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James C. McKnight Databases

Key to Understanding the Databases of James C. McKnight 
by Ralph G. McKnight, nephew

These seven databases contain the major genealogical data of James C. McKnight.  They are being made available in this format to allow for wide circulation and use by interested family members.  It is hoped that this information will be used more completely as the basis for further research and improvement of our family records. We would appreciate your allowing us to include your improvements and later updates on this web site.

It is important to realize that all of James C. McKnight’s published books only contain a portion of the genealogical data in these databases.  He also submitted a great deal of genealogy to the International Genealogical Index (IGI) that is not known to be directly part of our ancestry and was not included in these databases but much of it may be found in the “James C. McKnight Research Papers” also on this website.

Explanation of Directories and Files 
Both "Gedcom" and "PAF5" files contain the exact same genealogy but in either GEDCOM or PAF5 formats (Personal Ancestral File, version 5).  I have upgraded them from their original version and put them through a utility that has updated their temple codes from the old version to the latest.  I have also corrected minor errors in dates.  I have upgraded the place names for consistency so that the state or nation name is spelled out and all are in the same format.

Shortly after James Clayton McKnight passed away, his widow, Dortha, sent me his computerized genealogy from the Personal Ancestral File (version 2) software (PAF).  I made copies of these and eventually began to study what they contained.  I found about 18 separate databases of genealogy.  Some were older versions or backups of the others.  It took some doing to sort things out, partly because I discovered that when Uncle Jim turned on his computer, he didn't bother to set the current date, so most of the file dates revert back to the BIOS default date.  It was found that most databases corresponded to books or major projects that he was working on, and were kept down to a size that would fit on a 720 KB floppy disk.

I looked in vain for one database that was totally complete and up-to-date with all the latest corrections.  It appears that after he completed a project, he would still continue updating, but I could not determine a pattern to predict which database he would select for the updated information.  I have found a few errors in all of the databases.  He was actually more likely to make an error with genealogy of his immediate family or those with whom he was familiar than with records he was transcribing.

His transcription skills were so incredibly thorough and accurate that he could transcribe an entire book of genealogy with very few errors.  An example of this is the database called: Mck_book, where he copied all the genealogy found in the 1980 book: The James (1) McKnight Families In America.  He told me about nearly all of his genealogy projects, but I did not know that he had ever transcribed all that genealogy into PAF.

Before I describe the seven databases that I feel have merit for the family members to continue perusing, let me say a word about the three databases I am leaving out.  His database called "Croft" appears to be a project he had to assist Hannah Putnam with her genealogy.  We have all that is pertinent to us in the Mck_book database.  The database named "Submit" was a recent submission to a temple to have ordinance work done.  The database named "Browning" was his last project he began just months prior to his death and was an attempt to help me with a section of the NEEL book I have published with the late Charles Wayne Neel.  I incorporated this information into my project, proofread, and updated it.

Now, all that is left is to describe the seven databases of interest to family members.  The first is "Old_mck," 2,154 names, (reference A, below)  -- I named it that because it appears that it got too big and had to be split into the two databases Uncle Jim named: "Wm_h_mck" and "Dalton."  "Old_mck" includes all of the ancestors of Harrison McKnight.  It also includes the descendants of William H. McKnight and Sarah Vilate Dalton as transcribed from the 1980 book of the Descendants of James McKnight.  This makes it the most complete database for the descendants, even including some of Eva England's genealogy (I did not find any database to include the Cotterell family).

The database named "Wm_h_mck," 561 names, (reference B, below) includes all the ancestors of Willam H. McKnight.  It also includes the descendants of Harrison McKnight and Myrtle Parker but is not so thorough as to include parents of descendants' spouses like "Old_mck" does.  The ancestral portion of this database was used to produce Uncle Jim's 1991 book: James McKnight and His Antecedents in Scotland.

The database named "Dalton," 1,546 names (reference C, below), includes all the ancestors of Sarah Vilate Dalton but does not repeat the descendants.  It appears that the ancestral portion of this database was used to produce Uncle Jim's 1991 book: William Howell McKnight and Sarah Vilate Dalton McKnight.

