If your ancestor was a farmer, was he a farm owner, a tenant farmer, or farm laborer? The differences are significant and knowing which helps indicate how mobile your ancestor likely was, what types of records he left behind, etc.
Farming isn’t the only occupation where these distinctions are important? Did your ancestor work in a blacksmith shop, or own his own shop? Again, the difference is important.
Sometimes all we have are vague ideas of what our ancestor did–but sometimes we do have more. Use that information to your advantage.
Once in a while try looking for information in a source or record where it “couldn’t be.” The information you seek may just be there. I found an 1893 estate settlement that provided the place and date of birth for the deceased–in a foreign country to boot. Not something I expected at all!
Remember no expert is perfect. And no one knows everything. A well-known lecturer indicated in a handout that all land records contain metes and bounds description that mention lines and many times mention neighbors. Federal land states infrequently mention metes and bounds and when they do, names of neighbors aren’t always mentioned. Metes and bounds are used in state land states. Turns out the “expert” had only done East Coast research and assumed all land records were the same.
It is easy for some genealogists to get lost in the research and forget the original purpose of the records we use. Deeds were to transfer real property, probates were to settle estates, courts were to settle disputes, etc. Most records were not created for genealogists. Remember that.
Once in a while the genealogist needs to remind themselves that there might not be an answer to a question. This does not mean that one does not keep looking, but that sometimes there just are not the records available to answer the question, determine the parentage, connection etc. Sometimes knowing when you have exhausted all avenues is a good thing to know. Of course, it also might be advised to ask an expert if you really are at the end of your genealogy rope.
A certain publication made me take similarly worded paragraph out of an article because it was “too negative.” I think it’s realistic and honest which is a much better way to be.
I am offering a St. Patrick’s Day discount on a subscription to my weekly genealogy how-to newsletter Casefile Clues along with all the back issues. More information is on the Casefile Clues website.
A Google search turned up online scans of old land patents. I clicked on the link and I was told that I needed a username and password. My budget for memberships was exhausted and I got distracted and forgot about it. A few days later I came upon the page again and decided to ask if there was anyway to get temporary or “pay-per-view” access for the few documents I wanted immediately.
Turns out there was no fee and I was given the generic access codes.
You never know until you ask…..so ASK!
If any “Tip of the Day” readers, fans, or followers, would like sample copy of Casefile Clues, email me at email@example.com and I’ll fire one off to you.
Google searches are great, but sometimes it is nice to browse the virtual stacks.
Cyndi at Cyndislist.com has been linking and categorizing websites for a decade. If you’re stuck, needing a break, or needing to jumpstart your research, take a look at the links she has for your state or country of interest.
There is certain to be something on Cyndislist you haven’t seen before. It is just about like browsing the library stacks and making random finds.
This is not meant for readers as readers of my site were not the problem. It was not a “fan” or a “follower” who used my whole body of tips on their site under the guise of it “helped me get more attention.” When you put a big fat ad between the tip and my name, that doesn’t make it clear. When you include the website name, but do not include an active link, it makes the chance that someone actually visits my site very small. I was raised in the sticks, but I’m not stupid.
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There’s a wonderful Yiddish saying that goes: “You can’t piss on my back and tell me it’s rain.” This is the one time, I’ll use one of those words on this website, but I’m really irritated and the saying is appropriate. We will maintain our G rating with future postings.