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Don Blauvelt (#46932939)
 member for 7 years, 8 months, 27 days
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Bio and Links
Findagrave is a wonderful avenue in which to present one's ancestors in a free environment coupled with an image of the ancestor's final resting place. Given the nature of life, this is the closest one can come to putting life back into a long deceased ancestor or loved one.

But the greater part of the current Findagrave system reflects someone adding a name from a cemetery list, the date of death, no biographical information, no image of the person's gravestone if it still exists, or no transcription of what the gravestone does or once said.

By virtue of FAG modernizing and upgrading its functionality, linking a spouse or just one child to his/her parent creates a family genealogy beyond Findagrave's original purpose of simply registering an individual gravestone. The linking function has turned Findagrave into a rich and evolving genealogical database and allows correction of longstanding ancestral errors as well as downright bogus genealogy.

That an ancestor died long before genealogy became popular, and either does not currently have a known place of interment or gravestone, does not diminish the importance of their life to living descendants. For example, according to a well-respected (now deceased) New England genealogist, during the American Rev. War Hessian mercenaries employed by the British used a Hull, Mass. cemetery as their campground, pushed all of the gravestones over using them for personal purposes or target practice. What a shame! No wonder there are no gravestones there prior to 1790, but the people are still interred there.

My maternal ancestry in America began in 1620 at Plymouth, Mass. Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the core Leiden, Holland pilgrims, is my ancestor. The painting that memorializes Rev. Robinson's famous send-off sermon aboard the Speedwell at Delfthaven, Holland hangs in the rotunda of the U.S. Capital building. Three pilgrims who landed in 1620 at Plymouth, Edward Fuller, Edward's unnamed wife, and fellow passenger George Soule, are my ancestors. My surname ancestry in America started in 1633 when Gerrit Hendrickszen (Blauvelt), a 15 year old Dutch shoemaker, arrived on the Kalmer Nyckle with the first Swedes that settled Christiana near present-day Wilmington, Delaware. By 1638 Gerrit had settled at present-day New York City. Part of my children's ancestry also began with ancestors who were occupying North America before Europeans knew North America existed as a land mass. My eldest child is a descendant of Nanye-hi (Nancy Ward), the last Beloved Woman of the Cherokee Indian Tribe.

The memorial pages I have created, may create in the future, or ask others to transfer, reflect either a direct ancestor, part of the extended ancestral family, or of particular interest as having been associated in some meaningful way with my children's ancestors. A transfer request from me of an unrelated person is the result of personal research that corrects or extends the basis of the existing memorial. Any biographical presentation is also not intended to glorify, only present who the people were.

I am more than willing to transfer a memorial I have created to a person's descendant when not specifically associated with my core ancestors. I have no desire to control or manage someone else's ancestry, or ask a person requesting a transfer to prove his/her deceased ancestor is within three generations of themselves. An ancestor is an ancestor regardless of when they died.

