A minor naturalization was a naturalization of someone who immigrated as a minor and wanted to naturalize once they had reached the age of majority. These individuals didn’t have to wait quite as long to naturalize as did those who immigrated as adults.
We use the names of people on documents as clues. Sometimes the reason why a person is listed on a document is fairly obvious, parents on a birth certificate for example.
But a witness on a deed or a will. The witness may be a relative, friend, or another warm body.
But the witness had to be of legal age and that may be a clue.
And always learn why names are on records and in what capacity they are acting. What requirements were there to act in that capacity?
Some of our ancestors migrated along paths that thousands of Americans took, but they didn’t settle along these national roads. They went where they knew people, or had a “connection” to a job, a farm, etc. The fact that your ancestor might have travelled part of the way on a common pathway might help solve some problems, but the larger problems will be solved by determining who else travelled with him from point A to point B.
For any document, ask yourself “why was this document created?” Some will be fairly obvious:
- death certificate because someone died
- birth certificate because someone was born
Others not so much, particularly some records in court and other cases. Asking why a document was created will help you to know why some things were included in the document and some things were not. Records we use were created for purposes other than genealogy–keep that in mind.
If you are going to use a digital camera to take pictures of tombstones, documents, etc. on a research trip, practice using the camera at home.
Do you try the same approach on every family? Are you always using the records that are “easiest” to research or the ones with which you are most familiar? Are you always using county records and never state records? Have you never used church records?
Get outside of that same approach. Your ancestors all didn’t approach life the same way, you shouldn’t approach them the same way either.
Even if you can’t read the entire thing, at least read the history of the town or township where your ancestor settled. Don’t just look in the index or do a text search for the names of interest. Actually read part of it. You may actually learn something that helps your research.
Most of us had a life before genealogy that required specific skills and attributes. Is it possible to use those skills and approaches to problems to your own genealogy? Adapt your “other life” skills to genealogy–it might save you time and break down that brick wall.
I’ve been analyzing some census records for an upcoming Casefile Clues column. Doing the analysis on paper and pencil was necessary because I was travelling.
What I needed was colored pencils. Then I could use the colors to mark each person and help me to keep them straight in my head. I’m going to have to get a set of colored pencils.
In rural areas, if you can’t find someone in the index, a manual search of the census may be necessary. If that doesn’t help you locate your person, try looking only the places of birth. Then when you find someone with the “right” place of birth, look very closely at their name.
That’s how years ago I found Ulfert Behrens in Adams County, Illinois listed as Woolpert Barcus.