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Walking with Ghosts - Home
Mystery Photos
Frequently Asked Questions
I've been published....sort of


Primary Research


MacLeod DNA Project
McLeod Reunion Tombstone Project
South Carolina Grave Index


Secondary Research
When not researching my McLeods and working on the FTDNA projects, these lines are researched.


Wilke of Germany/N.Y.
Jessup of England
Checker/Tskeris of Greece/N.Y.
Abnett of England
Hudson of South Carolina
Ives of South Carolina


Sideline Research
These lines have married into my family (primary and secondary lines of research seen above) and are included here to aid other researchers. I am not currently researching these names; however, the pages are updated as information becomes available.


Arrants of South Carolina
Barnes of South Carolina
Blyther of South Caroliina
Boykin of South Carolina
Cook Family of South Carolina
Coombs of Maine
Checker/Tskeris Greece
Davis of South Carolina
Dennis of South Carolina
Freeman of South Carolina
Holland of South Carolina
Huggins of South Carolina
Hurst of South Carolina
Jones of South Carolina
Josey/Jossey of South Carolina
Keretas of Greece
Medhurst of England
Meyers of South Carolina
Moseley of South Carolina
Rodgers of South Carolina
Ross of South Carolina
Yates/Yeates of South Carolina



Online Research Sites


Sumter South Carolina Genealogy
Kershaw South Carolina Genealogy
County Kent England Genealogy




Walking with Ghosts..........

a website for the descendants of Angus and Nancy McCutchen MacLeod~~


Frequently Asked Questions

UPDATE June 2011 - Due to my heavy involvement with the YDNA Projects, I no longer am "actively" researching in the South Carolina Courthouses nor actively doing on line research into any of the surnames included on this site. I have every intention of picking up my research during visits to North Carolina and will continue to place records and information here when found, but I have not been able to actually carry out this intent to date.

The website is in the process of being updated for the first time since 2009; most of the new information has come from the emails of other researchers. That information will in most cases NOT have been verified by my personally viewing the records used. If you take this information for your own files, please remember that it has not been verified and proven unless otherwise specified.

Since I am not actively researching at the moment, there may have been newly discovered information on any of the surnames included on this site...i.e. new information may now be available on FreeBMD for birth and death information that contradicts what is found on this web site. When you see this, please drop me an email and I'll update the information. When you write, please send in the Page Title and the web address, without this information, correcting or adding new information to the site can be very difficult due to the number of pages contained within it.

Additionally, please be sure that you are actually correcting something that is ON a page within THIS site; I recently received an email from a cousin that knew my family and had visited us when I was a child. This cousin sent a quite rude email (not realizing who I was) demanding that I "stop showing him as dead on my pages". I knew which pages this cousin had contributed to and immediately began to see if I had mistakenly listed him as dead. I had not and in fact the only place he was referenced in the entire site was as a contributor. There was still some insistence that I had him listed as dead and so I did a time consuming manual search of every page in the site. In the end, we learned that he had performed a search in which the search engine had combined portions of sentences contained on the same page and made it appear as if I had listed him as dead. He was embarrassed at his rude email and I had wasted valuable time doing a manual search of every page in my site to see if I had made a mistake. So, please, be certain that the information you are correcting is actually ON my site and not a mix up of information by a search engines programing.

The original intent of this web site is the same as it has always been; to provide a FREE tool for researchers to help each other by the sharing of information - please support this intent by helping to keep it as accurate as possible. Corrections are always welcome - rude emails are not...(those of you who have sent them know who you are....).

Happy Researching and "Hold Fast"!

1. Do I research for others?

I am an amatuer genealogist without licensing at the moment. I don't research for others; however, in the course of researching my own family lines I occassionally come across records pertaining to other lines of the same names. These records are placed on my website to aid other researchers.

2. Am I working on any other of my surnames at the moment?

90% of my research efforts at the moment are with my McLeod line. I have learned that if I don't go into a research trip with a list of "to do" I come away empty handed. However, I do copy indexes of other surnames for later research while in the courthouses and I do research other famiy names on the internet, but since I don't consider it documented until I have the records in my own files, I don't consider that "real" research.

