Sunday, January 1, 2012

Finney Family History and Genealogy book - comments from author and response to critical critic

My genealogy books appear on

For 2011's "An American Genealogy: The Finney Family History and Genealogy", I provided the following author statement. There was a response from a reader/buyer that criticized my book as having missing dates of birth, dates of death, and mis-identified photos. My response to "wronginfo" post follows my author statement below.
As the author of "An American Genealogy: The Finney Family History and Genealogy" I'd like to provide more than the publisher's book blurb.

Rosamary High Finney wrote and published the first version of this book and distributed it only to family members in 1992. She used information from previously published genealogies, as well as letters exchanged with authors of those genealogys, and supplemented it with her own extensive research - resulting in a 190 page manuscript. She passed in 1996. Her husband gave me permission to update and publish this book.

With my updates, the book is now 500 pages - many of which contain new data on descendants, as well as photographs. These living descendants, mostly from the branch who descended from Joseph and Rachel Barkley Finney, also provided me with vintage photos.

In Aug 2011, Ralph Copeland (his grandmother was Samantha Jane Finney Copeland) passed. His estate left us with hundreds of vintage photos, many over 100 years old - which had not been seen by anyone outside of the immediate family. These photos included Finneys, Copelands, as well as their relations - Rayl, Ephlin, Weaver, Allen, Hinshaw, and so on.

From colonial days, Finneys were either Quakers or United Brethren, often marrying within their church, or intermarrying with the others in the other church.

On the internet, there had been a lively debate from Lynn Finney Stuter whose excellant scholarship insisted that all previously published Finney genealogies were WRONG. She stated her evidence and said that Joseph and Rachel Barkely Finney's descendants were NOT descended from Robert Finney, the presumed patriarch of colonial Finneys. Gerald Finney, who administers the Finney DNA Database program, helped gather DNA from various descendants, including that of Harold Finney. The results were astonishing - and my book is the first ever to publish those stunning results! This branch of the family is NOT descended from Robert Finney, as stated by Lynn Finney Stuter.

In addition to the photos in this book, I have been posting photos to my tree on ancestry web site as well as to findagrave web site - so that descendants might put a face to the names and dates in their family tree.

The intention of this book is to provide as much help to Finney genealogists as possible. I hope you enjoy this book! Long live the Finneys!


I wish "wronginfo" would email me with which names are missing information and which photos were mis-identified.

These photos were contributed by the living Finney descendants, who have had them in their family for generations. One last batch of very, very old photos (over 100 years old) came from the estate of a gentleman who passed in August 2011. They were ALL labeled, so I attributed them as marked.

Date of Birth (DOB) and Date of Death (DOD) may have been missing for 2 reasons - the living Finney descendants did NOT want that info published; those who passed may not have had anyone to give me that info. Remember that anything in "modern times" is not available to the general genealogist, only relations. I worked with census records, oral history, and other internet sources when possible.

190 pages of this book were complied by Rosamary High Finney who passed in 1997. I updated the book (500 pages in the end) and added a lot of information and photos gathered from living Finney descendants, as well as information I gathered in my research.

NO genealogy is ever 100 percent correct - as we found after a DNA project's result disputed ALL previously published Finney genealogies.

To "wronginfo" - if I offended you by not including your family line, or not having your family line info complete - I apologize. I worked on this book for almost 2 years - that is a short time compared to some genealogists who work on books for 20 years. I also posted on genealogy message boards asking for contributions so that I could gather and correct as much information as possible. BUT as you know, there hasn't been a Finney genealogy available to the public for DECADES.

As you could see from the book, the Finneys were prolific. I have had contact from many who were not involved in my research, and they were pleased to find "new" info and relations that they never knew existed. Best regards - Cousette Copeland


At March 27, 2012 at 8:13 PM , Blogger Stephanie said...

Glad to see that John Earl Copeland's remains may have found their way home. I found your blog googling John Franklin Hancock and Ella Anna Gilbert. Ella Gilbert is my GGGrandmother and I am so delighted to discover the photos you posted. I've been aware of her siblings and children for a long time but outside of my immediate family have never been able to contact any of them. Thanks for your blog entries and sharing your own discoveries.


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