Sponsored By GenealogyBank

30 November 2012

Does It Exist?

It is easy to search without looking to see if the record even exists.

Ancestry.com "let" me search the 1810 census for a man who should have been living in Ohio. Problem is that most of the 1810 census for Ohio was destroyed in the War of 1812. If I never get past the search box, I don't realize that.

Are you making certain it really exists before you click "search?"

29 November 2012

US County Boundary Changes and Animations

If you need maps of county boundary changes, complete with animations, try this site hosted by Chicago's Newberry Library.


Can't Find Grandpa Before 1850 In the US?

If you can't find an ancestor who should be a head of household in a pre-1850 United States census, consider that he could be living with someone else and not listed by name.

I was looking for an older ancestor in 1840. Then it dawned on me that, given his age in 1840, he might have been living with one of his children. The ancestor would not have been head of household and would be "hidden" in one of those tally marks.

28 November 2012

Organizing Genealogy Information-January 2013

I was asked to give people a little advance notice about our next offering of "Organizing Your Genealogical Information."

Our next series of classes and follow up sessions will begin in January 2013. More details are here.

Different Relatives--Different Versions?

Don't stop with asking one relative about the family. Ask as many as possible. Even siblings close in age may remember different aspects of Grandpa's life or have a different perspective. Exhaustive searches should apply to people as well as paper materials.

27 November 2012

The Descendants of Your Brick

Chances are you are not the only descendant of your "brick wall" ancestor. Have you attempted to locate as many descendants of your "brick wall" ancestor as possible? Others may have researched him, have additional information, or even have apparently meaningless clues that, when combined with your apparently meaningless clues actually mean something.

26 November 2012

First Cousins?

Have you done Google and other searches to see if others are researching first (and more distantly related) cousins of some of your "lost" family members? This may be a good way to connect with others and researchers of these families may not "know enough" to have names that they can post on earlier generations.

25 November 2012

Was the Person Just Confused?

A relative giving information for a record could easily get similar (or not so similar) names confused.

Any chance a relative got the names John and Tom confused? These are not the same names, are not derived from the same name, but a mixup could easily take place.

This is more likely the case if a minority of documents give a name that does not appear anywhere else.

Female Ancestor Webinar--$4 Special

Half of our ancestors are female and yet researching them adequately (or even not so adequately) often takes more than half of our time.

 This webinar presents some suggestions for tracking the ladies in your family tree along with pitfalls and a discussion of why researching females is different. Presentation is made through examples and specific situations which explain methodology clearly and succinctly. Researching female ancestors is not difficult, but does require the researcher to get outside of techniques that may emphasize male ancestors.

This presentation is geared towards advanced beginners or intermediate researchers. True beginners might find it valuable as well--if only to make them aware that there is hope.

You can order the download of "Female Ancestors" today for $4--using the link below. Download links will be sent as separate emails.

If the link does not work, email me directly at mjnrootdig@gmail.com for order processing.

24 November 2012

Share Genealogy Tip of the Day With Your Friends

Please let your genealogy friends know about "Genealogy Tip of the Day."

Old tips are on our blog at: http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com.

Tips can be received in your email daily by subscribing on the link on the right hand side of our blog.

Our Fan Page on Facebook usually has additional conversation and tips: https://www.facebook.com/genealogytip


Do You Estimate Dates?

Estimate dates of events when possible, and include your reason for the estimation. When researching a family in Michigan in the 1860 census, looking at the ages of the children told me that the couple was probably married after 1850--meaning they were probably not in their own household at that point in time.

Is it evidence that they were not married in 1850? No, but it gives me some guidance when researching.

It's not proof either, but that's another tip (grin!).

23 November 2012

Not Directly Connected

The individuals that may help you track your ancestor may not always be direct ones. In trying to research on relative who moved from Canada to Michigan in the 1840s, the easiest person in the group to track (because  of his name) was the father-in-law of the ancestor's brother who also moved with the brothers. 