3. How important is "family legend"?

In every family legend a grain of truth exists. It is a serious researcher's goal to find the documentation to back it up and sometimes finding that documentation may take years. The simplest question an older generation member may ask during an interview may turn out to be of great importance. For example, a man interviewed in 1920 asked the interviewer this question upon his arrival........."how are our Boykin Cousins'?" Approximately eighty two years after the interview took place, an apparent connection was finally found between a Daniel McLeod and the children of our deceased Alexander McLeod. Researching that Daniel McLeod, it was learned that his daughter, Annie McLeod, had married Col. Stephen Madison Boykin; therefore, since Albert (the man interviewed) was Annie's second cousin, Annie's Boykin children were indeed his cousins and the cousins of the interviewer.

Even if there is no evidence at the time of the interview that a piece of information is correct, remember it. Our legend included the immigration point being Virginia, which was unusual for would have been easy to say Albert John was wrong or that Jay Frank, the interviewer was typically the Scots immigrants entered into Wilmington NC or Charleston SC upon immigration. We had found no evidence of this being a true statement for years however Col. Purdy Belvin McLeod Jr.'s recent participation in the DNA surname study has revealed a perfect 25 marker match with two men whose own immigrant ancestor, one Norman McLeod, appears in Virignia records about the same time as our Angus is believed to have immigrated and entered Virginia! This 25 marker level perfect match was confirmed upon receipt of the results of Donald Ross McLeod Sr.'s testing.

4. How do I determine to which McLeod line a document belongs?

I make a list of all the neighbors of my ancestor for each census in which they are enumerated; land deeds for my ancestor will include some of those neighbors in boundary discriptions, those neighbors will be witnesses to the legal documents of my ancestors, they are likely to attend the same church, use the same Mill and general store etc.....the records of other lines of McLeods will likewise be determined in the same manner. Learn the creeks, branches, mills and other landmarks of the area you are researching - this all helps in determining the ownership of records. ALWAYS read the very bottom of the record where one finds the Release of Dower (if released). I copied a court case from 1817 that I believed concerned my Angus, husband of Nancy McCutchen - it included all the right names, the right time frame, the right area and I was very excited........until I went through my other records to see if anything in another record conflicted with the court case. A few years after the lawsuit, the land in question was sold by Angus McLeod to William Josey - (my gggg grandfather) BUT the dower release was signed by a MARGARET McLeod and not a Nancy McLeod........that record is likely not the record of MY Angus but of a younger Angus McLeod whose land was adjacent to Alexander and Mary Catherine McCaskill McLeod in Kershaw County - a separate line of McLeods from mine!

5. How much credence do I put in the family files of others - those files found either on the internet or in a local archive?

Not much if I haven't corresponded with the researcher myself. The first thing I want to know is whether or not the owner of the family file did the research themselves or just downloaded or copied and pasted it into their files from someone else's file. Spend five minutes on World Connect doing a search for Daniel McLeod husband of Jane Christmas for will find as many as six identical gedcoms - each of them copied and pasted from another file with none of the owners of the file having done their own research. In this case, I happen to know which is the original file and it contains a glaring error - the owner has called a son of Daniel and Jane Christmas McLeod ....Daniel McLeod Jr.and shows this son Daniel Jr. with a wife named Catherine McLean - first off, this Daniel and Catherine McLean McLeod are of MY line of McLeods and have absolutely no ties to Daniel and Jane Christmas McLeod whatsoever. But, if an observant researcher paid attention to what the file actually says instead of just "name gathering" by copying and pasting or downloading the information into their own files, they would realize that Daniel Sr. and Daniel Jr. were the same age! Both men are in the 1850 Sumter Census, with wives names and children's names exactly as stated in this particular World Connect file, both aged about 60! Perhaps even more than five other researchers have added this error into their family files and they have in turn passed their file onto five others.....can you see the issue with this? Now that incorrect information is spread far and wide and because no one bothered to include sourcing i.e. "copied from the file of ........." it is likely that not one of those folk could tell you where they got the information in the first place!

