F R E Q U E N T L Y A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
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1. How do I find someone on this site?
2. How is your evidence presented?
3. Why are there only four generations online?
4. How far along are you on the XYZ line?
5. Site strengths and weaknesses
6. Bookmarking/Tracking revisions
7. Census index (Resources page)
9. Citing this Site - Please Read !!
10. Disclaimer/Suggestion box
- How do I find someone on this site?
You can search BY NAME using the Master Name Index or Surname Index. Since this is a one-name study site, your William, John, Henry or Thomas Brooks will be one of several to many men of the same name here, and it may be difficult to impossible to distinguish between all the candidates.
You can search BY LINE. If you know the ancestor's line, go to the Main Page and click on the appropriate founder in the table. Then click down through descendant generations as needed, using either descendant charts or the boxed lists of children. All names in these finding aids are hyperlinked.
Searching BY PLACE is appropriate where location is known. The Place Index compiles every location associated with any individual on this site. Place can be the most useful way to find someone hiding within a one-name population.
The SEARCH menu link brings up a Search form which is particularly useful for finding names other than Brooks. It will find every individual named on the site, not merely those who have their own person page entry. See also the Census Index topic in this FAQ, and Resources/Pages and Links.
- How is your evidence presented?
Genealogical evidence, as a whole, ranges from wispy to circumstantial to unimpeachable. As a useful corrective to this variability, the reader will find that footnotes here include not only the standard work and page, but generally a summary of the nature of the source record (i.e., John Brooks b., indicating a birth record naming John Brooks, or John Brooks/Mary Smith m., indicating a marriage record naming bride and groom). If a footnote begins with the source, I have viewed it myself. Conversely, when a footnote begins with the name of a correspondent, then cites their source, it was the correspondent who saw the evidence. If a footnote includes naught but a correspondent's name, then that correspondent did not cite a source. Normally such a citation represents at least implicit endorsement of that researcher's work on my part.
Since so much of genealogy consists of constructing biographical composites, fact by fact, please note that THESE PAGES ARE SOURCED AT THE EVENT LEVEL. Thus, John Brooks's baptism may come from one source, his marriage from another, and the birth of one of his children from yet a third source. Sourcing at the event level means if one of these sources is impeached or contradicted, the other sources (and the balance of the narrative) still stand independently. If John's marriage to Mary is unproven, but has been inferred from the birth record of his daughter, then John's marriage footnote will include the notation, Hannah Brooks b., meaning that a conclusion has been drawn based upon the indirect evidence cited — in this case, the child's birth record naming both parents.
I have employed modernized and standardized name spellings for efficient searching and indexing. Original spellings (e.g., Samiwell Broockes) are scrupulously preserved within the footnotes. Quotations are verbatim et literatim, but I've often modernized punctuation in conformity with contemporary standards.
Not only should the source citations help in your determination of evidentiary weight, but additional comments within the footnotes will augment and/or amplify the data presented in the text.
- Why are there only four generations online?
First, for reasons of time and space. Since each succeeding generation at a minimum doubles the preceding population of a line, the time required to research, prepare, format, and proofread each new generation would be staggering. And if the population of those innumerable men named William or John Brooks were doubled, the visitor looking for a William or John would be even more overwhelmed by the size of the haystack. Four generations is a manageable number for me — note that Savage's famous Genealogical Dictionary of the First Planters of New England covered only the initial three generations — and creates a web site of manageable size.
Secondly, I expect in the future to produce a series of books on descendants of selected founders, including at a minimum Capt. Thomas Brooks and Henry Brooks of Massachusetts, my own personal ancestors. Were I to provide all the information online, what would be left to make a book unique?
Ultimately, my personal research focus is on the first five generations of each of these lines. Although I have catalogued many thousands of later descendants, I'm trying to build the firmest, most comprehensive, most error-free regional Brooks genealogical foundation in existence. I can't do that if my vision is constantly wandering a century ahead in time.
- How far along are you on the XYZ line?
These web pages represent the tip of the research iceberg. Data cleanup and editing are painstakingly accomplished fact by fact, event by event, source by source; and the process lengthens with each succeeding (larger) generation. Currently, of 81,000+ people in my main dataset, about 4,300 are included here. If you don't see what you're looking for, email me.
- Site Strengths and Weaknesses
The 4-generation genealogies of William Brooks of SPRINGFIELD, Capt. Thomas Brooks of CONCORD, and Henry Brooks of WOBURN on these pages are, to my knowledge, the most complete and thoroughly sourced in existence — despite the inevitable gaps and shortcomings. These three lines reflect accumulated traditional scholarship, the author's independent research, and unpublished research from the privately printed family history of John Brooks Threlfall, the noted genealogical author. Additionally, the relationship conclusions posited are supported by yDNA testing ongoing among male descendants since 2006.
