A couple years ago I completed a proof argument that Lewis Tharp was the father of Barsheba Tharp. This week I’ve been updating the FamilySearch Family Tree with the information and sources I included in that proof argument. One of the details I found in a Hawkins County deed connected Barsheba’s brother, William Tharp, to Rebecca Tharp, formerly Rebecca Vernon. I found Abraham Vernon’s will and it mentioned his widow, Rebecca. Abraham’s will also mentioned his elder brother, Nathan Vernon.
I wanted to connect Nathan and Abraham as brother’s on FamilySearch, but I found that Abraham wasn’t on FamilySearch yet. I did some quick research and found that no one seems to know who Abraham and Nathan Vernon’s father was. Without adding a person named “Mr. Vernon” as the father of the men, I couldn’t think of a way to connect them. I didn’t want to add a new person as their father until I had time to figure it out. That’s when I noticed the “other relationships” section of the profile page in the FamilySearch Family Tree.
After the vitals, other information, and family members sections, you will see the other relationships section of the profile page. If you click “add other relationship,” you’ll see a popup with a dropdown list allowing you to select certain relationships from a list. Many of these are friend, family, associates, and neighbor (FAN) type of relationships. If you’ve done FAN club research before, you’ll know how important that can be in determining identities and family relationships.
Currently the options are:
- Lineage Gap
If you select enslavement, for example, the popup then assigns one person as the slaveholder and the other person as the enslaved person.
You can then add the person by putting in their personal ID number or searching for them by name. You can swap places if they need to be in different spots to fit the role labels.
For Nathan and Abraham Vernon, I selected the relative option. For this option, the role labels just say “relative” above each man. I then added a reason statement showing that Abraham Vernon mentions his older brother, Nathan Vernon.
Roles in the Other Relationships Section
Most of the role labels are obvious – like master and apprentice; also head of household and occupant. I wasn’t sure about lineage gap, so clicking on that revealed the role labels of ancestor and descendant. I might need to use that in this case with Abraham Vernon also because I found that he was mentioned in his grandmother’s will, Elizabeth Vernon of Chester County, Pennsylvania. The will didn’t say who Abraham’s father was, and I couldn’t find the information quickly. I need to conduct more research to determine Abraham’s father. But, at least I know his grandmother! So, I could add Elizabeth [–?–] Vernon as Abraham’s ancestor using the other relationships section.
Some additional information I found about Abraham Vernon of Hawkins County, Tennessee point to him coming from Pennsylvania, so this could be the same man mentioned as the grandson of Elizabeth Vernon. But because I’m not really sure, I don’t want to add the info until I’ve had a chance to do more exhaustive research.
With the brother relationship of Abraham and Nathan Vernon, both men lived in Hawkins County, Tennessee and were associated several times, so I feel confident that the Nathan Vernon of Hawkins County was the brother Abraham mentioned in his Hawkins County will. It’s great to be able to add this relationship without having to wait until I determine who their father was!
FAN Club Research
The Other Relationships section can be a great tool to help keep track of friends, family, associates, and neighbors (the FAN club). The people your ancestors associated with can help identify them if there are other people of the same name. Previously, on FamilySearch, there was no way to link a person to a neighbor or a relative (other than the defined relative relationships in the tree). Now you can link your ancestors to their FAN club.
Adding “other relationships” is especially important in research of enslaved people. The identity of the plantation owners where an enslaved person lived and worked is key in determining their surname after emancipation as well as who they married.