09 November 2009
One approach is to try the names of an ancestral couple, either complete names or first and last names, using the maiden name for the wife.
Johann Ufkes Noentje Grass
Enoch Tinsley Nancy Dunaway
Might be worth a shot.
08 November 2009
07 November 2009
06 November 2009
Don't search for warrants in the state where your ancestor lived. I just located two "new" War of 1812 ancestors who had warrants issued in states where they never lived.
And if you don't know what warrants and patents are, read the FAQ section of the BLM site.
05 November 2009
04 November 2009
03 November 2009
02 November 2009
01 November 2009
31 October 2009
30 October 2009
- $50 deposit--with balance due by 15 December--refundable if your plans change.
- $150 complete total balance--refundable up to 1 March 2010 if your plans change.
Registrants are responsible for travel to Salt Lake and accomodations while in Salt Lake. We have a discounted rate with the Salt Lake Plaza hotel--RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Family History Libary. Very convenient for when you've forgotten something or you need a little rest.
29 October 2009
28 October 2009
27 October 2009
Sometimes just organizing things in a different way makes things stand out that you didn't notice before.
26 October 2009
Of course, the occasional typo is one thing (which can easily be avoided in most programs by the way), but if the database I find has some of these spellings:
- Hartford County, Maryland
- Amhurst County, Virginia
- Schuler County, Illinois
then I am a little worried about the rest of the data. Call me persnickity, but genealogy is about details. If place names that are established and standard (as these are) are not spelled correctly, how certain can I be that names, dates, and relationships are entered in the way they should be?
I'm not talking about someone trying to read the name of a German town on a nearly illegible death certificate--that's something different altogether.
25 October 2009
24 October 2009
Think about what really HAS to be when you research your ancestor. He didn't have to get married to reproduce. He didn't have to name his oldest son after his father. He didn't have to get married near where his first child was born. He didn't have to have a relative witness every document wrote. There are few "have tos" in genealogy. Make certain you aren't using "have tos" to make brick walls for yourself.
23 October 2009
22 October 2009
21 October 2009
- the site is incomplete for several western states
- patents represent federal land records only--the local courthouse has subsequent transactions which likely contain more information
- cash file entries contain minimal information unless there is something unusual about the transaction--the claimant died during the process, was actually filing a pre-emption claim etc.
And if you don't know your township from your section, read their FAQ first. The website is at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov
20 October 2009
Some days I even wonder if it's worth my time to contact someone whose database contains more than several thousand names.
I've gotten some clues from the online trees, but do not use what you see there as anything other than a hint of a suggestion.
19 October 2009
Had I read a basic Virginia guidebook or research outline, I would have been aware of them. Now familiarizing myself with the basic sources in a new area is one of the first things that I do.
18 October 2009
17 October 2009
16 October 2009
15 October 2009
Tomorrow we'll be back offering one tip a day--so stay tuned or become a fan on Facebook.
Really neat stuff here.
14 October 2009
At the time relative filed his homestead/preemption claim in 1887 his land was in Elbert County, Colorado. Today it is in Kit Carson County, which is what it was when his claim was finally approved.
Just remember that those county lines might have changed.
13 October 2009
Consider organizing census information in a chart or a table, using a spreadsheet or a table in a word processing document.
Take the twenty names before and after your ancestor in the 1800-1830 census and put all of them in a table? How many names (besides your ancestor) do you see repeated? Are these names possible clues?
12 October 2009
Her husband's obituary was a different story. It was full of information on his children (some of whom were by a different wife) and other details about him that might help me locate more information about the wife.
Don't neglect those spouses of ancestral siblings. Their records may contain just the clue you need.
11 October 2009
And there he was in the estate records two times. How can you die twice and have two estates?
Turns out for the time period in question, insanity cases were filed with the probate and estate records. It was two insanity cases I had located for him, not probate cases. If I had never looked in estate files, I never would have found out information about his insanity hearings.
10 October 2009
A search for John Rucker Orange Virginia located several like references to my ancestor, including one in The Colonial Churches of St. Thomas' Parish, Orange County, Virginia. I might have eventually found the reference, but Google Books made it faster.
