Still Time to Get Casefile Clues at Old Rate–and the Weekly Update

There is still time to get Casefile Clues at our old rate of $20 for 52 issues–that’s over 200 pages of genealogy how-to and instructional material written in a way that’s easy to follow and understand.

We’ll also throw in a free subscription to my weekly blog update which summarizes postings from my four blogs along with a few extra features only found in the weekly update. Join us and discover more of your ancestors. casefileclues-promo


Using or Sharing Tips

I’m glad that others want to share Genealogy Tip of the Day with others. However, I do request that you share in such a way that credits Michael John Neill as the author and Genealogy Tip of the Day as the site of publication.

We don’t require payment to reprint or re-use tips. Our suggested citation is actually pretty simple. This tip appeared in Genealogy Tip of the Day ( by Michael John Neill on 25 September 2016 (or whatever date it was).

That’s all. I’ve seen newsletters fill entire pages with our tips–which is fine–except there was no author name, date, or original source of publication. That’s not so fine.

The tips are distributed freely (and I’m happy to do so), but they do help drive traffic on our site to things that bring in some revenue. And that helps keep the lights on here at Genealogy Tip of the Day. 

We appreciate your cooperation and your continued support of Genealogy Tip of the Day.


She’s My Vague Cousin–Once Removed

Genealogists try to be specific when stating relationships between individuals. Your relative from Omaha might not be as specific when discussing family members. Grandma may have written “Cousin Myrtle” on the back of a photograph.

If the person referring to their cousin is still alive, try and get them to be more specific about the relationship, if possible. Don’t suggest what the relationship is. Sometimes “cousins” were were actually cousins (just further down the line than you thought), were related by marriage, or were just neighbors with whom the family was close.

Transcribe As Written

Always transcribe documents as written, making comments about accuracy outside the transcription. This 1921 court document indicated that a brother-in-law of the deceased was a sister of the deceased.

It should be transcribed as “…brothers, and Minka Hobben[sic], Heipke Schone, …”

The record should not be corrected when the transcription is made. After the transcription is complete a notation that “‘Minka Hobben’ is likely meant to refer to Tjode Habben, who was Mrs. Mimka Habben–oldest sister…”

Avoid the temptation to correct the document when making your transcription.


Power of the Widow

It was not uncommon a husband to bequeath his wife a life estate in his real property upon his death contingent upon her remaining a widow. This life estate in the real property allowed the widow use the property however she saw fit and receive income from the property. She just would be unable to perform any acts that impacted the title to the property–she could not sell, mortgage, or bequeath it in a will.

As long as she remained a widow in this case, she “had the power” over the property–and perhaps in a sense over anyone the husband had indicated would inherit it upon her death.

Does the Recorder’s Office Have a Miscellaneous Record?

County recorder’s offices in the United States make official record copies of a variety of documents, most have to do with real and personal property. In some locations other agreements between individuals, powers-of-attorney, or other documents may be recorded in what is often termed a “miscellaneous record.”

Don’t overlook it. There can be a variety of material in this record–including marriage contracts, personal property liens, contracts and more.

Save on Casefile Clues Genealogy How-Tos and Get the Blog Update Free

To celebrate the start of our 4th volume of Casefile Clues, we’re offering new subscribers a chance to receive a full volume of issues and receive my weekly blog update for free. The blog update is normally $5 a year but is free if you subscribe to Casefile Clues by 5:30 pm on 23 September.
The blog update is weekly and summarizes postings to my four blogs along with premium content:
  • tombstone of the week
  • citation the week
  • photograph of the week
  • term of the week
The blog update is short and to-the-point. A sample is posted online.
Casefile Clues is more in-depth and focuses on a specific document, brick wall, or research concern in every issue. It is easy-to-read, practical, and based on actual research situations and always summarizes the record being discussed, the pitfalls of that document, and where to go next. Our goal is to get you thinking more about each record you find. Samples can be downloaded here. We cover records from a variety of time periods across the United States.

Website Reminder: United States Public Records, 1970-2009

This database on FamilySearch, United States Public Records, 1970-2009, is purported to contain over 800 million entries compiled from a variety of public records. While it can be difficult to tell what original record was used to create a specific entry, this database may help you narrow down where the person lived. Addresses and dates of birth are included.

Keep in mind this information may have been obtained from a variety of sources, may be inaccurate, and in some cases may result from different individuals’ files being merged together. us-public-records

Newspaper References to a Dropped Court Case

A newspaper may contain the only reference to a court case that was dismissed. This packet of divorce papers cannot be found, likely because the case with withdrawn. Initial newspaper references to the divorce provide additional details, including year place of marriage. Newspapers can easily supplement what is in an actual court records–but what’s in the newspaper may be incorrect, so take care using this information.later-papers