6. How do I use family files of others in my own research?

I have two FTM files - one is titled "combined family tree" and the other ".....Angus McLeod". The combined tree contains all the names I find during internet research with notes as to whether the information appears to be correct, where it was found, if I have spoken with the researcher etc. In that way, I keep access to the information but it is still kept separate from my proven or documented Information. When it is considered "proven" I add it to the Angus McLeod family tree file. Just as my family legend and your family legend contain a grain or more of truth, so do these gedcoms that belong to other folks. In the particular file I mentioned above with the glaring error about the two Daniel's, there is also some good information - information that has been researched by the original file owner.

7. If I make a five hour trip to do research, and I only have three hours left in my day, do I go to the Local Archives or to the Courthouse?

I always spend the bulk of my time on any research trip in the courthouses of the counties where my ancestors lived; I begin by looking at Index Books, making copies of that portion of the index that contains my surnames of interest. Then, I go to the actual records and look for the keywords, if those words are found, I make a copy of the record and go on to the next indexed record saving the magnifying glass examination of the record until I get back home.

My second goal on a research trip is to visit as many of the local cemeteries or family graveyards as possible to continue to document our family burial sites.

Third on my list of things to do is to hit the genealogical society or the archive center. I spend that time going through published books in the archives library - i.e. an index of cases filed with Court of Common Pleas is an invaluable research tool as many of those court cases may not have been copied to microfilm as of yet. The index allows you to then go to the courthouse and search for the cases.

8. What exactly do I mean when I say "I believe it only when I have documented it".

Just because someone's gedcom on World Connect or their web page on Rootsweb has sourcing information included doesn't mean that the information is correct. The accuracy of both the information and the sourcing should always be suspect until you have viewed the source records yourself. When you see the record yourself you then have documented the information and can believe it true and reliable. I.E. I copied the record of Angus McLeod selling land to William Josey years before I found the court case that concerned that land - I neglected however to copy the Release of Dower portion of the deed. After finding the court case, I went back to that deed in the book at the courthouse and double checked for the dower release and learned that a Margaret and not a Nancy McLeod had signed the release. Despite all indications that this was a deed for my ancestor, in the end it wasn't - view the records yourself and make sure you view the entire record!

9. Can I please explain the real difference between a "name gatherer" and a "serious researcher"?

A name gatherer searches the internet for other peoples family files, copies and then pastes the information they glean from those files into their own file and then promptly forget about it while they continue to search for more and more names. Their pride is in the number of names they have in their file and not in the accuracy of their file. They compound this by never actually reading what they have copied so that what should be glaring mistakes (like the son of man being the same age as his father!!!!) are never noticed and are passed around to more name gatherers and soon these incorrect family files take over the world! Ask a name gatherer how they are related to you and they won't be able to answer you - your email will never be answered~

As I wrote above, a serious researcher views the actual records referenced in other works, includes the source from which they gathered the initial information or reference, and/or qualifies the information with a statement of intent to verify, seeks out additional records to verify the initial found records and takes pride in the ACCURACY of their file rather than the NUMBER OF NAMES in their file.

Listen my friend............surfing the internet and copying someone else's gedcom or webpage is NOT RESEARCHING! It is name gathering. Researching is paying for a subscription to an online genealogical database and spending hours staring at the microfilmed and scanned documents contained on the site, printing down those records and keeping them in your personal files; researching is traveling to courthouses and archives and cemeteries and becoming thirsty and dirty and suffering from eyestrain and paying for hotels, and gas, and copies of hundreds of records. Researching is taking those records home and reading them carefully with a magnifying glass and then spending hours making sure that nothing in that record conflicts with any other record in your files and then transcribing those records. Researching is going through boxes and boxes of handwritten notes of the generations who came before you and researched before you and who trusted you to honor their work. Anything else is name gathering.