09 October 2009
The relative of the cousin received the file from the National Archives years ago. I wondered if the National Archives had sent her the entire file as it looked like the original copies were made in the days when mail in requests were for "selected documents."
Turns out there was at least one page the relative was not sent. In this case, the missing document was not a "huge" discovery, but sometimes it can be.
Those who subscribe by Saturday midnight (10 October 2009) will get back issues 1-10 and have their subscription to the weekly how-to newsletter start with issue 11. More information on Casefile Clues is on the website and subscription information is as well. A Paypal account is not necessary (you just need a credit card). Those who wish to use other payment options can email me at email@example.com for that information.
08 October 2009
One of the records mentioned was his 1900 census enumeration. I had originally looked at it years ago, probably when I was 14 or 15 years of age. I had seen it several times in the interim and really hadn't given it a lot of thought.
A reader pointed out that part of his census entry looked like it was in a different hand and perhaps had an item written in it after the census taker had made his enumeration. I'm not certain what was going on with the entry, but it makes a good point that perhaps something you've seen several times over several years may contain an anomaly that you may never have noticed.
Is there something you first looked at years ago that perhaps warrants a second look?
07 October 2009
Of course, if you have a blog, you can always post images there as well. Then let members of an appropriate mailing list or message board know where your post is located.
Someone reading the actual image can do a better job of interpreting that than trying guess what really was on that paper you have.
06 October 2009
Our laptop is on the fritz and my daughter wanted to use the desktop. I was forced to read some homestead case files without the internet and email as a distraction.
And guess what?
I noticed three things I had not noticed the first time I read through the papers. The first time I had read them while I was "waiting" on webpages or search results to load.
Is multitasking your problem? Would you notice more details in a record or a file if it had your complete attention?
05 October 2009
While citing my sources for an issue of "Casefile Clues," I reviewed an illustration for an article I wrote years ago and which I have used in countless lectures. When footnoting one of the items used to compile the chart, I realized that I had a marriage year listed two years off. It was clearly just a typo and did not impact my conclusion, but it was still wrong.
Could you have made a mistake or typed something incorrectly? Is it possible that the mistake has an impact on a conclusion?
Just a thought. It could happen to anyone. After all, we are human (grin!).
04 October 2009
Do you really know who provided that information? Did the bride give some of the groom's information? Did the groom provide some of the groom's information? Did the wife in a 1900 census enumeration simply guess at where her in-laws were born? Very possible.
And since most of us were not there when our great-grandparents' wedding or when the 1900 census was taken, the only thing we can do is conjecture about who answered those questions.
Is the informant the problem?
03 October 2009
If my daughter tells someone her date of birth, she is a secondary source of that date. She has no first hand knowledge of her date of birth.
If I tell someone that today is my daughter's 21st birthday (which it isn't, but pretend that it is), is that secondary? I was present at the birth, but if I say it or write it down 21 years later is that record primary or secondary? If I write it down with a month of her birth, that probably would be considered primary. But what about 21 years after the fact, even if I had first hand knowledge of the event?
02 October 2009
It takes less time to create the citation and documentation as the research is done instead of months or years later. And saving time allows for more research time.
01 October 2009
But they do not have everything.
There are millions of documents and records that have never been microfilmed or digitized. These documents are in many locations, but most of these are in local county courthouses. You might be surpised what court records are there in addition to other local records that have not been microfilmed.
This is true even for counties that have been heavily "filmed."
30 September 2009
However, if you ancestor had a skilled trade, he might have been able to move more quickly, assuming he could find work.
And your day laborer ancestor (like a few of mine), might have moved all the time.
Think about your ancestor's job, career, or employment and how easily it might have been for him to be portable.
29 September 2009
A death certificate, a tombstone, and an obituary may all provide the same date of birth. The reason most likely is because the informant was the same person.
And doctors even give wrong dates of birth. It does happen.
28 September 2009
Since I've been gluten free for two years, a good ol' pastry was the first thing that popped in my mind. What the poster meant was the older style of the Danish language and handwriting.
In this case, the first guess just might have been because I have an odd sense of humor.