Corrections or suggested additions are always welcomed.
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 Forums: Don Blauvelt
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Messages left for Don Blauvelt (513)[Leave Message]
Ancestry vs Familysearch transcribing
I think both are attempting to find the best system. I find Familysearch's methodology intriguing wherein they only want a documented person to have a single entry that is crowd sourced by users. Errors do abound. And I correct them for my direct ancestors when I can, but it's nearly impossible to monitor any further than that unless it just happens to pop up while I'm using the system. Both and Familysearch have their pros and cons. I've been a volunteer transcriber for both and have some insights. Familysearch has a TON of older research that was done my Mormon Church members over the years - some of it from original source documents in the original locations throughout the world. Even with errors, the older records are invaluable for pointing out where further first hand research can be accomplished. It's a starting point for a lot of my Scottish research (I've been to Scotland 4 times now). The more recent transcriptions on FamilySearch is actually better than's transcriptions (witness the 1940 census transcription). The reason is the independent dual transcription required on They send out a single page of a record for transcription to two different volunteer transcribers and the results are computer compared for differences which are sent to a third person known as an arbitrator who choose the correct entry or overrides both and re-transcribes the result. Arbitrators are also volunteers but are more experienced having transcribed an large amount of with a low challenge record, that is, their transcriptions are rarely over-written by an arbitrator. I was an arbitrator for 1940 census on Familysearch and it the transcription is infinitely better that quickly transcribed 1940 census that whipped out. None of them are perfect, and the multitude of sources on the internet are outstanding in everyday, but the information still requires diligence and discernment on the part of the family historian. YOU are doing an amazing job and as a fellow simpatico volunteer with similar methodology and philosophy, I know you won't think this response is too much. Thanks again.
Added by htowngenie on May 24, 2015 12:40 PM
Oh, and THANKS for replying
You are obviously on top of it. Thanks.
Added by htowngenie on May 24, 2015 12:21 PM
RE: FAG - correction of errors with sources, THANK YOU
No really, 17 generations. I know that doesn't sound possible, but it is - if one is descended from several first borns or early borns, the years are compressed for generations. And although the Mandell family (my mother's family) arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, they married into families who arrived earlier, i.e., COOKE, WARREN, WEST, COFFIN, STARBUCKS. The MANDELL family is well documented in Rochester and Mattapoisett (See Representative Men of Southwestern Massachusetts). I'm headed to New Bedford in July to inter my mother's ashes in the family plot. My second trip from Texas in less than a year.
Added by htowngenie on May 24, 2015 12:21 PM
FAG - correction of errors with sources, THANK YOU
I am so pleased that you take the time to correct erroneous or mis-leading information on findagrave. KUDOS.
I found your very well documented and well stated biography on Joseph Allen Sr 44259524 son of Samuel Allen and Mary Pratt. Your explanation regarding the oft repeated story of Mary Pratt being the daughter of John Alden was excellent.
I spent this weekend looking into the Mary Pratt/Mary Alden mistake because sent out a well-intentioned Memorial Day email listing my ancestors who were veterans and included John Alden. I've been doing genealogy for the better part of 40 years and I have never seen evidence that I descended from John Alden. My mother is 17th generation from Mattapoisett, MA where her family has lived since 1630. I am descended from several Mayflower passengers as a result, and when you are related to one, you are related to several and it's not unusual to find a new line as the years of research go by. HOWEVER, this line from me to John Alden is incorrect in my opinion. I suspect just used an algorithm based on existing family trees and matched people up. As I noted, it was well-intentioned on their part but just perpetuates errors and mistakes, which is unfortunate. I don't really care if I descend from Henry XIII or Henry Tudor the humble shoemaker of East London slums...both get equal consideration from me if they are my direct ancestor and deserve and earn my research attention and respect. It's just the nature of modern internet genealogy that allows others to just copy and run without giving thought and discernment to the information presented. Again, THANK YOU for what you do. It is important to get it right.
Added by htowngenie on May 24, 2015 9:28 AM
Hi Don..I had to leave you a note about the wonderful things memorials you have done. I happened across a Tuttle family member and was very impressed with your research and your bio. We need more members like you. I too want them correctly as possible and love helping others. Not interested in numbers of memorials I manage as so many are. Thank you..Wendy

Added by Wendy on May 15, 2015 11:50 PM
Kenneth Parrish
RE: Leonard C. Williams
Added by Kenneth Parrish on May 07, 2015 8:44 PM
Betty Marsicek
RE: John Smith and Ann Pusey, Chester, PA
Hi Don, Sorry you've had so much trouble contacting me. You can reach me at
Added by Betty Marsicek on May 01, 2015 3:19 PM
RE: Isaac P. Allen
Pension cards added to your new memorial for Isaac. Nice bio and links to parents.
Added by Steve on Apr 26, 2015 9:27 AM
Carol Walters
RE: Find A Grave Memorial# 22104781
Thanks for taking time to respond. And thank you for the quality of the research you do. Your work has been very helpful as we have been piecing together our Metcalf lines.
Added by Carol Walters on Apr 26, 2015 8:16 AM
Tara Orlowski
Simon Tuttle memorial #112990701
Simon is my 9th ggf. I think you did a wonderful job with all the research you did on him. It was more than I ever expected to see. Thank you for all your hard work on every memorial that you do. Your work is greatly appreciated by more people than you will ever know!

Tara Orlowski
Added by Tara Orlowski on Apr 24, 2015 7:49 PM
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