10. Why have I placed a copyright on my website?

There are folks who take name gatherering further than beginner's ignorance or excitement would justify! Two years ago during an internet search; a match popped up that had the name of one of my cousins descended through a brother of my 3 times great grandfather. Curious, I followed the link to see if there was someone actively researching that branch. Arriving at the page, there was a familiar feel to the way that the birth place, burial place, etc were worded but the note section contained no information and there was no sourcing information anywhere on the page. I scrolled to the bottom of the webpage to see if a contact email or name was given and saw "all research done by ............." and then below that "all data contained on this page is the sole property of .............".

I soon learned why all of the wording of birth, death, and burial information looked so familiar for when I clicked on the link to my great great grandfather's page, I found the web page from my site copied and pasted into this gentleman's database. Clicking backwards and sidewise and downwards revealed several more of my pages copied and pasted; in the end, I stopped counting at 53 pages. And on every one of those pages the gentleman had this at the bottom "all research done by ............." and "all data contained on this page is the property of .............".

So, surfing the internet and lifting the work of others and putting it into your database is RESEARCH? Emailing the owner of this 80,000 name database, I learned that 1) he didn't know where he had gotten all the information 2) he didn't have any connection to the McLeod surname at all . This my friend, is a "name gatherer". He agreed to place a link to my website and to source me as the author of the intellectual property (essays) that had been lifted from my site (and most sourcing removed!!!!). Seven months later, he had done neither. A "cease and desist" letter was sent with a deadline for either the sourcing and linking to be added or for the information from my site to be removed. The database disappeared from the internet for a time. but has now been returned on line and although the individuals contained on my website still remain on the database, nothing is contained in the "notes" section - all that is found now are the names, birth, death, marriage dates etc. which is considered "public data". Although there is still no indication of WHERE he got that "public data" he has changed the bottom portion of each page.....where before he claimed he'd "done" all the research and that he owned the "data" it now reads:

"......... Geneology Search Engine Research and database entry by "his name plus email"
All code and rights to this search engine belong to the afore mentioned Author
Much of the information gathered in this database was found on the world wide web.
On-line info is most often not documented.
The information should be used with caution and is meant as a place to start,
but all data should be confirmed by your own research. "

It is a step in the right direction, but still the search engine/database of a "name gatherer" and not a serious researcher! Oh and by the way - his database now contains over 1 million names according to a note on the top of the index page!

11. Why is correct sourcing to a website or another researcher so important?

When I asked the above person what his connection to my family was, he had no answer. Nor could he answer from where he had gotten the pages. When I asked him if he was now or had ever been actively researching my McLeod line - his answer was NO. So why exactly were my relatives who were NOT his relatives on his website? Because, he was a name gatherer, bragging on his home page that he had more than 80,000 people in his database! But, I digress................

So, by copying and pasting my information into his website and omitting the sourcing information or a link to an ACTIVE researcher, he had created a dead end - he couldn't answer a question about the McLeods included in his pages, nor could he send the questioner to me or any other person who could answer their question because he had deleted all the sourcing information, provided no link or email address to an active research, and wasn't actively researching any of the names in his database.

Not only that, but he had had my pages for over a year on his site - a lot of the information on the pages was "old", outdated, disproven or proven since he had "lifted" them from me. Had there been an active link to my website included on his webpages folks could have come to my site and learned of the continuing research.

AND had there been a link to my website contained on the webpages I WROTE, I would have walked away without ever having to contact him at all let alone via a cease and desist letter .

12. Can you explain the difference between "public data" and "intellectual work"

Gladly! Most name gatherers do so without intention of harm or offence to others, they are simply excited to find more information about their family line. As they become educated in the world of genealogy, they quickly begin to understand the importance of referencing sources of whatever kind they may be. The first time I was asked "how did you come up with ...." and I couldn't find where I had gotten that information, I changed from a name gatherer into a more serious researcher, or at the least a better compiler of information. I spent about 6 months in 2001 going back through my gedcom and adding the sourcing information or explaining the method used to come to such and such a conclusion.

Public Data is any information that you can find in the public arena; to be more specific, if you can walk into a courthouse, access the record, copy it and take it home, it is public data.

Intellectual Work or property is when someone then takes that record, translates it into modern vernacular for the reader, adds their own thoughts to the work and reasons out truth from fiction based upon that document or it is when they include a letter or other information from their private family records. In other words, anything in an essay format that isn't a direct quote, an exact transcription etc. is intellectual work/property.

