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Sometimes it’s not easy coming up with “new” tips every day, so for today we’ll look at a few things I’ve been reminded of in the months since my Mother’s passing:
- Identify everyone on every picture you have. There are a few Mom and I never went through and now I’ll be hard-pressed to figure out who they are.
- Ask the minor questions. It’s not genealogically relevant, but now I’ll never know if it was Mom’s Grandma Ufkes or Grandma Habben who had the pink peppermints and gave Mom one every time she came to visit.
- Write down what you remember about your recently deceased relative. You may be surprised at how much you forget if you wait. Don’t learn this the hard way.
- Never assume you will have more time to ask those questions and identify those items. You may not.
A reminder that our October 2015 session of “Organizing Genealogical Information” starts on 7 October–that’s when download links will be sent for the first presentation. More information here.
Deeds and other land transactions are usually recorded in the local county recorder’s office. This office may have other land-related records as well, particularly records of surveys and plats. These maps created by surveyors may have been done when an area was first being settled, when a new subdivision or a town or village was created, or when heirs were partitioning out an estate.
We are starting up another section of my popular “Organizing Genealogical Information” class this month. Consider joining us. Details have been posted here.
Newspaper accounts of a death may give details that are not mentioned in the death certificate. It is doubtful that this 1923 suicide, made in response to harassing telephone calls, mentions those calls. This item was obtained on GenealogyBank.
The dog is painfully aware of the cone she has on her head. Her caretakers are painfully aware that she can’t see as easily with it on. Researchers often have their own cone–one that they’ve had forever. Sometimes it’s helpful to ask if are using our peripheral vision, looking at all the angles, and any assumptions we may have about the people being researched. It will be very clear to the dog when her cone comes off. Can we say the same about ours?
If part of your analysis of a record involves the word “always,” ask yourself:
- is that really “always” the way it is?
- could this situation be an exception? (make certain you have valid reasons for thinking that this case is an exception)
- how do I know it’s “always” true?
Sometimes our brick walls and assumptions are buried in an “always” in our analysis that’s not necessarily always true.
When transcribing documents, use “sic” to indicate something that was wrong in the original or looks incorrect. That indicates to the reader of your transcription that the item was copied exactly as written.
- to my son Alexandra[sic]
- I give to my deceased[sic] wife
The word “sic” is usually placed in brackets and italicized after the “erroneous” word. Don’t just correct the spelling or the word. What you think is correct may not be correct after all.
When analyzing information from a tombstone, try and determine if it was erected relatively contemporary to the death or if it was placed on the grave some time after. If the stone was put up fifty years after the person died, the information may not be as accurate as if it was put up with in a year of the person’s demise.
Birth dates on tombstones for people who die at an advanced age can easily be incorrect whether the stone was erected contemporary to the death or not