Practically all of the individuals in the database are connected in some way, either by blood relation or by marriage. In other words, it’s possible to delineate the relationship between most people in this database with a description like “cousin’s spouse’s grandmother’s second-cousin’s spouse’s nephew”. In many cases, it’s possible to find more than one such path of relationship. It becomes immediately apparent that the residents of North Annville were closely associated with North Londonderry and East Hanover, and not so much with South Annville or North Lebanon. This relationship is likely attributable to the geographic location of so many churches in North Annville.
The genealogy data is hosted by RootsWeb.com as an ad-sponsored, interactive database:
The data was extracted primarily from the federal censuses of 1850 through 1930 and may reflect the limitations of census data. Additional data was extracted from Lebanon County marriage records and newspaper obituaries, available on microfilm at the Lebanon County Historical Society, and from tombstone inscriptions. All references are duly footnoted.
Female ancestors are more difficult to trace, since their surname changed when they married or remarried, which makes them appear to drop off the census. Another thing to remember is that, before the era of Social Security, credit cards, and computer records, a person’s name was whatever they said it was, and it might change during the course of their life. I found many examples where a person apparently switched their first and middle names.
Even on an official document like the census, people often used nicknames, especially women. There are so many Katies, Lizzies, Sallies, Sadies, and Pollys who were actually Catherines, Elizabeths, Sarahs, and Marys. Also, the spelling of surnames routinely changed from one generation to the next, or even from one sibling to the next (can you spell Biemesderfer?). In this database, I tried to use the most common or most recent spelling of surnames, although there are exceptions. The actual spelling from the source material is provided in the footnotes. The census record is not complete. The 1890 census was destroyed by a fire, creating a twenty year gap between 1880 and 1900. Additional references are listed on the Data Sources page.