While researching the STEPHENS family, I contacted a gracious volunteer on the USGenWeb.com site who is also researching this name in Madison County, GA. It was almost unbelievable what she told me. It was like finding a gold mine.
Bonnie said she had a William N. STEPHENS in her file, married to Elizabeth HEMPHILL. She had information of his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. This information came from an affidavit from one of Bonnie’s PAYTON relatives that married Caleb Monroe, son of Caleb N. STEPHENS. Bonnie says the affidavit was made when the relative was in her 90’s and is “sorta sketchy” but, for the most part, good to research from.
The information is as follows:
Stephen STEPHENS born 1754 in Charleston, South Carolina and married Sarah (Sally) HODGE.
- Stephen T. (Tobe) STEPHENS born 1791 in Elbert County, Georgia and married Elizabeth HEMPHILL.
- Elizabeth STEPHENS born 1795.
- Caleb N. STEPHENS born 1800.
- William Nelson STEPHENS born 1805 and married Elizabeth HEMPHILL.
- Lucinda STEPHENS born 1819 in Rabun County, Georgia.
Stephen STEPHENS father was also:
Stephen STEPHENS born 1718 South Farnham, Esses, Virginia and married Arabella TODD.
Stephen STEPHENS (1718) father was:
John STEPHENS born 1662 Bristol, England and married Anne GRIFFIN.
This is WONDERFUL! VERY COOL! BUT WAIT . . . there is no documentation mentioned for this information which brings us to the topic of “HOW MUCH PROOF IS ENOUGH”?
We call on the Genealogical Proof Standard or GPS. Funny it’s the same acronym for the Global Positioning System that is popular as a guide to destinations and locations. The Genealogical Proof Standard serves as a guide to credible research in defining our ancestry. From FamilySearch.org we read:
Genealogical Proof Standard
The purpose of the Genealogical Proof Standard is to show what the minimums are that a genealogist must do for his or her work to be credible.
There are five elements to the Genealogical Proof Standard:
1. A reasonably exhaustive search has been conducted.
2. Each statement of fact has a complete and accurate source citation.
3. The evidence is reliable, and has been skillfully correlated and interpreted.
4. Any contradictory evidence has been resolved.
5 . The conclusion has been soundly reasoned.
Any proof statement is subject to re-evaluation when new evidence arises.
More information about the Genealogical Proof Standard can be found on the website of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.
Family Historian Dana Gammage DuPuis shared with me some hints for finding proof of relationship with our kindred:
- U.S. Census Records – especially after 1850 where everyone in the household has a name and age.
- Find a Grave.com – a free website that provides information from tombstones, often including pictures of the headstone. Other ancestors can often be found nearby. Make sure and check the dates because occasionally they may be misread.
- Records of Signature: Social Security Index, World War I Registration, Wills (x’s included), Family Bibles.
- County Histories are a good secondary source.
- Church Records are important. The death and burials are normally within a couple of days of each other.
- Public Member Trees from sites such as Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.com.
- Try to find multiple sources instead of just one.
The STEPHENS clan needs your help in the form of proof and evidence. Become a detective in your spare time and start searching for clues as to the families in this post. Please send your researched and documented clues to this website or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
For further research into Genealogical Proof and Evidence please read “Evaluating Evidence” by Khait/Mills and “Consider the Genealogical Proof Standard” by Dave Obee.