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08 June 2015

Reminder That We Have Moved!

Future tips will be posted on Genealogy Tip of the Day at http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com. WordPress gives me more flexibility as a blogger and allows for easier interaction with readers, fans, and followers on the blog. To continue receiving the tips, you'll need to subscribe on that web address.



Thanks for your support!

02 June 2015

Genealogy Tip of the Day Has Moved!

Today's tip was the last one that we're posting on the Blogger site. Future tips will be posted on Genealogy Tip of the Day at http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com. WordPress gives me more flexibility as a blogger and allows for easier interaction with readers, fans, and followers on the blog. To continue receiving the tips, you'll need to subscribe on that web address. 

Thanks for your support!

How Easy Was It For Your Ancestor to Move?

Some ancestors are more "portable" than others. Their lifestyle, economic status, and occupation can make it easier for them to pick up and move. Stop and think about how easy or difficult it would have been for your relative to simply move.

And if they did move, what records might they have left behind as a part of the moving process? Would there be records documenting the move? Land records may reference a new residence for an ancestor, especially if the sale of property was finalized after the move had taken place.

Rootdig.com Has Moved

My genealogy blog, Rootdig.com, has moved to http://rootdig.genealogytipoftheday.com.

Future postings will be made at that site. If you were subscribed to get emails with Rootdig.com postings, please visit the new site and follow the subscription links.

01 June 2015

Are You Filling In the Holes?

One of the reasons for creating ancestral chronologies is so that gaps in time can be noticed more easily. Are there fifteen years in your ancestor's life for which you cannot account? Are you certain the ancestor is where you think they are during that time?
Or were they somewhere else?
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Don't forget that Genealogy Tip of the Day is moving from the blogspot server tohttp://www.genealogytipoftheday.com. Visit there and follow the "subscribe" link to continue getting tips. 

A Reminder: We've Moved

In case you missed the first announcement:

Genealogy Tip of the Day will no longer be posted to our site on Blogger.com.

Effective today our postings will be posted on

http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com/

You will need to subscribe using the "subscribe" link on that site. Your email address will not be shared, sold, or traded.

Thanks for your support of Genealogy Tip of the Day.

Classes, Webinars, and Back Issues

We are excited about the following events. Join us virtually and grow your genealogy skills this summer.
Join us!

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Don't forget that Genealogy Tip of the Day is moving from the blogspot server to http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com. Visit there and follow the "subscribe" link to continue getting tips. 

31 May 2015

Genealogy Tip of the Day Is Moving!

Genealogy Tip of the Day will no longer be posted to our site on Blogger.com.

Effective today our postings will be posted on

http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com/

You will need to subscribe using the "subscribe" link on that site. Your email address will not be shared, sold, or traded.

Thanks for your support of Genealogy Tip of the Day.

My Blogs

I currently maintain the following genealogy blogs:


Check them out--each can be subscribed to for free using the email box on the right hand side of the page.

Was the License Returned?

If you've located an entry in local marriage records that a license was issued for your ancestor, have you determined if the license was returned? The issuance of a license means only that a license was issued and that a couple was intending to get married.
Usually cancelled licenses are returned and "cancelled" is written somewhere on or near the entry in the record indicating the license was issued. But not always. Sometimes they are just not returned.
Sometimes licenses that are used are not returned by the officiant, even if the marriage took place.
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Don't forget to visit our new site http://www.genealogytipoftheday.com and subscribe to the new email list there. The old list on the blogspot.com site will be discontinued on 3 June.

30 May 2015

The Probable Informant

Some documents clearly state who was the informant. Many though do not provide this information. When considering the accuracy of information on any document, consider the probable informant and how likely they were to know the information being provided.

29 May 2015

Lines over Letters

If you see a straight line over a letter in an original document, consider the possibility that it could be shorthand to indicate that the letter was doubled--see this post for an example.

June Webinars

We still have openings in our webinars next week. Topics are:

War of 1812 Pensions at Fold3.com-these are free on their site.

Using Colonial Land Patents at the Library of Virginia website-these images are free on the website.

Library of Congress online digital newspapers--free on their site.

Using local land records online at FamilySearch. Not all of these are online, but we will discuss how to use the ones that are.

There are more details in our original blog post.

28 May 2015

Are You Familiar With the Records You Are Using?

