Meet our Members: Dave Ebaugh

+22 votes

Hi everyone!

Meet_our_Members_Photos-9.pngIt's time to meet another one of our Wonderful WikiTreers. This week's member is Dave Ebaugh

Dave became a Wiki Genealogist in December of 2019.  He is active in our US Black Heritage, Accessibility Angels and Quakers projects.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Ebaugh, naturally, but not all Ebaughs. The biggest Ebaugh family descends from Johan Jacob Ebaugh. Another larger family descends from the brothers Roman and Reinholdt Ebaugh. That family does not appear to be on WikiTree. I am not interested in either of those families. My Ebaughs are descended from my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Ebaugh and his wife Theresa Fridman. I also am studying Joseph’s descendants with his second wife, Lucinda Johnson. Also on my paternal side I’m researching Theresa’s family, Fridman.

On my maternal side I’m honing in on the Borks. I’m trying to puzzle out a historical event. In the late Nineteenth century a number of Borks and allied families migrated from Worth and Mitchell counties in north central Iowa to South Dakota; twenty years or so later they came back. I want to understand that story.

Unrelated to me, I’m studying Grant and Walker families. On the 1870 census the Grants were a family of four Black servants in my fourth great grandfather Benjamin Crow’s household. The evidence from Crow’s 1850 and 1860 slave schedules suggests that the Grants were formerly enslaved by him. I saw an opportunity for an interesting study and also felt a sense of responsibility to pursue it. It has been very rewarding. I recently was following a Polley line that came out of this study and was surprised to discover some of the family already on WikiTree! 

What are some of the locations you are researching?

Indiana wants me, apparently. Joseph Ebaugh settled in Jackson Township, Jackson County. He is surrounded by Quakers, so I’m studying the Quakers of the Sandcreek meeting. The Grant family migrated to Indiana and were early residents in the Haughville neighborhood of Indianapolis.

Grafton is a small town (250 people or so) in Worth County, Iowa. My mother was raised there. I would do a place study for Grafton and Worth county if I had the time (and if any other WikiTreers had heard of them!) The town was built by Prussian immigrants, so I dabble in Prussia. 

I’m studying Boyle County, Kentucky during slavery and the Reconstruction, and Clermont County, Ohio during the back half of the Nineteenth Century.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

Family history was a part of my life in a very experiential sense from childhood. Every year for the first 17 years of my life I spent Memorial Day morning in the Grafton Cemetery, honoring my grandfather Clarence Macken (Macken-106) (a WWI vet). I’d wander through the grave stones and was fascinated by them, especially the oldest ones, with German language inscriptions. In the afternoon we’d travel around Cerro Gordo and Worth Counties, visiting the graves of my paternal ancestors. I began to formally study my tree about a decade ago.

Who's your favorite ancestor and why?

One of the better stories is my great grandfather Conrad Macken. He was a rider on an Orphan Train, born in New York and adopted in Grant County, Wisconsin. I pieced the story together using primary sources and had quite a bit of fun doing it. The end of Conrad’s story isn’t as fun. He suffered bouts of depression, and left unattended on a Tuesday afternoon he consumed strychnine to end his life. 

[Interview continues below.]

WikiTree profile: Dave Ebaugh
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)

Tell us about a brick wall you hope to bust through.

My holy grail is to discover the fates of Joseph’s daughters Theresa and Louisa. I know they were alive as of 1840, but they both reached a marriageable age before 1850 and don’t appear on that year’s census. There are no known marriage records for them. My strong suspicion is that they married into the Quaker community, which is my selfish reason for studying the Sandcreek meeting. 

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

I study some fairly obscure history – the history of vegetarianism, 19th century progressive movements and radicalism, food history, and comics and cartooning. I’m a computer enthusiast, cult cinema lover, music fan, news junkie, birdwatcher, and motorsports fanatic (especially NASCAR). Also, I like to cook.

How long have you been on WikiTree and what do you spend the most time doing?

I joined in December 2019. These days I’m spending most of my time developing profiles for the U.S. Black Heritage Project. Mostly notables for the moment. I’ll be shifting to a focus on enslaved (and free!) people in Boyle County once we get that part of the project more developed. I actually enjoy doing maintenance type gruntwork, so I probably have a bit of that in my future!

I’m on the Accessibility Angels Technology Advisors Team. I’ve been evaluating WikiTree’s usability when navigating with only the keyboard.

I’m a member of the Quakers Project too. I’m planning on indexing the minutes of the Sandcreek Meeting, which are poorly indexed (and often not indexed at all) by both Ancestry and FamilySearch.

I’m working on a plugin for GRAMPS to make it easier to import WikiTree GEDCOM files. I have guides up to Splitting a GEDCOM with GRAMPS and Creating a Spreadsheet of a County’s Slaveholders.  In the future I’m planning more guides blending computer science and WikiTree.

What brought you to WikiTree?

I encountered WikiTree while searching for some of my Colonial ancestors. I like writing up my research as a narrative. WikiTree seemed like a good forum for that. 

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree?

I like the ability to write freeform narrative biographies without being forced into a bulletpoint fact format.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

I would like it to be more compliant with established accessibility guidelines. In many ways it is very good, in other ways there is work to do. 

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

When I’m working on a biography I have to reexamine my sources, and often taking a close look reveals a sometimes surprising story. It also encourages me to try to dig up even more of the story, finding new sources.

One contribution to the universe I’m working on right now is a page compiling my research on the Colorado African Emigration Company. There is nothing on the internet that gathers together information on this organization. 

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

If you say it, source it.

It is possible to list facts in a bullet point style, which is fine. I’d encourage you to think in terms of a story instead.

Don’t just look at the index or transcription of sources. When possible look at an image of the original document. That is often where the story lies. If you have difficulty reading the image, reach out. The Accessability Angels are here to help!

3 Answers

+6 votes
Thanks for joining Wikitree!
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+4 votes
Hi Dave,

You should get your "Colorado African Colonization Company" page linked into the US Black Heritage project somewhere (if not already), and linked somewhere for Colorado resources too.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (224k points)
+1 vote
It's was great reading more about you, Dave! I have enjoyed working with you on the US Black Heritage Project and can't wait to see what we can accomplish once we get more ducks lined up in a row. Your work has been a great asset.
by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (695k points)

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