Long before the advent of genealogy giants like Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, which brought online the very documents we seek in our family history quest, researchers had to go to the source to locate the necessary records to verify names, dates and events. Perhaps it was because of the time and effort required that the genealogy community back then developed a cooperative attitude about sharing what they found.
Thus sprang up little pockets of genealogical information in those early years online. Early adopters of email at aol.com—remember that?—might have used their personal space to post rudimentary versions of their family tree. Same with GeoCities and other early personal spaces.
One such virtual collection which struck a resonant chord with the genealogical community was the free website Rootsweb. There, people could upload their GEDCOM file, as well as create free "pages" of information to share with other researchers. In addition, the site hosted forums where people could post queries or connect with those pursuing the same roots.
While much of that original Rootsweb site has, by necessity of both economics and technology, been dismantled (or at least frozen in place), there are thankfully elements of the original site which can still be accessed. I say thankfully because long ago, when I last passed down this Flowers and Ambrose research pathway, I ran across a prodigious collection of one researcher's work, all posted online at Rootsweb.
I wanted to see what could still be found of this Ambrose researcher's work, so I did a search of the Internet to see what remained. Thankfully, there is still much there.
There were a few reasons why I wanted to reconnect with this researcher's work. For one reason, I was wondering about the discrepancy I mentioned yesterday, about the 1800 census record entry in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, for a Mathias Ambrosy. Not Ambrose, you'll notice, but Ambrosy.
According to Pat Asher, the one who so long ago posted all that material on the Ambrose family online, the surname made its appearance in several forms, including Ambrossi and Ambrosey. Likewise, another Ambrose researcher posting on the Rootsweb freepages mentioned some spelling variations.
While that may be reassuring to read, of course I will need to do my own work to verify these other researchers' assertions, as tempting as it may seem to simply accept such statements and believe we have found the right Pennsylvania location for our Flowers and Ambrose trysts. Marriage records, for one, would prove helpful. But until I can locate copies of Joseph's marriage to Elizabeth, and her sister Susannah's marriage to Joseph's brother, there is still one other research route we can take: the Ambrose daughters' father's will.
That, thankfully—and in that long-ago spirit of sharing among researchers—has also been made available through the thoughtfulness of another researcher. We'll examine that document next week, both in its original version and through a transcription of the pertinent sections.