I have been reading First Generations: Women in Colonial America for the past several days. It has given me some insight into the Colonial experience of women and cause to think about a few things in ways I never have. Is there a history text or sociological study that might expand your knowledge even if it doesn’t directly expand your family tree?
Think about your genealogy resolutions for 2011. Pick one small one that you can reasonably obtain. Write it down on a post-it note and put it on your computer. If it won’t fit on a post-it note, it’s probably too long!
When locating records and putting them in your files, make certain that just because the “name’s the same,” that you actually have the same person. Make certain age, location, implied social status and other information “match.” Sometimes records that you think are on the same person, are actually referring to two separate people with the same or similar names.
Don’t forget that Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by my newsletter Casefile Clues. Casefile Clues discusses genealogy sources, methods, and practices, and cites it sources. There is more information on our blog http://blog.casefileclues.com/ or our website http://www.casefileclues.com/. Casefile Clues is not your typical how-to newsletter. Samples are free by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that the children may not know their mother’s maiden name and what they do know is not first-hand information. They may think their mother’s step-father was her actual father. They may never have met her father and may have a totally “mixed” up version of the name in their head as a result. Or they may be entirely correct about their mother’s maiden name. It depends upon a lot of factors, but keep in mind that information children provide about their mother’s maiden name is not first hand information.
Just because your ancestor uses the phrase “my now wife” in his will, it does not mean he had to have been married twice. A man might use the phrase to make it clear to whom a bequest was being made. If his will said “to my now wife I leave my farm for her life and at her demise it to go to my children” that meant his wife at the time he wrote his will. He might have been concerned that if he remarried and his “then wife” married again that his real property might fall out of his family’s hands.
A relative claimed he was born in Fort Huron. The actual location was Port Huron. One letter makes a difference, even more noticeable at the beginning of a word.
It is important somewhere to keep track of your research logic as you progress. Otherwise you might not remember “why” you are researching a certain person.
While at the Allen County Public Library last August, I focused on a certain Benjamin Butler in 1850 as being “mine.” Using that enumeration as the starting point, I searched other records and made research progress. A stack of papers and records. One problem–I didn’t track WHY I thought this 1850 census entry was for the correct person. It took me hours to reconstruct my reason. Time wasted when I started writing up the 1850 Benjamin for an issue of Casefile Clues.
When I decided the 1850 guy was “mine,” I should have written down my reasons. That would have saved time.
Season’s Greetings from Genealogy Tip of the Day. Enjoy your time with the living relatives this holiday season. Your ancestors will still be waiting….(grin!).