But have you guessed at something and has your first guess been wrong?
27 September 2009
There's more information on Casefile Clues on our sister website.
And we'll be getting back to more tips!
Might be the trick to finding him.
26 September 2009
Assumptions are not necessarily wrong. You just need to remember that you made them and determine what your reason was for making them.
25 September 2009
Consider writing up one of your ancestors or families you've "finished" or think you are reasonably close to finishing. Write it and explain your reasoning and methodology. I virtually guarantee you that in the writing you will notice something you neglected to do, an assumption that you think now might not be correct, or an error in your reasoning.
And if you don't, then get it published!
Since I've been writing Casefile Clues I have really noticed a few things of this kind in my own research and it's forced me to pick up the loose ends, organize, etc. Even if you have no intention of publishing, putting it together as if you are can be a very good thing.
24 September 2009
Have you looked at EVERYTHING in the area where your immigrant ancestor settled? Everything means everything, even things you think might not help. You never know what a document will say until you look at it. Clues can be in the most unexpected of sources sometimes.
Then research his or her children completely as they might have left clues as to their parents' origins.
Don't start your German/English/Ireland research the minute you learn your ancestor was German/English/Irish. Do your complete homework first.
23 September 2009
How many different page numbers are written on the census page/image?
An 1810 census entry from Bourbon County, Kentucky indicated three sets of page numbers. One was stamped, one was written in ink (apparently) and another looked like it was written in pencil. And sometimes the page numbers are one every other "page."
22 September 2009
21 September 2009
20 September 2009
Church records are especially notorious for this, especially in the days when records were kept in ledgers without printed forms. To keep track of where you got it, at least indicate the year of the record and what type of record it was (christenings, funerals, marriages, etc.). The name of the church and the location should also be included as a part of your source, but the year and type of record are essential to know where you got the information.
19 September 2009
Before discussing how to cite a specific type of record, Mills briefly discusses that record, providing a wonderful overview. While Mills' book is not for the new genealogist, this not-so-new genealogist finds its discussion of sources an excellent quick review and primer when I need reminding.
And then there is the other 80% of the book, which is about citati
18 September 2009
Remember that there are millions of documents in courthouses, archives, etc. that only exist on paper. Is the answer to your question written on a piece of paper that you or someone else will have to actually see face to face to get a copy of it?
Not everything is on film or on computer.
17 September 2009
To order the files direct from the National Archives would have cost me $320. I hired a researcher to go to the Archives and copy the files for me. Her fee was approximately 1/4 of what the archives would have charged me.
Is it possible that hiring someone at the remote record site is the way to go?
16 September 2009
Des Moines, Iowa, is not located in Des Moines County, Iowa.
Keokuk, Iowa, is not located in Keokuk County, Iowa.
It's not just an Iowa thing. This can happen anywhere. Make certain your place descriptions are complete and not misleading. I always use the word "county" just to keep things clear.
15 September 2009
Federal land states are those where the original "seller" on the first deed was the federal government. Usually areas settled after the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, but not always.
State land states usually describe their land in metes and bounds. Federal land states usually use base lines and meridians.
14 September 2009
In both cases, that's not what happened.
In the case of my ancestor, her father was a "windmill mechanic" and moved occasionally for his work. In the other case, the bride was working as a hired girl in the village where the groom was born and raised.
Sometimes romantic visions of our ancestors need to discarded. It makes for good fiction, but not necessarily good genealogy. And oftentimes the real story is more interesting anyway.
13 September 2009
If Johann gives his farm to "his now wife and after her death to my children," it means his wife at the time the will was written. This was done to see to it that if this wife died and the testator remarried that the children and not the current wife inherited the property. Without the word "now," "wife" is vague. "Now wife" was done to clear things up, but it has confused many genealogists.
12 September 2009
Keep in mind that these patterns are trends and social customs that your ancestor might have followed. They are not law.
Your ancestor does not have to follow any of these "social mores." What your ancestor does have to do is:
- Figure out how to get born.
- Figure out how to get married (or at least reproduce)
- Leave behind at least one record
Dying usually happens whether your ancestor planned for it or not.
