Monthly Archives: June 2009

It goes both ways

It is relatively easy to find the names of those who were godparents for your ancestor’s children. Those names are big clues.

However, when the records are unindexed, finding the names of children for whom your ancestor was a godparent is not as easy. It requires manual searching of each entry. But it may be worth it, because the parents of that child could be relatives of your ancestor and provide significant clues to your research.

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Reprinting Tips from this site

Users of Genealogy Tip of the Day are welcome to reprint tips from the site. I just ask that:

That’s it! Questions can be directed to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Family History Library Card Catalog

Ok, so this is a little bit of trivia, but I found it interesting.
According to David Rencher of the Family History Library, the online version of the Family History Library Card Catalog is updated every half hour.

I’m not suggesting you search the catalog constantly…….and I’m not really certain I should refer to it as a card catalog either.

Get Out of that Rut

Are you checking the same sites almost too regularly, hoping for an update? Are you posting queries to message boards and other sites, hoping to find something or get a helpful reply? Consider changing your approach or spending less time on the Internet or more time on different sites.

My Ancestry.com subscription lapsed and eventually I will renew it. But now that I don’t have 24/7 access to it, I am getting back into records I had ignored for too long and even reviewing my files. And when I do have access to Ancestry.com I make better use of it and am more efficient because I know I don’t have it constantly. And frankly some days I spent too much time “randomly” searching on Ancestry and not enough time really researching.

Get Out of the 21st Century

Remember that we do not live in the same times as our ancestors. If you are working on families from two hundred years ago, consider reading contempory material from that era. Transcribed diaries, newspapers and other materials are a great way to get a better “feel” for the times, in addition to reading non-fiction history covering the same time period.

Reading someone else’s diary from the time, even if a complete non-relative, may give you a fresh perspective on your ancestor life and times.

Is the “unindexed” record “indexed?”

Are you using an 1820 census enumeration where the names appear to be listed in roughly alphabetical order?

Census takers and some tax collectors, in an attempt to be helpful, roughly sorted names by the first letter of the last name. The problem for genealogists is that this strips the record of all sense of neighborhood. Keep this in mind when you think all the “B”s in an area lived together. No group of people are that organized.

Name Changes in Probate Records

Make certain to read through all those papers in a probate file or an estate settlement. The widow may be listed under a new married name in later records, providing a clue to her marriage.

This can be a great help in states that do not have marriage records for the time period being researched.

Why Did They Move?

Keep in mind that there are several factors that might have caused your ancestor to move from point A to point B.

They include:

  • Economic concerns–land opportunities, jobs, etc.
  • Politics and political unrest
  • Family–others in their family had already moved.
  • Acquaintances/friends–people in this group had already moved.
  • Religion–your ancestor was a part of a religious group that migrated.

There are other reasons, but consider these and ask yourself if you have really looked into these causes. Doing so may provide the answer to your family history puzzle.

Go Back and Revisit

Periodically revisit sites that contain data you have used in your family history research. It is not necessary to revisit them every day, but monthly or even quarterly visits may result in undiscovered finds. No matter how many genealogy ezines and blogs you read something can easily slip past your radar.

New information is always being made available. Take the time to look. Make a list of sites and visit them regularly. Not obsessively, however (grin!)