When using a record set with which you are not familiar, think about how someone gets into the record, how the  information in the record is obtained, how the record is organized, and how the original  record got from its original state to you.

All if these issues get to how we use and analyze the information contained in the record.

27 May 2015

Bothering With a Brother's Baptism

Reading the German language records was difficult and I almost didn't bother obtaining copies of the baptismal entries for the siblings of John George Trautvetter who was born in 1798.

And there in the entry for one of John George's brother was the indication that their father's brother was the sponsor.

A helpful hint in this case where knowing as many relationships as possible is necessary because every family had a George and a Michael and every son's first name was Johann.

Don't neglect those ancestral siblings.

26 May 2015

Have Your Own Personal Copy

I'm a member of subscription sites that allow me to create links to images on their sites that requires me to have a subscription to access.

I don't link to the images that are behind the "pay wall." I download images of records that I need to my own media so that I always a copy of the image for personal use.

That way, if something ever happens or I don't have access to the site any longer--I still have digital copies of the images I used. 

25 May 2015

Served From a Nearby State

Many men who served in the United States Civil War did not enlist in the state where they resided. For a variety of reasons a man may have enlisted in a unit from a neighboring state. Usually it was to help the state where he enlisted meet it's quota.

But don't dismiss a potential reference to your soldier ancestor simply because he's from the "wrong" state.

20% off webinar sale ends today!

Memorial Day 20% Sale

If you missed our 20% off sale, it's back on for Memorial Day and before the old inventory is physically removed from the host site at the end of the month. Download now and view the presentation as many times as you want.

Over thirty topics--easy to follow and easy to understand.

View the complete list and order here.

24 May 2015

What's Your Favorite Genealogy Tip?

While there are many tips that are helpful, I think that "looking at your assumptions" is the best one. Genealogists have to assume about many things when they research-and that's normal. But when we forget that those assumptions are assumptions, we can create difficulties for ourselves.

What's your favorite genealogy tip?

20% off webinar sale back on for Memorial Day

Memorial Day 20% Sale

If you missed our 20% off sale, it's back on for Memorial Day and before the old inventory is physically removed from the host site at the end of the month. Download now and view the presentation as many times as you want.

Over thirty topics--easy to follow and easy to understand.

View the complete list and order here.

Review What You Think

Years ago, I used a series of records. I didn't find my relatives in them and made some incorrect conclusions about how the records were organized and what time period they covered.

Twenty years later, on a whim I searched them again.

Knowing more about records and research, I found some of my relatives in the records.

Did you make assumptions about records early in your research...and would it be worth your while to revisit those records and assumptions?

23 May 2015

How Did That Impact Your Family?

I discovered today that an ancestor of mine died when he had barely been married five years, leaving behind a wife and three children. This obviously caused a big change in her life in 1837. Did she move back to the nearby village where she was from? Did she marry again and have more children?


All are things I need to think about in my research strategy to locate the ancestor after her husband's death.

22 May 2015

Contextual Clues Mean It's Not a Part of a Name

The middle entry on this page of 1838 baptisms from Aurich, Germany contains the entry for my ancestor.

The fourth column contains the names of the sponsors. When I was trying to analyze the entry for my relative I thought the symbol in the middle red circle on the image were a part of the entry.

Then I looked at the other two entries on the image I made and realized that the items in the circle were partially used to number each entry and were not a part of the names of the sponsors.

If I had only copied the entry for my ancestor and not other entries on the same page, I might have missed that.

Don't copy only the entry of interest on a page like this. Copy other entries on the same page.

You can't made comparisons if you don't.

Check Hours Before Your Trip

If you are planning a research trip to any facility, confirm their hours of operation during your time in the locality. Genealogical and historical society libraries are often run by volunteers and hours may vary with the time of the year.

And while you're preparing, make certain what the facility's policy is regarding the use of digital cameras.

21 May 2015

It's a Baby Not My Daddy

Years ago researchers were told that there was an 1862 burial for a John H. Johnson in a cemetery near where their ancestor with that name lived. They assumed it was the ancestor buried there. When contacting the sexton for additional information, a later researcher was told that the John H. Johnson burial was actually an infant burial for someone with that name. The earlier researchers had just asked if John H. Johnson was buried in the cemetery and were told that he was along with the date of burial. They assumed it was their ancestor.