11 September 2009
It is possible that his siblings might have known what happened to him and passed that information down. My answer to where William Frame Apgar went might rest in the descendants of his siblings.
10 September 2009
09 September 2009
Even if you think you know, you might not.
I grew up on a farm, but farm life when I grew up was different from when my father did (we never had horses for one), and it was certainly different from when my great-great-grandparents were farming. The first time I read of a "stationary baler" in a pension file, I did not know what it was. Hay balers, as far as I were concerned, were never stationary. Then it dawned on me, in 1900, they would have taken the hay to the baler. Hence the term, stationary baler.
If you read the term "stationary baler" as an item in a 1900 era probate file would you even have known what it was? Sometimes google helps with these things and sometimes it doesn't.
08 September 2009
Give back just a little and help someone else out. You never know when you may be in a position to need help.
And sometimes when thinking about someone else's problem, you have an idea about your own. That may be a selfish reason to help, but sometimes it really happens.
07 September 2009
06 September 2009
I'm not certain why and I'm not even certain she actually gave the information.
Remember, her husband was there too and it is possible that he gave information on his wife. I wasn't there when great-grandma got married to witness the giving of the information. The form doesn't really say WHO provided WHAT.
Keep that in mind.
It will happen. Think about how something could get misfiled when you cannot find it in the place where it is "supposed" to be.
05 September 2009
04 September 2009
- the local dump
- the family of the last minister
- a local church of the same denomination
- a regional or national church organization, synod, assembly, diocese, etc.
03 September 2009
The small town they were in only had two churches. Neither was of the desired denomination. The Presbyterian church was "closest," so that was it.
It is possible that necessity caused your ancestor to attend (and leave records at) a church other than the one you think he always attended?
02 September 2009
I had to spell it three times before he understood--and it was only five letters--Ufkes.
Chances are your ancestor was not asked to spell the information he provided on a record. And if you think he did spell it to the clerk, how can you really be certain? After all, you weren't there when the clerk ask great-great-grandfather for the information on his marriage.
And if you were there---there were a lot of questions that I bet you wish you asked ;-)
01 September 2009
Keep in mind that on many records where our ancestors provided information on themselves that they were not actually asked for proof. The clerk just wrote down what they gave.
My own Grandma, who would have been 99 today, always gave the same place as her place of birth. Problem is, her birth certificate and other contemporary records give a different location. Grandma just had a misconception about where she was born.
Sometimes errors are actually mistakes, not intentional lies.
31 August 2009
If you have a date of birth, death, or marriage for an ancestor, you had to get it from somewhere. Sources should be cited. If the date is an approximation from an age at death, state so.
If birth date is an approximation based on the marriage date, indicate that.
Just don't drop dates in willy-nilly without a source.
And if you don't know where you got your prom date, well that's another story entirely.
30 August 2009
If there is something at a library or archives that confuses you or you do not understand, ask. Staff can usually help you operate the equipment.
If it is a record or document they cannot help you with, it might be because it is unusual and something with which they are unfamiliar. In that case, consider asking the question on a genealogy mailing list or at your local genealogical society meeting. Someone there probably can help you or point you to someone who can.
29 August 2009
28 August 2009
27 August 2009
If you have any academic libraries nearby, ask them the same thing.
Or check out their webpages. You may have access to more information than you think.
26 August 2009
Googling "tumway iowa" told me that it wasn't probably "tumway" at all. A search for "tumway iowa" resulted in references to Ottumwa, Iowa. I should have thought of that. If the gazeteers don't bring the desired results, try Google.
25 August 2009
The images are not free, but the data is.
Ancestry.com's data came from FamilySearch with corrections, etc. entered by users--there is a difference, but not a "complete" difference.
And the search interfaces are not the same either. If you cannot find them in one, try the other.
24 August 2009
23 August 2009
The lady I was researching died in 1914 and was listed as a widow. I didn't look at the death certificate for a man with the same last name who also died in 1914, thinking it could not be her husband.
Turns out is was. They died 4 days apart. Don't assume anything. Being listed as a widow only means her husband died before her. It could have been 2 days or 20 years.
