Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Did Thomas McCollum (1751-1806) Have a Middle Name?

Probably not.

More than 80 trees on record Thomas McCollum's name as "Thomas I. McCollum."  Yet I've never seen him referred to as anything other than Thomas McCollum in original records, or in family records dating from 1915, 1953, and 1984.

Did someone dig up a new clue? I wonder in what document, since no sources are cited that I haven't seen?

I believe I have discovered the probable source:  in late 2008, someone first attached a page from "Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution" to his Ancestry tree. That tree displays as "Thomas - I. McCOLLUM."

 "Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution" is an index; the entry is McCOLLUM, THOMAS, I-13-2. The I refers to a volume number.

Corroborating evidence supporting my theory that more than 200 years after his death Thomas McCollum gained a middle initial that is a volume number can be found at RootsWeb WorldConnect and the IGI, where only a few of the 25 or so entries include the I. as a middle initial.  While I haven't reviewed all the entries, the ones I've checked that don't include an initial pre-date late 2008.

Can anyone provide a copy of or source citation to an original record that lists his name as Thomas I. McCollum?  What is the evidence supporting the notion that the Thomas McCollum listed in "Tennessee Soldiers in the Revolution" is the same Thomas McCollum who died in Greene Co., Tennessee in 1806?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

History Resources

There is a great set of links to historical maps, photos, and other information on The Historical Society blog.  While it's intended for teachers, genealogists will surely benefit.

I was aware of several of the sites, but certainly not all of them. I could browse for hours (make that days).  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Trouble with Thomas

One of the reasons I complete so few "reasonably exhaustive searches" is because every time I think I'll be able to concentrate on just one ancestor, another turns up to distract me!  Usually, he (or she) arrives in the form of a distant cousin who contacts me out of the blue.  But in the case of Thomas McCollum and his wife Mary Veneman (Van Eman), it's all my fault. 

Yesterday, I just happened to check my Member Connect list at Ancestry, and saw that a cousin from my Jones line had saved a census record for Lucinda McCollum to his family tree.  What the heck?  The McCollums are on my mother's side, and have no connection to my father's Jones family.  Intrigued, I poked around on his public family tree, sent off an e-mail, and discovered he is also my cousin through the Van Eman line.  He is an experienced researcher, so it was a fun discovery.  

Of course, he wants access to my family tree. Which, well, doesn't exist in online form.  While I have a private tree at Ancestry, it is small, doesn't include any of the surnames we share, and is there only for the purpose of experimenting with Ancestry features.  (The little green leaf actually is pretty cool, as long as you use it mostly for Historical Records Hints not Family Tree Hints).

I've struggled for a long time trying to figure out the best way to "publish" my discoveries so  they will be available to future generations.  I still don't know the answer, but I spent all day yesterday creating a new family tree on Ancestry by uploading my Legacy database for 4 generations of descendants of Thomas and Mary McCollum, attaching census and other Ancestry records to it, and linking it to other online sources like Find-A-Grave.  I think it is a mess, and quite incomplete, but already it is probably more well-documented than most of the dreck one finds there.

Which brings me, finally, to the title of this post.  Poor Thomas McCollum.  He never gets the attention he deserves.  I've had a tendency to think of this family as "already done," but that clearly is not so.  Every few years, he arises from his 200 year old grave and reminds me he's there, just waiting for some one to correct his record.

What needs to be corrected?  For starters:
  • Deeds in Greene Co., Tennessee prove he had only 8 children who survived him.   Most online trees list 10 or more.
  •  I've never seen anything stating his middle initial is "I."  Where did that come from?
  •  I've never seen any evidence, except family tradition, that his father was James McCollum, let alone that his mother was Elizabeth Parker.  
  • People have joined the DAR claiming he served from Cumberland Co., PA.  Others claim he was paid for service from North Carolina.  There was a Thomas McColm (sic) in the 1790 census in Cumberland Co., PA, but some suggest our Thomas may have been in Greene Co., Tennessee (previously Washington Co., NC) by that date.  How do we know it was our Thomas who served from Cumberland Co., PA and not some other Thomas?
  •  If he was from Cumberland Co., PA, how and when did he meet his wife?  It doesn't take much sleuthing to discover the most likely possibility:  Maryland, where her father, Nicholas Van Eman, lived before moving to Yohogania Co., VA (which later became Washington Co., PA) .  One only has to check the 1850 census for his daughters who lived until 1850 to discover that all three (enumerated in three different counties of Tennessee) were reported to have been born in Maryland between the years 1774 and 1789. 
 I wrote in more detail about some of these issues back in 2006 on the McCollum Mailing List.  Perhaps it's time I start working on this project in earnest.   I hereby declare publicly that Thomas McCollum is my primary target for the rest of 2011!