Use abbreviations sparingly. Does “w/o James Rampley” mean “wife of James Rampley” or “without James Rampley?” Of course on a cemetery transcription site, what it means is obvious. But remember, what is one person’s “obvious” is someone else’s “huh?”
Abbreviations can easily confuse–use them with care. Avoid them if at all possible.
If visiting a cemetery where your ancestor lived, consider leaving your name and address on an index card at the stone you’ve been to visit. Put the card in a plastic baggie and use something (such as a rock, etc.) to keep it from blowing away. Don’t harm the stone in the process, but perhaps someone visiting the cemetery another day will find your baggie and contact you.
Not everyone with genealogy information goes trolling the internet, but they may go cemetery visiting.
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Think about who is listed on a document and who that document implies is alive at the time the document is written. A will mentioning children usually means that the children are alive at the time the will is written.
There’s no guarantee the children are still alive when the will is admitted to probate.
Keep in mind some counties may have ledgers with birth records and separate birth certificates. I looked in the birth certificates for two of my grandparents and did not find them. But when I looked in the birth register–there they were.
It pays to make certain you have searched everything.
In locations and time periods where women had few property and legal rights, there are not often estate settlements if the wife dies first. However, if the wife dies last always look for an estate settlement, quit claim, or some type of settlement deed to tidy up the estate.
People assume that because women who die first don’t often have estate or probate records that they won’t when they die last either. That’s not necessarily true.
I have a family that moved from Virginia into Kentucky around 1800. The interesting thing is that the names of neighboring families to my ancestors in 1750 Virginia are the same names I see as their 1850 Kentucky neighbors in 1850.
I’ve got another set of German families that essentially “transplanted” a village from northern Germany to Illinois in the mid to late 1800s.
Some people tend to stick together even when they move. Use this to your advantage in your research.
If the time period and locations are appropriate, have you looked for biographies of all the grandchildren of your “problem” ancestor? It is always possible one of them mentioned a detail about their grandfather in their own biography–and that could be a big clue.
We’ve set the dates for my 2012 group trip to Salt Lake. Never too early to get started http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2011/05/2012-family-history-library-trip.html
Remember that “late” does not necessarily mean dead. “Late of Harford County” can simply mean that the person used to live there. In some legal and other documents, “late” means formerly.
Deceased usually means dead however!