22 August 2009
Maybe I had better wait until I get the obituaries and estate records of the parents. Those may provide me with enough clues to find the children in census records and make certain I have the correct ones.
21 August 2009
Might be worth a try if you had extended family in Iowa in 1925.
They asked where the parents were married too!
20 August 2009
The census copy that was microfilmed, and eventually digitized, was the "clean" copy that was written by the census taker after he finished taking the census. He used his field notes to make the good copy that we use today.
Any chance there was something in his field notes he couldn't read? And what was the chance that he went down and asked for clarification on an age or place of birth?
19 August 2009
I'm working on a person now who was in Iowa in 1856, Missouri in 1860, Iowa in 1870-1895, Missouri in 1900, Wyoming in 1910 and in Missouri in 1912.
Oh, and she was born in either New York state or Canada.
18 August 2009
More tips are coming.
Occasionally reviewing information is always an excellent idea and a birthday calendar may be just the way to do it.
17 August 2009
16 August 2009
Point your browser to http://www.usgenweb.org
and take a look at your states and counties today. There may be something new there.
15 August 2009
to get the codes. Knowing which variant spellings are soundex equivalents will save you search time.
14 August 2009
I have several families in my own research where the remarriage of the mother complicated the research. Some will be featured in upcoming columns of "Casefile Clues."
13 August 2009
Two things come to mind. His name really wasn't "changed." It was translated. Andreas is Latin and Andrew is English.
The second is that if his name changed, it likely was when he naturalized, not when he landed. Changings at landings were rare--your paperwork had to match or there could be issues, especially in the mid-19th century and after.
12 August 2009
The images can be seen on our site.
If "Tip of the Day Readers" subscribe in the next 24 hours, I'll send this past weekend's article to them. Simply mention that you are a "tip of the day reader" when you subscribe or mention it in an email to me.
The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress (http://memory.loc.gov) has scans of maps, religious petitions, early eighteenth century books on immigration, and much much more. Take a look for yourself.
And if you didn't see any railroad maps on the site, there are here: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/rrhtml/rrhome.html
11 August 2009
Actually she was correct. For reasons that are not clear, Grandma was baptized at the age of five along with several of her siblings. Sure enough she was right. I'll think twice before assuming (without evidence) that she was wrong.
10 August 2009
09 August 2009
08 August 2009
Guardian of the person--watched over the child and the child typically lived with them.
Guardian of the estate--watched over the child's inheritance.
Guardian ad litem--a guardian appointed who was usually a lawyer to represent a child who was somehow involved in court action. A guardian ad litem was actually serving as the child's "lawyer" and was not a guardian of the child's person or estate.
The first two could be the persons or maybe not. Much depends upon the situation.
07 August 2009
Of course, I should still search the parish records page by page for all family members but sometimes there just simply is not time.
Remember there may be more than one way to get at the information you need. Keep your eyes and ears open and ask questions.
In this case, if I decide I need the civil record, I can still order it once I've seen the church record to know I have the right person. In many cases, I don't bother to order to the civil record as those copy charges add up.
06 August 2009
anyone can easily be listed twice in the census.
My Grandma is listed twice in 1930--once with her parents and once in the household where she was "working out."
Her married brother is listed twice as well. Once with his wife in the town where he grew up and once in the town 30 miles away where he and his wife had moved for his job.
Never hurts to look more than once.
And if you think "working out" means exercise, well....it doesn't.
Note: the free access to the 1930 census on Footnote.com is only for the month of August 2009.
05 August 2009
Apparently at the time of these births, between 1900 and 1915, the name was fairly popular. It wasn't all that popular say fifty years earlier and fifty years later, its popularity was waning.
There may be a reason a name "appears out of thin air" in one of your families. Just remember that the name may have no genealogical connection to any other family member. It just might have been in fashion.
04 August 2009
Subscriptions can be made on an annual or quarterly basis. There are no advertisements and email addresses are not sold, shared, rented, etc. On of our goals is to include image illustrations with as many columns as possible. I am working to improve the newsletter and welcome any "Tip of the Day" readers who would like to subscribe. "Tip of the Day" will remain free, but "Casefile Clues" help to offset some of our costs.