But, if you copy and paste the Pulbic Data from a personal website or a personal gedcom and weren't the one who did the legwork to find the information is it ETHICAL for you to not credit the person who did the work for providing you the information?

13. Why do I think that so many of the private gedcoms of researchers are being systematically removed from world connect and other databases?

I have corresponded with many of them and they are fed up with finding the information that they have spent hundreds of hours finding, writing about, and sharing being used in family files where they receive no credit for their work. BUT it is more than that, it is the dead ends that are created by those who lift the information without providing a road back to the active researcher.

All of us who have had information lifted from our pages on the internet have found instances where that information has been copied and pasted incorrectly into another gedcom..........then we see that error perpetually repeated in family file after family file of those who are in the process of name gathering. We add post it notes to those gedcoms but the owners of the gedcom never make the correction, and so it is downloaded by someone else, added to another family file and then uploaded to world connect again and again and again. Soon, our family file is the only one with the CORRECT attachment of Daniel and Catherine, but because MORE files contain the other INCORRECT information, genealogy novices think that the correct information is in the repeated files not the single file. And because the person who took the information from us initially and inadvertantly added it to their own files incorrectly didn't source us as the place where they got the information, no one realizes that HE wasn't the one who researched it in the first place.................see the vicious circle?

Okay, enough about all of that..........if I haven't made my point clearly and if you don't walk away from this page a "serious researcher" who sources every single bit of information you find, then nothing else I can say will cause you to take this seriously enough to take the time to give credit where credit is due! But, I have faith that if you've read this far and put up with my angst over all of this to this point, you already are a serious researcher or you already are on the verge of becoming one! So welcome to our little world!

14. Why have I removed my gedcom from World Connect?

Several reasons - most of them discussed in earlier paragraphs/sections of this FAQ page - but in addition the fact that information on there (World Connect) was supposedly never to be sold - yet I find old databases submitted by me from 2000 - 2004 now on One World Tree - and I have no memory of ever submitting those gedcoms to that database. I understand that One World Tree is a subscription only database ( I may be wrong but I've only been able to access it since I began my paid subscription to, therefore my information is being used for the profit of the owners of One World Tree - I consider that "sold" the very least that is me being "sold out".

So, even if my old gedcom(s) weren't "sold" by worldconnect to another party, why would I be upset that my gedcom was on One World Tree? One World Tree is a mess of combined information - death and burial dates of one Alexander McLeod combined with another Alexander McLeod etc.....they simply find men and women of the same name and approximate birth and death years and places and combine them. You have to work really hard to get to the original submitters information and to weed out what belongs to whom and what has simply been added to the persons information in order for the search engine to bring it to your attention. Did that confuse you? Well, One World Tree confuses the heck out of me so you get the picture!

Even more frustrating is that there is no visible method of updating or correcting the databases found on One World Tree and lots and lots of OLD information is on there that has now been disproven by myself or by others who help me to research. This makes me look like a fool as my name is there for all to see AND it leads others to include incorrect information in their own files that they can credit me as the source of that faulty information - thank you One World Tree! (You CAN add a comment to a Tree but not to the One World Tree as it pertains to the search engines at

I can't control what One World Tree has of my "old" work at this time, but I can control what does happen with my gedcom from this point on has been removed to protect it under the copyright of intellectual property and to prevent its being added to some other uneditable database in the future.

I recently learned that a free genealogy database has contacted/hired an attorney to discuss the alleged "lifting" of some of their pages into a subscription only world of genealogy - so this problem may allegedly be greater than just the inclusion of old user donated files from worldconnect and the old free family tree website (also for user donated gedcoms) on the now subscription only database.

Stay tuned to find out how all this ends - genealogy is becoming big business for some of the previously free websites and the boundary lines of the heretofore unclear copyright and intellectual property "rules" as they pertain to the internet are being slowly clarified.
!Source: Lori McLeod Wilke copyright © 2000-2011 All Rights Reserved