August 5, 2009


Rant on!

Some people write and begin their request for assistance by telling me they are new to genealogy; they already have their ancestry back to Adam and Eve, but still need some help to fill in the blanks.

Helping to fill in the blanks isn't a problem for me.  That's what I try to do for Edward Coffey researchers. 

The problem comes when the writer begins his Coffey genealogy with "my GGGG,etc Grandparents were John Coffey and Mary Jolieffe (or however it's being spelled today).  They know he was born in Cork, or Meath, or one of the other 26 counties outside of Northern Ireland.

The two statements referring to John and Mary as well as being "new to genealogy" tell me they haven't done any more "research" than downloading someone's GEDCOM.

Some other minor irritants for me are that Edward and Anne Powell Coffey's two sons, John and Edward are "twins."  How would they know that?  As far as I know that info is not recorded anywhere except in someone's imagination .  It's recorded in some genealogies that they were born "c1700," but most of us know that "Circa 1700" doesn't mean they were born in that year; merely that they were born "around" that time.

Then, they tell me that Edward's son, Edward had a middle name.  Again, how would they know that?  No real researcher that I know of has found a middle name for any of Edward's children in any record ever created by or for them in the time that they lived.  This by the way includes Ann "Ester" Powell and her daughter "Ann Ester" Coffey.  Anne was Anne and "Ann Ester" was Annister.

My response to the novice researcher points out the errors in his or her "research."  Most often, I never hear back from them.  But, I know they have repeated the same errors found in whichever GEDCOM they've taken, and to which they've added their immediate family research and uploaded it again for some other novice to download and repeat the same errors, ad nauseam.

Some years back I had a "discussion" with someone on genforum at about the above.  That person insisted that she had proof of John Coffey and Mary Joliffe were the parents of Edward Coffey.  Her proof was - naturally - some other genealogy on  She became so agitated with me that she accused me of wanting to stifle the research of others so I could claim that I had found his parents.  If she continued to do research, I hope she looks back now on that exchange and realizes how foolish she was.

Rant off! 

Hopefully, I'll be able to do some more Coffey blogging in a few weeks.  I've taken a break from commissioned research for a couple of weeks and am doing some work on my own family for a change.

If you are having a problem finding some of your Coffey folks, drop me a line.  I may be able to help, but no promises, just a "perhaps."

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