Thinking About Why You Didn’t Find It

Whenever I have a difficult time finding something, I try and ask myself “why was this hard to find? ” Sometimes the “trick” was something I overlooked. Other times it wasn’t. But reminding myself of what the problem was sometimes gives me insight into other people I can’t find. One issue a recent search for […]

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Why Matters

It is important somewhere to keep track of your research logic as you progress. Otherwise you might not remember “why” you are researching a certain person. While at the Allen County Public Library last August, I focused on a certain Benjamin Butler in 1850 as being “mine.” Using that enumeration as the starting point, I […]

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That Tip Didn’t Work For Me!

Research tips that suggest a procedure, an approach, or a process are just that: suggestions. One tip will not solve every problem in every location. What works in one place at one time period may not be appropriate in another place at another time. If one idea does not work, try something else. Or ask yourself […]

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Why They Are My People

It is important somewhere to keep track of your research logic as you progress. Otherwise you might not remember “why” you are researching a certain person. While on a recent research trip, I focused on a certain Benjamin Butler in the 1850 census as being “mine.” Using that enumeration as the starting point, I searched […]

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Why Track “Why?”

It is important somewhere to keep track of your research logic as you progress. Otherwise you might not remember “why” you are researching a certain person. Several years ago I focused on a certain Benjamin Butler in an 1850 census enumeration as being “mine.” Using that enumeration as the starting point, I searched other records […]

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They Didn’t Always Require Paperwork

Wonder why great-great-grandma’s age changes so much from one record to another? One reason could be that she wanted to shave a few years off her age. Life was also different. Great-grandma might not have been concerned that if her age didn’t “match” in various records that there might be a problem with her pension, […]

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Track the “Whys” of Your Research

It is important somewhere to keep track of your research logic as you progress. Otherwise you might not remember “why” you are researching a certain person. While at the Allen County Public Library last August, I focused on a certain Benjamin Butler in 1850 as being “mine.” Using that enumeration as the starting point, I […]

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Why did your ancestor “break” the rules?

If possible, learn why your ancestor “broke the rules” or went against tradition. I’m not certain why my wife’s Roman Catholic great-grandmother didn’t have her last two children christened as infants. She waited until they were nearly 7 and 8 which is unusual. The baptisms were likely done then as she got married in a […]

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Reading or Skimming?

I recently obtained digital images of a Union Civil War pension file of a relative by marriage. It took over 200 images to digitize all the records. My interest in the file was to see if there was information on the claim of the widow and what information she had provided on herself. Having seen […]

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Are You Seeing the Shadows?

That one record you’ve found, a deed, a death certificate, a will, an estate settlement, probably was created because something else happened. For some documents it may be obvious what caused the document to have been created. But a deed? Why was the property being sold? Was the couple planning to move? Had they fallen […]

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