate the LINK LIST on the right column of that blog.   And find state POSTS where you can ask and answer questions of other readers.

--updated by webmaster 2016

Return to Maddox Family Home Page




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Maddox as first name Wikipedia, Brad Pitt names his boy "Maddox" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maddox_%28given_name%29 
Maddox Family Genealogy Forum Post and Read Messages http://genforum.genealogy.com/maddox/ 
Maddox Family Website (THIS SITE) Nationwide,Immigrants, States, contributed stories https://sites.google.com/site/maddoxfamilywebsite 
Maddox Genealogy DNA Site, Google Search, Send and Read Msgs thru Yahoo. http://www.maddoxgenealogy.com/ 
Maddox Surname Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com/facts/Maddox-family-history.ashx 
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