A court case may contain the names of several individuals, and yet is only indexed twice--once under the name of the first plaintiff and once under the name of the first defendant.
Because of this, it is imperative to search court indexes for all family members and read those cases that may involve and uncle or aunt. There is a chance that something is in there about your ancestor as well.
03 August 2009
02 August 2009
01 August 2009
31 July 2009
30 July 2009
Readers are encouraged to subscribe to my weekly newsletter "Casefile Clues" which is available via subscription at $15 per year. That turns out to approximately 29 cents a week.
Genealogy Tip of the Day will continue to be free and hosted at http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com. Suggestions for tips can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for all the encouragement.
29 July 2009
28 July 2009
For over ten years, I have written regular columns about my research experience, first for Ancestry and most recently for Dick Eastman. Starting this week, my weekly "how-to" column "Casefile Clues" will be available exclusively through subscription through my website http://www.casefileclues.com/. I am very excited about the move.
Subscribers can expect the same quality and content they have come to expect over the 400 how-to columns I have written. Content focuses on families from many areas and time periods in the United States and several foreign countries. The emphasis is not on the latest "whizbang" technology, but rather on locating, analyzing and interpreting records. Technology is used but it does not overpower the genealogy. We will continue researching the exploits of the various members of the Trautvetter clan, including Philip's world travels, arrest in Boston and his trial in Colorado. Our work on English families will continue, as will our work in land records in metes and bounds in Kentucky and Tennessee, Bureau of Land Management records, and my search for the mental health records of my nineteenth century ancestor. We will also continue our discussion of research strategies both in actual records repositories and via the Family History Library. My children have ancestors in fifteen states and seven European countries and I will continue to explore that ancestry weekly via my column. Readers are welcome to submit suggestions for research ideas to me at email@example.com.
"Casefile Clues" will be published at least weekly, with distribution taking place over the weekend. There may occasionally be additional columns published midweek as well, particularly if some followup is just begging to be written about. "Casefile Clues" readers can expect analysis of documents and research suggestions based upon that document. "Casefile Clues" is not a genealogy "news" ezine. You can find that elsewhere on the internet and I would rather devote my time to research and sharing that research experience with readers. Readers can continue to find Michael's analysis and insight that they have come to expect from his columns. Movement to our own website gives Michael the complete freedom to write about whatever topic he wants when he wants.
"Casefile Clues" is not just about the one record I've found. It is about what the record means and how it was used in order to help researchers get motivated to continue their own research. Annual subscriptions are $15. Subscriptions can also be obtained on a three month basis for $6. Payment can be made through PayPal with major credit cards or check (PayPal account not needed). These methods of payment are preferred, but other arrangements can be made by contacting Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
27 July 2009
26 July 2009
25 July 2009
And if I had a dollar for every time I posted a blog entry without a title.....
24 July 2009
And then get to the research.
23 July 2009
22 July 2009
21 July 2009
20 July 2009
19 July 2009
18 July 2009
17 July 2009
16 July 2009
15 July 2009
14 July 2009
13 July 2009
Remember that at the library there are other researchers. Be considerate of them. I’m fairly patient, but here are a few things that have given me cause for frustration lately:
A gentleman having a cell phone conversation in the library about going fishing. He was yelling into his phone. It was all I could do to concentrate.
Two researchers lamenting the destruction of tombstones in an Alabama town. While I understood his frustration, his twenty minute diatribe about the injustice of it all was highly distracting. I was at the library to actually do research. They could have easily taken their conversation to another area.
Be considerate of your fellow researchers. You may one day be at the library trying to read illegible script when someone sitting next to you is carrying on very loudly about the latest injustice your son-in-law has inflicted on your daughter. While it does sound like he’s a lout, the discussion can be had elsewhere.
12 July 2009
11 July 2009
10 July 2009
09 July 2009
08 July 2009
07 July 2009
06 July 2009
05 July 2009
04 July 2009
03 July 2009
There comes a time when one has to stop and really put together and organize what one has. I have many copies and notes, but I have not put the information into my database where I can see what families I have information on, etc. Not to mention it is all starting to run together.
