The Patricia C. Worden files
In the course of her editorship of Wordens Past and as archivist of the Worden Family Association, Patricia C. Worden (referenced below as PCW) collected a great deal of information on the Wordens. Her files contain about 1000 folders. Most of this material was sent to her by WFA members and others.
We have now scanned the material in these files into PDF documents and are making many of them available on the WFA website. The files are accessible to WFA members.
To make use of these files requires a bit of background. PCW assigned numbers to each of the Wordens (or Wardens or other spellings) she knew about, called RN Numbers (or RNs). RNs were also assigned to Worden wives and a few others but usually not to descendants of Worden women. PCW annotated the files with the RNs of persons referenced. We have now transcribed those annotations to RNs to facilitate the retrieval of the relevant documents and have made a list of each time an RN appears in the material. Hence, the best way to access material about a particular individual in the PCW files is through the RN, so you need to determine that.
PCW also developed a database of basic information about many of the Wordens and their spouses, which we call the PCW Database. This contains person sheets which have the RN of the individual and basic information including spouses, parents, and children. Also included are cryptic notes on evidences for information which often reference file numbers in the PCW files, as discussed below.
Our current archivist and president, Pat Warden, is developing a database which has pages for each person in her files. Attached to these person pages are images of the person pages in the PCW Database. Pat Warden has also assigned numbers to individuals, called simply ID numbers.
Users who are members of the Worden Family Association may access Pat Warden’s database from the home page of wordenfamilyassoc.org by clicking on the Databases tab at the top of the page.
At the top of the page headed “Worden Genealogy” there are tabs for “Search” and “Surname Index.” These are two different ways to search for a particular person, either may be used. Clicking on a name in either of these indexes will bring up the relevant Pat Warden page, together with the embedded PCW page. At the top of this page is a line headed “Reference:” with two numbers separated by a slash. The first of these numbers is the person’s RN.
With the RN in hand, go to the PCW Files Query page, CLICK HERE. On this page there are two lookup options. Right now, the one that is most useful is the one for RNs. Enter the RN for the person you are interested in and click “Submit Query.” You will get a list of evidences for this person. If there are no evidences for this RN, a mostly blank page will come up. If there are evidences for this RN a list will come up. Each entry in this list is an evidence for this RN. The list provides several pieces of information about the evidences:
Sequence—this can be ignored, it is just the number of the entry
Page—This is the page number within the evidence on which this RN appears, make a note of this. If there is no page number it is likely the item has only one page.
RNs—the RN number
Name—the name of the individual
Available—this tells whether the evidence is available, some are not, for reasons given below
Filename—This is a brief description of the evidence, use this to decide whether or not to look at it
Address—this is the address of the evidence on the website, it can be ignored
URL Reference—this is the link to the evidence.
If you want to see a particular evidence, click on the link (URL Reference). The evidences are PDF files. What happens next depends on how your browser handles PDFs. It would be best if the browser opened the file and then let you decide whether to download it. Chrome, Windows Explorer, and Microsoft Edge do this. Unfortunately, Firefox (which is my favorite) automatically downloads the PDF to the directory set as Firefox’s download folder.
The evidences (PDFs) have varying numbers of pages in them. Some are quite long. You can flip to the page number you noted before opening the PDF. Sometimes you may need to enlarge the image to read it. Your PDF reader (such as Adobe) should allow you to do that. Some pages were scanned horizontally or upside down, PDF readers allow you to rotate the page.
It is up to the user to determine whether the item retrieved in fact involves the individual you are interested in. There are no doubt errors in the transcription of RN numbers from the PDFs and PCW probably made some errors in her original notation of the RNs.
Not all of the items in PCW’s files are available on the website. Those that are not are noted as “Not available.” Those that are missing are usually of two types: (1) items that are copyrighted and (2) items concerning persons that may be living. A few other items that involve possibly embarrassing information about living individuals or conflicts between WFA members have been withheld. Some items that are Wordens Past articles are not available here, they are available elsewhere on the website. Some copyrighted material is available if it is limited in scope. Material that briefly mentions living persons may also be available. If the item is not available you can still click on the hyperlink in an attempt to retrieve it, but you will receive an error message (or at least that is the way it is supposed to work).
Persons may have more than one RN. This occurred because PCW did not realize that persons with the same name were the same person.
Some data on the PCW files:
There are about 1000 folders. Within each folder there are one or more items which have one or more pages. There are 3857 items with a total of 13,354 pages. These have a total of 38,208 references to individuals. The highest RN is 17331.
As with virtually all genealogical material there are inaccuracies in this material. Some material is primary, that is, original documents such as birth, marriage, and death certificates, deeds, tax records, etc. Of course, even primary material is sometimes in error. Some material is “quasi-primary,” that is, transcripts of primary documents which may have errors in transcription. But much is not primary, for example charts of relationships involving inference on the part of the author or other accounts the accuracy of which varies. Much here is pure speculation. There are also census accounts which, of course, are often inaccurate. We have made no judgments about this material (other than the exclusions discussed above) and we make no representations as to its accuracy or appropriateness for any purpose, so it is incumbent on the user to make those judgments. Much of this material should not be viewed as “evidence” but rather as hints for further exploration. Some of the material is available elsewhere on line (e.g., censuses, books through Google Books and other repositories) and the user would do well to access those sources.