The database named "Mck_book," 2,050 names, (reference D, below) is a complete transcription of the 1980 book: The James (1) McKnight Families In America, except that it does not include the descendants of William Howell McKnight -- that part of the transcription is found in "Old_mck."

The database named "Parker," 1,688 names (reference E, below), contains all the ancestors of Joseph William Parker and the descendants of he and Margaret Jane Neel.  For the descendants of Myrtle and Harrison McKnight, it appears to be the most complete of any except for "Old_mck."

The database named "Neel," 362 names (reference F, below), gives the ancestry of Margaret Jane Neel and three generations of descendants of Tipton Smith Neel and Julia Ann Baird.  This and the Parker database seem to go with Uncle Jim's 1991 book:  Harrison McKnight and Myrtle Parker McKnight with her Parker and Neel Ancestors.

The last of the databases is named "Royalty," 4,819 names (reference G, below).  It was probably a late compilation of Uncle Jim’s.  It contains all the ancestry of both Harrison McKnight and Myrtle Parker including the sometimes sketchy connections to ancient royal families.  It also includes the descendants of Harrison and Myrtle.  At first glance this appears to be the ideal universal database, but the style is different (i.e., using some LDS blessings for christenings), it follows only the primary ancestral and descendant lines and has many details missing.  This database may not have been used much by Uncle Jim (it was probably too large for his home computer to handle).  It may be the copy given to him by his nephew William Ray McKnight, or he may have pieced it together from LDS-collected GEDCOM files.

After that lengthy explanation, this may still be difficult to visualize.  To be of more specific assistance, I have prepared the following index of principle people found in these databases with their ancestors and descendants. This index can be used as a quick reference to find the genealogy of a family or individual.  The database reference letters are:

            A         Old_mck 
            B         Wm_h_mck 
            C         Dalton 
            D         Mck_book 
            E         Parker 
            F          Neel 
            G         Royalty

Anderson, Ernest (Millie May Neel) descendants (partial listing) F 
Baird, Julia Ann and ancestors F, G 
Baird, Julia Ann (Tipton Smith) descendants (3 generations) F 
Dalton, Charles Wakeman and ancestors A, C, G 
Dalton, Sarah Vilate A, B, C, D, G 
Dalton, Sarah Vilate ancestors C 
Dalton, Sarah Vilate (McKnight, William Howell) descendants A 
England, Eva A, C, G 
England, Eva (Harrison McKnight ) descendants A, G 
Howell, Sarah A, B, D, G 
Howell, Sarah ancestors A, B, D, G 
Howell, Sarah (James McKnight) descendants Combine A+D 
Lee, Sarah Jane and ancestors A, C, G 
McKnight, Harrison A, B, C, E, F, G 
McKnight, Harrison ancestors A, G 
McKnight, Harrison & Myrtle Parker ancestors G 
McKnight, Harrison (Myrtle Parker) descendants A, B, E, G 
McKnight, James A, B, D, G 
McKnight, James ancestors A, B, D, G 
McKnight, James (Sarah Howell) descendants Combine A+D 
McKnight, William Howell A, B, C, D, G 
McKnight, William Howell ancestors A, B, G 
McKnight, William Howell (Sarah Vilate Dalton) descendants A 
Neel, Margaret Jane E, F, G 
Neel, Margaret Jane ancestors F, G 
Neel, Margaret Jane (Joseph William Parker) descendants E 
Neel, Millie May (Ernest Anderson) descendants (partial listing) F 
Neel, Tipton Smith and ancestors F, G 
Neel, Tipton Smith (Julia Ann Baird) descendants (3 generations) F 
Parker, Joseph Faulkner and ancestors E, G 
Parker, Joseph William E, F, G 
Parker, Joseph William ancestors E, G 
Parker, Joseph William (Margaret Jane Neel) descendants E 
Parker, Myrtle A, B, C, E, F, G 
Parker, Myrtle ancestors G 
Parker, Myrtle & Harrison McKnight ancestors G 
Parker, Myrtle (Harrison McKnight) descendants A, B, E, G 
Ross, Mary Elizabeth and ancestors E, G