How I started studying Rader/Roeder/Rotter families in the 80s

My study of the Rader or should I say my Rader ancestry began with a question from one of my nieces. Where do we come from? And I naïvely said I should be able to figure that out. It’s now been 30 years and I still don’t know where Casper Rader came from!

So where did I actually start and what did I do to get to the current point. I first started asking relatives family members and others where did my family come from.? After talking to my father’s sister multiple times she said “oh you don’t know that we came from Greenville Tennessee”. And furthermore there is a living cousin back there who is studying the family.

With that I contacted Margaret Rader from Greenville Tennessee. She liked to tell the story of her father’s calling her whenever a stranger came into town asking about Rader’s. He would say “sister go get your book” her book was a three-ring binder about 3 inches in size with what we call family group sheets and it. After she provided me a copy of her family group sheets I then started looking for a computer program to manage this data with.

In the early 1988 Roots III was the first database program I used followed by many others over the years. As I started entering the data I received from Margaret it became obvious that the names of the people were not unique. There are many John’s and Henry’s and Williams and many of them born the same time period. And it became very difficult to separate them and keep straight which one was on which tree. And the data wasn’t real complete so we weren’t sure how many trees there were.

Over the years that followed I attempted to create a complete database of all people who used the name Rader in the world. When they 1880 US Census became available on CD I extracted all of the Rader families in that Census and entered them in my database. I also harvested many databases from the roots web website and added them to my database. And by using the duplicates tool on the software I was able to merge people who I had found in more than one place. But I was still unable to tell whether I had the Raders from before the Civil War in Greene County Tennessee.

So at this point I started looking at land records and probate records try to figure out which John Rader was belonged to which family. In 2003 I hired a local researcher from Greene County Tennessee to map all of the deeds on quad maps so we could figure out where they were in Greene County. That also helped separate them and collect them properly.

In an attempt to get more people involved I started publishing the material I had collected. That effort culminated with the publishing in 1995 of my multi-volume work- “Second Attempt to collect ALL of the Roder, Reader, Raeder, ROder, Roeder, Ritter families in America”. I also loaded most of this genealogy on most of the on line databases. Over the years since then I’ve added to the database and corrected many things that were duplicates and errors in the database. Also use tools like to add siblings and other family members. I included my other great great great grandparents and also included all of their descendants of that effort to find living cousin’s. A database today has over 100,000 people in it.

In the year 2002 I took my first DNA test. And as I attempted to understand the use of the DNA as a tool for genealogy I took many more tests. I have been taking DNA tests for 14 years now and over 25 different test with many different companies.

2 thoughts on “How I started studying Rader/Roeder/Rotter families in the 80s”

  1. I am a Rader descendant, who is also compiling ancestry for my Mother, born Rader. Where can I obtain any of your information?

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