Immigrants Do Not Immediately Appear in Directories–Usually

Immigrants to an area may not appear in the directory immediately after their arrival. Particularly in urban areas, the living arrangements of immigrants may be more tenuous, recent immigrants may be overlooked by the individual collecting information, or the immigrant may not see any reason to be listed in the directory.

Don’t assume your ancestor is not somewhere simply because he is not in the directory.

Our Goals–for Us and for You

Our goals at Genealogy Tip of the Day are relatively simple. We want you to:

  • think about the genealogical information you obtain–broadly put, “how accurate is it?”
  • think about “how” you research–am I interacting with information or reacting to it?
  • be aware of “overlooked” sources–am I always using the same sources for every problem?
  • be reminded of things that you may have forgotten–we all forget!
  • remember that no one knows everything
  • stay excited about your research–your ancestors’ story needs to be uncovered

We do have to sell things to keep the doors open–but all are welcome to hang around and participate whether they make a purchase or not. And…we don’t mention or link to anything that we have not actually purchased ourselves.

And…as some of you know, there’s no “we” here…just me. Unless you count the dog <grin>.

West Point Cemetery, West Point, Hancock County, Illinois, taken 28 May 2017 by Michael John Neill–it’s ok to break the rules when taking photographs. I think that my shadow in the picture makes a statement–and it’s not obstructing anything anyway.


In Pre-1850 US Census Records, the Head of Household…

In pre-1850 US census records (1840 and before), the oldest individual in the household may not be the person named as the head of household. The oldest person may be an aging parent or older relative and not the individual who is named as the family’s head.

If a person “ages thirty years” between the 1830 and 1840 census, it’s very possible that the “older person” in 1840 is a parent or older relative who has moved in.

Never assume the head of household has to be the oldest person in the home.

Preserve Those “Old” Color Pictures

Do you have photographs from the early days of color photography? Have you scanned them and preserved them?

The colors do fade–so don’t wait if there are images you have not made from these photographs.

Digitize them (scan or take pictures) even if you do not know who is in the picture. These items deteriorate relatively quickly and your copy may be the only one.

I hesitate to call this an “old” picture simply because I am in it <grin>.

The Grantor’s Index–Usually

The grantor‘s index to local land records usually only contains the name of the first grantor on a deed–not matter how many names are listed as grantors (sellers).

These indexes were created by the records office as the deeds were recorded and items were not necessarily recorded in the order in which they were executed. Indexes are not always exactly alphabetical either. They usually group grantors by the first letter of their last name. The first name may or may not be indexed.

Always look the index over before using it and concluding that you have “search the whole thing.” Different counties may keep their indexes in slightly different ways.

Why Don’t Those DNA Matches “Share Names” With Me?

If you are fortunate enough for a DNA match to have a family tree associated with it, there are several reasons why there are no name “matches” between your trees, including the following:

  • one of you does not have the tree back far enough to see the match
  • one (or both of you) has a mistake in your tree that is only compounded as the lineage is extended
  • there was an adoption in your lineage that no one told anyone about
  • the stated father of a child was not the biological father

Sifting through these possibilities takes time and may require more extensive research.

Sanborn Maps Might Give Old Street Names

Researchers in need of former street names in the United States may wish to look at fire insurance maps. This 1893 map of the courthouse square in Carthage, Illinois, indicated that all four streets surrounding the courthouse were named “Main Street” (with a direction as a part of the name). Today the former “North Main Street” is Main Street. The others have been renamed.