14 October 2008

Practicing What I Preach

I received a comment today to a post I made back in August. The comment was made by some one who did not care to leave their name. I wish they would have so I can thank them for calling me on the carpet. I profess to be educated and need to show my work reflecting that. Here is the comment left and my corrected article.

Anonymous said...
Usually when you document your sources, you use footnotes to show exactly where each piece of information came from. You give a Works Cited list, but don't show the actual source for each bit of information.


Michael Delaney is the eldest child of my 3rd great grandparents Daniel Derondo Delaney and Ellen Collins. Daniel and Ellen were born in Ireland. Daniel in County Kerry[1] and Ellen in County Cork[2]. They were married 3 December 1849 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Buttevant County Cork, Ireland[3]. After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaney’s arrived at the Port of New York on 8 January 1851 aboard the “Elizabeth Bentley”[4]. By September of that year they had made their way North to Lockport, Niagara County where Michael was born 3 September 1851[5].
Daniel was a stone mason but upon arrival in America, he found himself a contractor to the railroads. Daniel had a team of men that graded the land where the new tracks were going to be laid[6]. He must have been a hard worker and good at his job. The New York Central Railroad line from Lockport, south west along the southern shore of Lake Erie to Cleveland, Ohio and south west even more to St. Louis Missouri, lines up neatly with the Delaney family’s migration westward.
In 1862 the Delaney’s are in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri where Daniel enlists in the Union Army[7]. In 1867 the Delaney’s are in Lawrence, Kansas where Daniel once again takes up contract work for the railroad, this time for the Central Branch Missouri Pacific Railroad[8].
The family migrated north to Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas where we find Michael Delaney is now 19 years old[9]. Michael worked alongside his father in railroad construction until the line was completed in Waterville in 1879[10]. Daniel and Ellen decided to move south to Elk County, Kansas. Michael and a younger brother George, elected to stay in Marshall County. George went north about 35 miles to the town of Axtell[11].
In 1879 Michael purchased a mercantile store from J. E. Peters. He owned and operated this store until he sold it in 1907[12].
On 29 April 1880[13] in Waterville Township, Michael married local school teacher Lillie Winterbottom, the daughter of Daniel and Matilda Winterbottom[14]. Michael and Lillian had three sons: Frederick George Delaney born 1 April 1881[15], Daniel Derondo Delaney born 27 August 1886[16] and Carl Andrew Delaney born 7 August 1888[17].All three boys moved to Taloga, Dewey County, Oklahoma and all three worked as bankers for the 1st National Bank[18]. A first cousin to their mother, J. W. Thompson, was the president of the 1st National Bank and of Citizens National Bank[19]. In 1917, all three boys registered for the draft during World War I. All three were shipped overseas to serve their country. Only two of them returned. Daniel Derondo Delaney was killed in action in February of 1918. His widow Maud and son Roger Delaney survived him. Daniel was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville[20]. Frederick came back to his job as a banker and married Daisy Hbare[21]. They relocated to Ventura, California and had three children: Fred George Delaney[22], Mary A. Delaney[23] and Lillian Patricia Delaney[24]. Frederick died in Ventura, California 7 April 1965[25] and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville[26]. Carl married Ethel Florence Mc Elhaney[27] and moved to Paradise, Butte County, California where they had one son Carl Roderick Delaney[28]. Carl died 29 August 1976[29] in Paradise and was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Waterville[30].Lillian died on 31 May 1893[31] and Michael remarried to her sister Abigail Winterbottom on 25 June 1895[32]. Michael was an active member of the community, as the following list will confirm:*Appointed Postmaster of Waterville 1888 - 1893 and again 1897-1913[33]*Elected as Mayor of Waterville and served two terms[34]*President of the Waterville School Board for seventeen years[35]*Chairman of the Waterville Township Central Republican Committee for twenty years during which time he also served as a delegate to district and state republican conventions.[36]*Vice president of Citizens State Bank[37]*Served as treasurer for the Riverside Cemetery Association[38]*Served as treasurer for Sutton Lodge No. 85[39]*Served as a member of the City Council of Waterville[40]*Supreme Treasurer of the Triple Tie Benefit Association for fourteen years[41]*A member of The Independent Order of Odd Fellows[42]*A member of The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for 55 years[43]*First President of Waterville Telephone Company[44]*Member of the Modern Woodmen of America[45]*Organized the construction of the new City Hall in Waterville[46]*Member of the Methodist Episcopal Church[47]
Michael died 1 May 1938[48] in Waterville and is buried in Riverside Cemetery[49].