The best way sometimes to extend your direct line is to get away from your direct line.

22 November 2012

Make Your List

When you are including information about yourself in your genealogical information, consider including a list of things for which you are thankful. Remember that one day, you too will be a deceased relative, and leaving behind something about yourself is just as important as leaving behind information about other dead people. Someone in a hundred years may treasure your list of things that mattered most to you.

Think about it.

And then think about a way to preserve it beyond your lifetime.

21 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Here is wishing a "Happy Thanksgiving" to our readers regardless of their location. Don't neglect your living relatives while searching for the deceased ones.

When you need a break from your holiday activities, check out some of the blogs and posts:

Funeral Home Records

Have you considered contacting the funeral home who handled your ancestor's funeral to see if they have information that could aid you in your search?

Remember that these records are private business records with the funeral home does not have to share with you--be extra polite and considerate.

There may be additional information that was not in the obituary, details about who paid the funeral bill, who else was buried in the set of graves as your ancestor, etc.

Or there may be no records at all.

20 November 2012

Who Hitched Them?

If you know the siblings of your ancestor, have you looked at who performed the marriages for all of those siblings? There may be clues in those names to the church affiliation or denomination of your ancestor.

Unless they were all married by a justice of the peace.

19 November 2012

Are Minor Historical Events Necessary?

One never knows when a date may crucial to your research. In analyzing a claim for a personal horse that was requisitioned by the United States military in the War of 1812, I noticed that the date of the requisition was the same date on which the commanding officer of the unit was dismissed and the day after the unit was involved in a controversial burning of a village.


Maybe or maybe not. But if I had never researched the unit and looked carefully at the dates, I never would have noticed.

18 November 2012

Non-Population Census Records

The United States took federal census records other than those counting the population. These non-population census schedules that mention individual names include the following schedules for the following years:

  • Agricultural: 1850-1880
  • Defective,Dependent, and Delinquent: 1880
  • Industrial: 1850-1870
  • Manufactures: 1820, 1850-1880
  • Mortality: 1850-1880
Most were not retained by the federal government and were given to state agencies willing to maintain them. Some have been microfilmed, some are available online, and some are only available in their original paper format. Your search should begin with the state archives for the state where the person of interest lived.

17 November 2012

Search for Everyone On That Document?

If you have an 1856 marriage record for an ancestor, have you searched for everyone listed on the document in the 1850 and 1860 census, including the minister, any witnesses, etc.? Learning a little more about those individuals could help you with the actual ancestor.

16 November 2012

Using Color

When you create charts and forms for your own personal use, do you use color as a means to organize the information? In their informal notes or reports, some people color their assumptions, references to a certain ancestor, or other key details. Use of color helps to make certain things stand out.

And noticing things is what information analysis is all about.

15 November 2012

Pre-Black Friday Holiday Specials

We're a little bit ahead this year to get you ahead in your genealogy research.
We're going to be doing other things over the next few weeks, so our "Black Friday" specials are coming early.
Purchase any one(1) of the following starred (*) items by 6 p.m. Central Time on 16 November and we'll give you a free code to download two of our genealogy webinars.
*124 Issues of Casefile Clues for $30
Grow your genealogy research skills over the holiday season.
Not only do we include complete, accurate citations we also discuss ideas of where to go next. We also focus on setting goals and keeping on task.
You can download samples following the link on this page:
A complete list of all topics (and order links) can be found here:
*Subscribe to Casefile Clues for $11
You can subscribe to 52 issues of Casefile Clues for only $11--use this link to process your order.
*Short Course--Constructing Database Searches
Increase your genealogy database searching skills with our short course this December--homework is optional
When you order is processed, we'll contact you about free webinars. You'll need a special code for those downloads.
If these links are not working in your email, visit this webpage:
Happy Thanksgiving a little early from us!

Clues on the Wrapper?

Do you always read the outside and inside of those "packet wrappers" used to enclose loose court papers, estate papers, etc.? Sometimes there may be a phrase or annotation on the wrapper itself that is a clue.