The genealogy of the CHESHIRE line descending from Henry Brooks of New Haven and Cheshire is quite reliable, supported as it is by Jacobus, the Barbour Collection and the Ricker Compilation of Connecticut Vital Records.
The SCITUATE line is reasonably thorough, and carefully documented as far as it goes, but has received much less invested time than the lines previously mentioned.
Working down the scale from most complete to least, the KITTERY line would come next, especially where the identity of the founder is questionable.
Quality and scope of the data for the remaining lines falls off sharply. The GLASTONBURY line has been difficult to research, as the majority of early 18th-century males seem to have removed from Connecticut. The same is true for the FAIRFIELD line. And the HADDAM line is simply a black hole for the most part. None of these has ever been the subject of a complete or published study in either book or journal format.
Finally, there are the fragments included here not as true genealogies, but in hopes that they will elicit additional data from researchers who recognize them: Thomas Brooks of NEWPORT, Rhode Island, brothers Richard and Thomas of Lynn, Massachusetts and later EASTHAMPTON, Long Island, and the William Brooks who was at MILFORD, Connecticut, 1648, and may have left no children.
- How to Bookmark and Track Revisions
Two methods are provided to help the visitor in this regard, with links at the top of each person page to access either method.
(1) The CHANGE LOG lists, in reverse chronological order, the last 1,500 individuals revised and the date of revision.
(2) PAGE CHANGE NOTICE links to an external service which can record your bookmark(s) for any page(s) on the site, then email or text you a notice whenever that page changes in the future. The service previously linked here has been acquired by Distill Web Monitor, which now requires registration to use. Up to 62 change notices per month are free. At present (May 2018) the service appears to be limited to users of the Firefox and Chrome browsers.
Tributaries page addresses are permanent and will not change. Be aware that page changes are not always in content; they may involve something as substantial as added information or updated and improved sourcing, or something as trivial as the routine correction of a typo or removal of an excess comma.
- Census Index (Resources Page)
The census index (Resources > Pages and Links), compiled in the late 1980s by Automated Archives, is notorious for transcription and typographical errors. You may find it useful as a rough, quick finding aid. Today's serious researcher coughs up the money for an Ancestry or HeritageQuest subscription, or accesses these services at the local public library. While index typos remain a problem with these online libraries (particularly with Ancestry.com), in today's world you can visually inspect the census enumeration and make your own reading. Even more than with other indices, the visitor should follow up any census index sighting with visual inspection of the actual image, even if this means a trip to the library or to a friend's where broadband access and an online subscription are available.
The information, images and conclusions available on this site are protected by the provisions of U.S. copyright law. Basically, data is public, but the individualized presentation of it in these pages is not.
Further constraints are imposed by the best practices inherent in contemporary genealogy. These include quoting accurately, citing sources accurately, and proper attribution of data and/or images. Unless you reverify my data in the original sources cited (which few will do), when you copy information here to share with others, you're passing it on secondhand. Thus it's critical that you include my name and site URL in your footnoting as a means of contacting me if/when a question or data conflict arises. If you find this site and data useful, please repay the favor by adherence to these best practices.
LEGAL STUFF. The informational and graphic resources presented here are offered solely for the benefit of private individuals pursuing their own family history, and to facilitate connections between such individuals who may share common research interests. The contents of this site are NOT public domain. Any use, reuse, or copying of any image, chart or presentation table herein without the author's explicit written consent, for any commercial purpose whatsoever, is expressly prohibited and will be vigorously contested.
- Citing this Site - Please Read !!
A proper citation always tells the reader where the information was found and/or if it can be reverified.
I recommend that when copying information on a particular individual on these pages, you consistently use the individual's person page URL as your citation detail. That allows your reader to see what evidence I had while minimizing your citation burden — one copy/paste, no keying required. Note that person page URLs will not change, so they are entirely permanent (insofar as anything web-related is permanent today).
For an overarching bibliographic reference entry, you might use something like: Brooks, Christopher. Tributaries: Brooks Families of New England, genealogical website at tributaries.info, visited 01 Sep 2010.
- Disclaimer - Suggestion Box
This is work in progress with 275,000 citations to 2,050 sources and researchers. These pages are in continuing revision, correction, and expansion. Sources and contributors are carefully noted, but sometimes unverified. (Footnotes and the hyperlinked bibliography will indicate where information has been extracted and/or contributed by other researchers.) Furthermore, transcription errors are inevitable in any project of this scale. The information presented here is not infallible, nor should it replace conducting your own research with primary records whenever possible. Always verify!
Additions and corrections to the data, and comments on the site's ease of navigation and use, are always welcome.