The research is fun, but every so often you need to stop gathering and start organizing. If for no other reason than to not completely confuse yourself.
02 July 2009
Taliaferro and variants are often pronounced to sound like "toliver"
Beauchamp may have been pronounced to sound like "beecham"
Have you considered pronunciation variants on your last name?
01 July 2009
30 June 2009
However, when the records are unindexed, finding the names of children for whom your ancestor was a godparent is not as easy. It requires manual searching of each entry. But it may be worth it, because the parents of that child could be relatives of your ancestor and provide significant clues to your research.
29 June 2009
- the author's name be listed (Michael John Neill), with a copyright notice.
- the website be listed http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com/
- the tip's date be listed
That's it! Questions can be directed to me at email@example.com.
According to David Rencher of the Family History Library, the online version of the Family History Library Card Catalog is updated every half hour.
I'm not suggesting you search the catalog constantly.......and I'm not really certain I should refer to it as a card catalog either.
28 June 2009
My Ancestry.com subscription lapsed and eventually I will renew it. But now that I don't have 24/7 access to it, I am getting back into records I had ignored for too long and even reviewing my files. And when I do have access to Ancestry.com I make better use of it and am more efficient because I know I don't have it constantly. And frankly some days I spent too much time "randomly" searching on Ancestry and not enough time really researching.
27 June 2009
Reading someone else's diary from the time, even if a complete non-relative, may give you a fresh perspective on your ancestor life and times.
26 June 2009
Census takers and some tax collectors, in an attempt to be helpful, roughly sorted names by the first letter of the last name. The problem for genealogists is that this strips the record of all sense of neighborhood. Keep this in mind when you think all the "B"s in an area lived together. No group of people are that organized.
25 June 2009
This can be a great help in states that do not have marriage records for the time period being researched.
24 June 2009
- Economic concerns--land opportunities, jobs, etc.
- Politics and political unrest
- Family--others in their family had already moved.
- Acquaintances/friends--people in this group had already moved.
- Religion--your ancestor was a part of a religious group that migrated.
There are other reasons, but consider these and ask yourself if you have really looked into these causes. Doing so may provide the answer to your family history puzzle.
23 June 2009
New information is always being made available. Take the time to look. Make a list of sites and visit them regularly. Not obsessively, however (grin!)
22 June 2009
There is more information about the trip on our site at http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html
This discount won't be posted on those pages, email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration brochure with the discounted price or questions.
21 June 2009
20 June 2009
19 June 2009
18 June 2009
Then you could download it and search it for free and make your own CD.
17 June 2009
Of course, I'd be appreciative if readers signed up for the paid version of Eastman's as that includes my weekly "Casefile Clues" column.
16 June 2009
15 June 2009
14 June 2009
My ancestor Peter Bieger died in 1855. He is mentioned by name in a 1906 deed when his grandchildren are signing a quitclaim deed for the property. Fifty-one years after he died.
13 June 2009
Recently I obtained deeds showing how a house and a farm were sold after the owner's died. In both cases, I knew all the vitals on the family. In both cases I understood the records better because I "knew" the family. That helps me understand records later when I don't know the family. Sometimes it is easier to learn about records when the family isn't as foreign to you as the records.
And in one case I learned a few things about the family that were new to me. Another reason to search for everything.
12 June 2009
When a last name is your mother's maiden name, MANY files contain that word. I eventually searched the entire hard drive for files with "ufkes" in the title, but there were MANY that I had to go through. I renamed the file with a more descriptive name "john_ufkes_cancelled_homestead_file"
Are your file names helpful?
11 June 2009
You may make some wonderful discoveries.
10 June 2009
The same is true when asking people questions in an interview. It took me forever to get my grandma Neill to understand that I was asking questions about HER Grandfather Trautvetter, not her dad (who was my dad's Grandpa Trautvetter).
Once you've had children, it does get a little confusing who you mean when you say "Grandma." Don't leave someone in a hundred years confused about who you meant. Be specific.
