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.