It is always possible that your ancestor is enumerated more than once in a census year. Employment away from home or travel could have resulted in an ancestor showing up in more than one census household. Husbands who were separated from their wives might be listed with their family and again living in an apartment or boarding house nearby.
If a legal document indicates your ancestor has a “life estate” in real estate it means they own it for their life only. They can’t sell it and they can’t bequeath it either. They have it as long as they have “life.”
Think about the various events in your ancestor’s life. People often look for births, marriages, and deaths in the newspaper. Are there other events in their life that might have warranted attention? One ancestor had a special examiner from the VA come to her rural town to interview her and five relatives in 1902. Any chance that might have been mentioned in the “gossip column” that week? Possibly. Think about other non-vital events that might have been written up in the local newspaper.
Is Grandma telling you information about events that took place when she was a child? Sometimes children get things correct and sometimes they don’t. This situation can be aggravated if the adults don’t really tell the child anything and the child only hears a few details. Sometimes they, without any ill intent, create details to fit what they hear, or they interpret things through a child’s eyes, which may not entirely be correct.
If you have children of your own, think about how they misunderstood something once in a while. Then remember: Grandma was a child once, too!
Remember that family members can easily individuals from previous generations confused creating additional confusion for the researcher.
An ancestor’s wife’s name was Ellen. His sister was Emma. The more I learn about Emma, the more I realize that some of the stories that were told about Ellen were actually about Emma. It is easy to see how one could get the names mixed up, particularly if one had never met either person.
Sometimes the mix up happens when the names are not similar at all. Is it possible what grandma told you about relative A was actually about relative B?
These Latin abbreviations are found in many courthouse documents, particularly land records and court cases When time is limited and you are looking through indexes to land or court records, pay close attention to cases where these abbreviations are used.
“Etal” means “and others” indicating that your ancestor and other people are selling property, buying property, suing someone, or being sued. “Etux” means “and spouse” and that your ancestor and their spouse are selling, buying, suing, or being sued. Whenever a group of people are involved in a court case or a land record, it has higher potential to provide genealogically relevant information.
Particularly when it is Friday at 3:30 and the courthouse closes at 4:00!
Fire insurance maps may provide you with a different view of where your ancestor lived. Insurance maps are generally available between the late 19th and early 20th century centuries. They may tell you what type of home your ancestor lived in, what it was made how, how many stories it was, etc. The maps showing neighboring homes also gives an idea of the “feel” of the neighborhood. Maps are available for urban areas and small towns as well. The Library of Congress website has more information at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trr016.html and searches at Worldcat http://www.worldcat.org/ for “sanborn map yourtown” may locate some references as well.
Just as a note–Tip of the Day is FREE. The only time it is not is if you choose to get it on your kindle. The free versions will continue to remain free. Thanks and thanks for spreading the news about Genealogy Tip of the Day.
In some areas, it’s important to remember that the reason there may be several men with the same name of about the same age is that they are all named for their paternal grandfather. If Henry Puffer has four sons and they all name a son Henry and they remain in the area, that’s four Henry Puffers to sort out.
Genealogy Tip of the Day can now come right to you on your kindle.Tip of the Day can be as close as your purse or briefcase. I’ve been posting a daily genealogy how-to tip for nearly two years. Tips are “created” while I’m doing actual research. They aren’t copied and pasted from other sites. Usually they come to mind after a seminar or writing an issue of Casefile Clues.
The link is to the Kindle version is here:
If you want to interact with other Tip of the Day followers/readers/fans, the place for that is still Facebook. If you just want the tips, the Kindle version will just have those. The blog feeds that we’re posting to kindle from now on will have no ads, just the tip every day. The good news is that you can see the OLD tips on your Kindle as well. How cool is that?
There may be an occasional extra tip or two thrown in, but what is sent to Kindle (by me) for Tip of the Day will be just the tip.
No affiliate links.
Of course, I’d love for Tip of the Day readers to subscribe to Casefile Clues, but there will not be postings about the newsletter in the Kindle feed for Tip of the Day.
This link does take you to Genealogy Tip of the Day on Kindle. Get Tip of the Day where ever your Kindle happens to be.