And of course, whether it is an important clue, depends on the situation.

But, have you looked?

14 November 2012

Our Sponsor GenealogyBank

The Daily Genealogy Transcriber is sponsored by GenealogyBank. GenealogyBank offers a variety of digital images and databases by subscription, including the following:

Consider giving GenealogyBank a try and thanks to them for sponsoring us!

Old Versions Might Be Different

Sometimes we tend to favor the most recent set of transcriptions of a set of documents, tombstones, etc.

Be aware that an earlier transcription of original records could have been done when the documents were easier to read or by someone more familiar with the local names and families. A transcription of tombstones done in the 1930s might have included stones that today are totally gone.

Those "old" transcriptions may be just what you need.

13 November 2012

Extra Pages at "The End?"

In looking at print material, do you make certain there is not some sort of addendum stuck at the end of the book? A book of marriage bond transcriptions I recently used had two pages of "missed" entries that were added after the book was typed. These pages were not included in the index either.

And microfilmed church and other records may have extraneous material filmed after the book or actual records were filmed. And sometimes the pastor might insert something extra at the end just because he felt like it.

12 November 2012

Are Alumni Newsletters Holding Clues?

If your missing ancestor went to or attended college are there clues about their life hiding in college alumni newsletters? Alumni offices, university archives, or other facilities may have these periodicals which may provide clues about your relative after they left the college or university.

11 November 2012

End of Free Brick Wall Webinar Give-A-Way

Off and on for the past year, we've offered free downloads of the first and second installments in my "Brick Walls from A to Z" series. We're turning those coupons off as of 9:00 AM on 12 November. You don't have to play them immediately, but the download does need to take place by that time.

So if you've been waiting or have missed the offer before--now is your chance!


I Already Knew That

Share your discoveries with relatives as the discoveries are made. While it can be frustrating for someone to tell you "yeah, I already knew that," sometimes just the mentioning of the discovery can trigger other memories.

10 November 2012

In One Place Only

There are still records that exist only in their original form. They have not been transcribed. They have not been microfilmed. They have not been digitized.

Local records frequently fall into this category of being available "only in the original location," but there are others as well. While it is realized that not everyone can travel to remote places to perform research, at least be aware that there may be more material out there.

09 November 2012

Might Does Not Make Right

Just because duplicate sources agree does not mean that they are correct. My great-aunt has two tombstones--both indicate a year of birth of 1920.

Local records in the area where she was born indicate a year of birth of 1910, which is also consistent with her military and all census records.

08 November 2012

Names Switched?

My great-aunt is buried in Idaho. She has two tombstones--one a military one and other a joint stone with her husband.

The dates of birth and death are the same--born in 1910 and died in 1990.

One has her name as Anna M. Hutchison and the other has her name as Margaret M. Hutchison.

Never hurts to change those first and middle names around when performing searches.

And the stones should be transcribed they way they are inscribed. Commentary about what is "correct" can be made elsewhere.

It's All Homemade Here

[I'm posting this notice on all my blogs--please forgive the cross posting as I rarely duplicate in this fashion.]

All the content on this blog has been created by me.  Errors, typos, and all.

I don't copy other people's content--it's illegal,  it's immoral, and it's against the law. Copying content from others devalues their work and  limits the ability of the creator of  a work to earn what they can from that work. Typically those who blatantly violate the copyright of others are simply too lazy or too incompetent to create their own work. Of course people of that ilk usually don't care about the person from whom they are copying.

Using the material of others as your own is not flattery-it's theft. If you want to flatter the author, write them a nice note.

I work diligently to create my own content and honor the copyright of others because it is the right thing to do. I know that there are many others out there in "genealogyland" who also work hard to create their own unique content.

They deserve our respect and consideration. Creating original content is not always easy. Some of us might not always agree with each other, but we realize that if someone violates one of us in this fashion, they could just as easily violate all of us.