Sometimes people only answer what you ask.

Sometimes people assume what's not clearly stated on the record.

And it never hurts to ask for additional clarification.

Webinars: Local Land Records, War of 1812, Virginia Land Patents, LOC Newspapers

We are excited to offer a series of new webinars in June 2015. Registration is limited and early registration is encouraged to save your spot. Topics are:

  • Local Land Records Online at FamilySearch
  • War of 1812 Pensions at Fold3.com
  • Virginia Land Patents at the Library of Virginia
  • Library of Congress Newspapers

20 May 2015

For Tomorrow May Never Come: Newspaper Items from a Distance

Newspaper items mentioning your ancestor may appear a distance from where he lived, particularly if the event is somehow newsworthy.

This 1937 clipping came from a Hammond, Indiana, newspaper and referenced the death in Quincy, Illinois, of John Trautvetter.

Trautvetter's toast "for tomorrow may never come" was apparently a headline generated some newspapers just could not resist.

19 May 2015

Names Out of Order?

If your ancestor had a first, middle, and last name, keep in mind that it is possible that those names could be in the wrong order in a record. If the names are in the wrong order on the record, then the ancestor will appear in the index under the wrong "last name."

If the index does not include the last name of interest, consider searching for that relative with their first or middle name as their last name.

An Offer From Our Sponsor

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Take a look at their special subscription offer for Genealogy Tip of the Day fans and followers.

18 May 2015

No Relationships before 1880

In pre-1880 United States census records, the relationship of each person to the head of household is not given. Do not assume that the census entry is husband, wife, and their joint biological children. The family structure may not be that straightforward.

17 May 2015

Reasonably Doubting Genealogical Proof

A Facebook fan of Genealogy Tip of the Day asked whether beyond reasonable doubt is the level genealogists want to reach. Here's my short response:

Beyond reasonable doubt is usually too high a bar for genealogical researchers to cross. Preponderance of the evidence and reasonable suspicion are usually a little too low of a threshold--genealogists need to be a little more certain than that. The closest usual level suggested for genealogical proof is "clear and convincing" which would be a stronger  case than a preponderance of the evidence but not as strong as beyond reasonable doubt.

In actuality, genealogists usually don't use these legal terms to describe genealogical proof. At its simplest, genealogical proof is searching all extant relevant records, extracting relevant information from those records, and organizing that information in a way that makes the researcher's conclusion clear. The organization and writing is the proof. The information obtained from records and used in the proof is the evidence.




16 May 2015

One Record Is Not Proof

It's hard to boil down genealogical "proof" into one short tip of the day, but one document by itself is usually not considered "proof" of anything. One document may contain evidence in support of a conclusion, but it's important to remember that any one document can easily be incorrect.

Proof, in the genealogical sense, is usually considered to be the written summary of the conclusion that is reached when a body of evidence (statements taken from individual documents) have been analyzed.

20% Webinar Sale

The site that hosts my webinars has told me that I need to remove some because I have maxed out my space. Increasing my space means increasing my monthly fee which I don't want to do. I need to remove some in order to make room for new presentations.

So....before I remove any from the list of available presentations....

We're offering readers a chance to order and download whatever webinars they want at 20% off (with a purchase over $20). Downloads are immediate and can be viewed as many times as you want.

Deadline to order is 17 May at 11:50 pm. central.

The order page (and coupon code) is here.

Don't wait!




15 May 2015

Indexes Are Usually Finding Aids

Indexes are generally only used to get the researcher to the record that was used to create the index. A recent posting to Rootdig.com makes it clear why indexes should not be used as records when the originals are easily available. 

There is always the chance that the indexer made a mistake or that there is more on the record than is in the index. If the originals are gone as sometimes is the case, then the index is all we have. And occasionally an indexer will add information to the index that's not in the original record. 

But no matter the situation, you should at least ask yourself:

how do I find the record that this index indexes?

Failing to ask that question could be your problem.

14 May 2015

Is There Another Digital Scan?

Genealogists use digital scans of out of copyright books all the time. If the scan you have located online has pages or areas that are difficult to read, consider that another site may have scanned a different copy or the book or used a different scanning process.

It may also be necessary to see if a library can make a photocopy of that "bad page."