Monthly Archives: July 2009

Problem-solving in a nutshell

If you are stuck, you should decide what the problem is, what the sources are, how those sources are organized, and how those sources are searched. Search those records, track your search, and evaluate the results. A broad overview, but this will get you started. Don’t forget to learn about your ancestor’s social group and about the history of the area where he lived as well.

Do you have the correct location?

Is it possible that the town name is right, but the name of the state is incorrect? Is it possible that part of the name is right, but the remaining portion has been spelled or pronounced incorrectly? Did your ancestor give the name of the closest “big town” instead of saying where he was actually from?

Tips are coming

I am working on adding tips to the site and am currently just about done with June. Updates will be posted as they are completed. Genealogy Tip of the Day will continue as it has in the past.

Readers are encouraged to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Casefile Clues” which is available via subscription at $15 per year. That turns out to approximately 29 cents a week.

Genealogy Tip of the Day will continue to be free and hosted at http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com. Suggestions for tips can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Thanks for all the encouragement.

Why do early naturalization records contain little information?

Because the law did not require it. In 1907 there was reform of immigration and the naturalization process, which resulted in more paperwork and more detail. Consequently the records after that reform are more detailed. If your ancestors naturalized shortly before 1907, determine if there were relatives who might have naturalized after the reform that might have left more detailed records.

It will conflict

Sooner or later you will encounter conflicting information in your research. Record the information as it is provided on each source and put any analysis in your notes. Do not change, correct, or modify the information from an actual record. Your job is not to edit. If there are obvious errors, indicate that in a comment, but do not “fix” the record.

Casefile Clues Moving

It is not a tip of the day, but this partially explains why the tips have been on the short side for the past month. I invite regular tip readers to subscribe to Casefile Clues on my other website. Tips will continue to be posted here as well.

For over ten years, I have written regular columns about my research experience, first for Ancestry and most recently for Dick Eastman. Starting this week, my weekly “how-to” column “Casefile Clues” will be available exclusively through subscription through my website http://www.casefileclues.com/. I am very excited about the move.

Subscribers can expect the same quality and content they have come to expect over the 400 how-to columns I have written. Content focuses on families from many areas and time periods in the United States and several foreign countries. The emphasis is not on the latest “whizbang” technology, but rather on locating, analyzing and interpreting records. Technology is used but it does not overpower the genealogy. We will continue researching the exploits of the various members of the Trautvetter clan, including Philip’s world travels, arrest in Boston and his trial in Colorado. Our work on English families will continue, as will our work in land records in metes and bounds in Kentucky and Tennessee, Bureau of Land Management records, and my search for the mental health records of my nineteenth century ancestor. We will also continue our discussion of research strategies both in actual records repositories and via the Family History Library. My children have ancestors in fifteen states and seven European countries and I will continue to explore that ancestry weekly via my column. Readers are welcome to submit suggestions for research ideas to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

“Casefile Clues” will be published at least weekly, with distribution taking place over the weekend. There may occasionally be additional columns published midweek as well, particularly if some followup is just begging to be written about. “Casefile Clues” readers can expect analysis of documents and research suggestions based upon that document. “Casefile Clues” is not a genealogy “news” ezine. You can find that elsewhere on the internet and I would rather devote my time to research and sharing that research experience with readers. Readers can continue to find Michael’s analysis and insight that they have come to expect from his columns. Movement to our own website gives Michael the complete freedom to write about whatever topic he wants when he wants.

“Casefile Clues” is not just about the one record I’ve found. It is about what the record means and how it was used in order to help researchers get motivated to continue their own research. Annual subscriptions are $15. Subscriptions can also be obtained on a three month basis for $6. Payment can be made through PayPal with major credit cards or check (PayPal account not needed). These methods of payment are preferred, but other arrangements can be made by contacting Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Checked all Jurisdictions

Have you checked for potential records at the town or village, township, county, state and federal level? Focusing on just one level of records may cause you to miss vital sources. This is true for the United States and Europe as well. The names of the jurisdictions may be different, but remember that any one physical location may be a part of several levels of government.

Proof Yourself

Are you reviewing and re-reading what you transcribe or what you put into your genealogy database? Is there the chance you might have made a mistake? It might happen rarely (grin) but sooner or later, we all make a mistake.

And if I had a dollar for every time I posted a blog entry without a title…..

Sort the tradition

Family traditions can run the gamut from comical to depressing, from reasonable to completely outrageous. Wherever they fit on the scale, they likely are not entirely correct. After all, nothing is. What I like to do with family traditions is to sort the facts they contain into facts that might have generated records and facts that probably did not generate records.
And then get to the research.