This blog is all homemade, warts and all. And we like it that way--and we thank you for your support!

07 November 2012

Constructing Database Searches: A Short Course

Constructing Database Searches: A Short Course

This three-session course will meet on three Saturdays in December of 2012. For more details visit our announcement page.

Die Near the Cemetery?

A burial location is a burial location, not a death location. In most cases, people do die near to where they are buried, but not always. The more recent the death, the easier it could have been to transport the body. In 1850 most people were buried near to where they died. In 2012, they could easily have not been. 

Don't assume a person died in the state in which they are buried.

06 November 2012

Provenance versus Providence

You may think divine providence caused you to obtain that picture of great-grandma or that family bible, but provenance is what we usually call the "chain of ownership" for a family relic or document.

The provenance of a family heirloom shows how it came to us. It's important to track as much of the provenance of an item as we can in order to know what we have is really what we think it is. The provenance for item indicates we know who the previous owners were and how we came to acquire the item ourselves.

After all, is that great-grandpa's hayhook, or did you just pick it up a farm sale?

05 November 2012

Incorrect Initials Only

When searching for those elusive ancestors in databases, indexes, and other finding aids, remember that the person may be only listed with their initials. If the initials are difficult to read, the letters in the index may not even be "close" to the correct ones.

04 November 2012

What Happened During the Gap?

I have a twenty year gap when I "lose" an ancestor. The only things I am certain of are that I cannot find him and that he moved during the period between 1850 and 1870. One approach that might be helpful is to learn about historical events that were going on during this time period and what have cause him to move. Were new territories opening up during this time? Did the Civil War impact his life?

Think about those "gaps" you have in your ancestor's life? Then get beyond your ancestor and ask yourself "what was going on outside my ancestor's life during this time period that might have caused him to move?"

03 November 2012

Crossing Pond Part 2 Webinar Released

I just finished giving and recording my "Crossing the Pond Part 2" webinar. 

This presentation discusses several United States passenger list entries from 1850-1910 with an interpretation and analysis of them, discussion of how to maneuver through the manifest images at Ancestry.com, using and finding the National Archives finding aids for these materials, searching for them on Archive.org (when available), and more.

Presented in a down-to-earth fashion, this presentation provides ideas and suggestions for using United States passenger lists during this time period. This presentation does not focus on how to search the indexes, but assumes that those searches have already been conducted. 

This presentation can be ordered at our introductory rate of $4 via this link.

A complete list of genealogical webinars is here:

If you registered for this presentation and did not receive the link for a recording, please email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com


How Did It Get To You?

Do you think about how a picture or other item came into your possession? Did the person who gave you the image really know who it was? How was the picture or other item identified? Just because someone on the internet said it was a picture of your great-great-grandpa does not necessarily mean that it was.

Most of the time things things are right, but occasionally errors are made. At least give a moment's thought to the possibility that the picture might be labelled incorrectly.

02 November 2012

Are You Looking At Their Luggage?

In passenger manifests into the United States during the 19th century, there are often notations about the luggage of those listed on the manifest. There are not always details about luggage, but some lists will indicate how many cases or bags a person has. Sometimes if one looks carefully, ditto marks may indicate a "group" of people having the same number of items. That could be a potential clue that people are travelling together and may have some connection.

It could be a clue.

01 November 2012

Organizing Genealogical Information-A Short Course

In early November, we're offering a short course on organizing genealogical information--virtually. For more details, visit our complete post here.

Are Your Gaps Filled?

When you organize the information you have on an ancestor are there gaps in the timeline where you have no records? Make certain there's not something you have overlooked. Something in those intervening years could answer other questions or open up entire research avenues.

Are there significant gaps in the years of birth for the children of an ancestor? It could be that children died at birth or there were miscarriages. It could also be that the ancestor did not have just one spouse and was unmarried for a time.

It's not possible to fill in or explain every gap, but acknowledging you have them is a start. And we all have them--at least a few.