This entry will cover some basic background and explain my involvement with the Marden family.
I have chosen to start with a family I am very familiar with. This should allow me time to get comfortable with the blog format and work the kinks out of my posting skills before I get involved with an active research project.
I am certain some folks will consider writing to me declaring the proper spelling of the name is Mardin. For some branches this is certainly true, but for other branches it is false. In my research I find the Maine records generally use Marden and the New Hampshire records generally use Mardin. Beyond that it seems to be a turkey shoot. For the sake of consistency, I have chosen one spelling and will stick with it throughout this blog and our companion database. However, this should not be mistaken as an attempt to enforce my choice of spelling onto others.
I was introduced to Edward Marden in November of 2006 when a descendant wrote to Ne-Do-Ba for assistance. She had already done enough work to be confident she was a descendant of Nathaniel Marden (1809-1864). A published genealogy suggested Nathaniel was the son of Edward Marden. She was told Edward Marden had an Indian wife, so at this point she believed Nathaniel’s mother was Indian and she was seeking help to prove it.
Ne-Do-Ba gets a fair number of requests of this nature each month. Most have some vague oral history a great great grandmother was Indian and they want to know what tribe she was so they can get registered. Most have put little or no effort into learning anything about their family history. They just want answers. I am always polite and helpful in responding, explaining how to get started and how Ne-Do-Ba would love to assist once they have collected some basic information. Most are never hear from again. If a person is not willing to put a little effort into learning about their family, why should strangers be expected to?
When someone contacts Ne-Do-Ba and includes some basic family data, I always look into it and record everything in the Ne-Do-Ba Roots Magic genealogy program. I have been doing this for more than 15 years and I have to say at least 90% of these “great grandma was a Indian” stories prove false. There may be some Native connection in the family somewhere back in time but the person they insist is “full blooded Indian” is nothing of the sort. Of the other 10%, I find most go back too far in time or they live in places where there are no surviving records available to prove or disprove anything one way or another. Every now and then we hear from someone that really does have an Indian grandmother (or grandfather!) and it is so much fun to help them – after all, solving Wabanaki mysteries is one of the reasons my organization exists.
So, I have this nice woman, Deb, writing about the Marden family and she has done a good job of collecting information, but it is obvious she is a novice – and she is not connected to the internet! I’m not young, but I can’t image attacking a genealogical puzzle without a computer and the internet. I anticipated another dead-end, but off I went to search the net for clues and thus began an interesting journey which I will share with my readers.
P.S. Don’t get me wrong folks – I don’t believe all things genealogical will be found on the net or that all things on the net are good for us. I do believe the internet is an incredible research tool when used properly and the best place to go to jump start any research project.
Do you establish a preferred spelling in your own genealogy database or do you use all the different spellings as you find them? What problems does your spelling policy create and/or resolve?.