[1] . Daniel D. Delaney (Pvt. , Co. E, 7th Reg., Missouri Calvary, Civil War), Invalid Pension File No. 202.017, Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veteran Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington DC
[2] Parish Register, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland
[3] Ibid
[4] “The Famine Immigrants, Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York 1846-1851“, Glazier, Ira A., Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland 1985, pp. 493-494 [5] “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Thursday, May 5, 1938, Section A, p. 12, Obituary for Michael Delaney
[6] Pension file of Daniel Delaney
[7] Ibid
[8] Obituary of Michael Delaney
[9] 1870 U.S. Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, Barrett Post Office, page 28 (penned), Daniel Delaney household #209, dwelling #213
[10] . “Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons”, Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1912, pp. 502-503
[11] Ibid
[12] . “A History of Marshall County, Kansas - It‘s People, Industries and Institutions”, Forter, Emma, B F. Bowen and Company, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1917, pp. 201-202, 368-369, 415
[13] Ibid
[14] “A Pictorial and Family History of Waterville, Kansas”, Bicentennial Committee of 1796, pp. 247-249
[15] . “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Fred George Delaney, serial no., 21, order no. 587, Draft Board 7
[16] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Daniel Derondo Delaney. Serial no. 45, order no. 7652
[17] . “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918“, digital images, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com), Carl Andrew Delaney, serial no. 1223, order no. 15, Draft Board 31
[18] 1910 U.S. Census, Oklahoma, Dewey County, Taloga, page 367 (stamped), sheet 15A (penned), Fred G. Delaney household & dwelling #81
[19] “An Affair With The Past, From the Otoes to the Astronauts”, Guise, Byron and Eulalia, Marysville, Kansas, 1987
[20] Delaney Family Headstone Photos, Riverview Cemetery, Waterville Township, Marshall County, Kansas, photos in possession of author
[21] . “The Ventura County Star”, Ventura, California, 8 April 1967, Obituary of Frederick Delaney
[22] 1930 U.S. Census, California, Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Assembly District 37, Block 497, page 107 (stamped), sheet 13A (penned), 809 Highlands Avenue, Fred G. Delaney household & dwelling #223
[23] Ibid
[24] California Birth Index, online database ancestry.com
[25] Obituary of Frederick Delaney
[26] Delaney Family headstone photos
[27] “The Paradise Post”, Paradise, Butte County, California, 3 September 1976, Obituary of Carl Delaney
[28] California Death Index, online database ancestry.com
[29] Obituary of Carl Delaney
[30] Delaney Family headstone photos
[31] “The Waterville Telegraph”, Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas, Friday, June 9, 1893, p. 3, Obituary for Lillie W. Delaney
[32] Obituary of Michael Delaney
[33] Ibid
[34] Ibid
[35] Ibid
[36] “A History of Marshall County, Kansas”
[37] Ibid
[38] Ibid
[39] Ibid
[40] Obituary of Michael Delaney
[41] “A History of Marshall County, Kansas”
[42] Obituary of Michael Delaney
[43] Ibid
[44] Ibid
[45] “A History of Marshall County, Kansas”
[46] Ibid
[47] Obituary of Michael Delaney
[48] Ibid
[49] Delaney Family headstone photos

Other Sources Used:

1930 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 7B (penned), Michael Delaney household #230, dwelling #224
1920 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B (penned), Michael Delaney household #153, dwelling #1491880 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 10B, Michael Delaney household #110, dwelling #107
1885 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, pg. 10, line 21, Michael Delaney household
1900 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 245 (stamped), sheet 4A (penned), Michael Delaney household #96, dwelling #99
1895 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 17, line 1, Michael Delaney household
1910 US Census, Kansas, Marshall County, Waterville Township, sheet 11B (penned), Michael Delaney household #138, dwelling #137
1905 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 9, line 1, Michael Delaney household
1915 Kansas State Census, Marshall County, Waterville Township, p. 2, line 18, Michael Delaney household


  1. SHERI, I agree with Anonymous that "usually when you document your sources you use footnotes" but that is not necessarily the case. Sometimes you use internal documentation; sometime you use general references.

    I've read both the original piece from August and your "new" version of it. The original is, in my opinion, much more readable and makes much more sense for a general audience such as your blog readers. I am content to know that if I REALLY MUST KNOW the source of some obscure fact about the folks you are writing that I can find in it in your sources or, easier, to contact you and you will tell me.

    I, for one, believe that the overuse of footnotes is as bad as the underuse of them. Further I believe that the audience for whom the article is written must be considered as you determine how and what style to use. And I think that all those formal footnotes in a blog written for a general audience is just so must wasted effort.

    If Anonymous were a paying client of yours who had hired you to do the report on his/her family, yes --- footnote, formal format, bibliography, additional sources cited, suggestions for additional reading. But for writing for us other mere mortals, I think your original piece was most sufficiently documented.

    Heck you even signed it with your name --- unlike Anonymous who makes his/her point behind the cloak of anonymity.

    I do hope that several of the other members of the geneaBlogging community will respond to this as I'm of the opinion that the use of footnotes is an "affection" that most of us don't need to adopt for blog writing.

    Fulton, Mississippi

  2. Thank you so much for your comments on this issue. At the time, I felt as if a list of sources was sufficient for the casual-ness of the blog post. When the mysterious commentor left their message, I really felt admonished and immediately posted the current version.

    Now after your comments, I don't feel quite so bad. I suppose I leave myself wide open with the name of my blog.

    But on the bright side, it did give me the opportunity to show that I do know how to correctly cite my sources in the NGSQuarterly kind of way!

    Thanks again, and I do hope that this sparks some discussion as well.


  3. Hi Sheri.
    Great research.

    I'm new to blogging, but I agree with saving the footnotes for the client reports and print articles, unless the exact source is necessary to the blog post (for example, when discussing specific census entries.)

    The great thing about blogging is that people can publish their ancestors' stories without feeling intimidated by any rules, so more stories will reach more people rather than being lost.


  4. Thanks Kathy,

    Coming from a board certified genealogist like yourself, I am relieved that I haven't committed quite the faux pas as I first thought!

    I hope that this will serve as an example to new bloggers that it is the content that matters the most!


  5. I believe blogs are all about readability. Footnoting as you have done only makes it more difficult to read the article.

    I have been working on a method for footnoting in blogs, but I don't have it perfected as yet.

    I always cite my photographs (under a general Sources), but in a recent article used 15 books and articles to write the post. At the end of the article I wrote, "Footnotes - sources provided upon request."

    That way I don't burden my readers, but provide the information for those truly doing research.

    Footnotes are generally reserved for scholarly writing. If that is what you mean a post to be then it should be footnoted. If not use the alternatives.

    Your original post was correct as the blogging world stands.

    Perhaps you will help test my new method.


  6. Sheri - I'm with the rest. The original was easier to read & for crying out loud - it's a blog! Not a dissertation or paper! Let's not give "anonymous" anymore attention! You're doing great!

  7. I don't think that the source citations killed the readability, when comparing the two.

    IMO, you should have shorter paragraphs and more whitespace. That would solve the readability problem. I don't think the source notes had anything to do with it.

    Whether or not you choose to use citations in your blog posts is of course your choice. My personal opinion is that you should use them. If someone chooses not to read them, that is their choice.