09 June 2009
Now my inbox is not overflowing with these messages and I my inbox can stay clear for the "important" ones. This is particularly helpful as I get my genealogy email on my blackberry and before the filter I was ALWAYS getting email on my phone. A little annoying.
Email lists are great for genealogy, but now I can read them when I want--not have them flying at me 24/7.
08 June 2009
Remember that this practice was a tendency in some families and is not proof of anyone's name at all. Names can be used as clues, but they are "extremely circumstantial" ones at best. And if both grandfathers are named John and both grandmothers are named Anna, then you really have a mess!
07 June 2009
Nancy Rampley's pension record documents her parents' migration from Kentucky into Indiana into Illinois into Missouri. And it was her husband who was actually in the Civil War.
Revolutionary War era pensions for two of my wife's ancestors shows their migration across several states from the time of the Revolution until the 1830s.
Remember that a pension on a sibling or a cousin of an ancestor might provide clues about that ancestor's migrations as well.
06 June 2009
05 June 2009
04 June 2009
03 June 2009
02 June 2009
01 June 2009
It seemed like when looking at the church christenings like half the births were either to a Schulmeyer mother or a Schulmeyer father. A slight exgaggeration perhaps, but close enough to the truth to keep me on my research toes.
31 May 2009
A relative might contact you.
My recent postings on www.rootdig.com about my findings at the Family History Library in Salt Lake brought about a reply from a researcher in Scotland who descends from my wife's 4th great-grandparents. I searched for these ancestors in several online databases, all to no avail. Despite this lack of any luck, within two weeks of my posting about the family, there was an email in my inbox.
I'm not saying you have to blog every day, or even every week. Personally I'd rather do actual research and analyze what I have. But an occasional entry about what you have found might bring another relative out of the woodwork.
I use www.blogger.com for mine, but there are other sites /software that one can use.
30 May 2009
Putting yourself in your ancestor's shoes gives you a different perspective. If you were twenty-six years old, widowed, the mother of two small children, unable to speak English and living where you had no relatives, what might you do? You might marry the first German speaking single male around--one who would not have been your choice if you were twenty years old and still living at home with no children to support.
If your great-grandfather "disappeared" consider where he might have gone and what he might have done in an attempt to find him. Was there a war he might have enlisted in? Did he have some type of psychological problems? Maybe it was even better that he left, despite the disruption it caused in the family.
If you never personally knew the ancestor, leave the judging to someone else. Focus instead on your research.
On the flip side of this, I know one researcher who thought it was "romantic" that her great-great-grandmother found the "love of her life" and left her husband and headed out West on some grand adventure. The researcher was completely enamored with the story. Now if HER mother had done the same thing, I'm certain her response would have been somewhat different.
29 May 2009
In lectures, I refer to my ancestor's 1850 era Mississippi River tavern as "Barbara's Bar and Grill." The local newspaper referred to it as a "house of ill repute." You never know what you will find until you look. I still don't have Barbara's date of birth, but I know a lot about her from court records and newspapers.
28 May 2009
And maybe when you think about how your ancestor's is different from your own, you will realize there is something about that ancestor you have overlooked.
The dates of our trip are 27 May-3 June 2010. This includes Sunday, but we either use that day for rest, siteseeing, or additional consultations with Michael in the afternoon.
Enrollment is limited and $50 will hold your spot until the complete registration is due. For more information visit our site or email me directly at email@example.com. We would love to have Tip of the Day viewers join us in 2010.
Back to writing more tips...I am a little bit behind--fortunately because I spent an extra day at the FHL and did a little bit of my own research.
27 May 2009
26 May 2009
And my genealogy software program thought I was nuts to have a family with four children with the same name. But it can happen.
25 May 2009
Usually a new wife has a different name. If I researched this individual, the age of his wife might change significantly in census records, her birth place may suddenly be different, or other pieces of information may be inconsistent. Keep in mind that if the details on a spouse are different, it might because there was a different spouse--just one with the same first name.
24 May 2009
23 May 2009
22 May 2009
Always put the qualifier "calculated" in front of these dates of birth. If the person was "older" at the death, the age is a secondary source for the date of birth and should be treated as such.