A Few Things About Genealogy Tip of the Day

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  • Tips come from actual research. We try and keep them short and simple. Longer posts can be found on the Rootdig blog.

Only the Name Changes

I had a relative who was married several times in the middle part of the 20th century. The way I tracked her was through city directories. Her last name changed, but she lived in the same home despite having several husbands. If your ancestor is changing some things about themselves, think about what remains the same. That may be how you’ll find them.


Reverted to a Prior Name?

I have a relative who was married three times, having survived all three husbands. She was married to her third husband some twenty years before she died and she survived him by several years. For reasons unknown to me when she died in 2012 she is listed in the statewide death index under her second husband’s name. She was married to him for five years and they had no children. She continued to use her third husband’s last name after his death.

Took me forever to find her.


State Census Records

Many US states took their own census in non-federal census years. If you’ve not determined when state censuses exist for your research areas, it might be worth your while. 1865state


Is Your Ancestor Hiding in the Corner?

The reason you can’t find your ancestor in the census index may be because the original is difficult to read or the “entry of interest” is hiding in a faded corner. A manual search may be helpful, but only if your interpretation and reading skills are better that those of the person making the image.hidingincorners


Front of the Book Index to Local Records

Many journals, registers, and ledgers maintained in local records offices have an index to the main individuals mentioned in those records. Is it possible that the handwriting for the name in the index is easier to read than the handwriting for the name in the record? indexentry


Corrected Census and Handwriting Analysis

Census enumerations were sometimes reviewed and corrected after the enumerator had submitted their clean copy. This 1900 census enumeration contains a corrected age–the “2” in “29” does not look like other “2”s on the same page.  Apparently in this case the census taker didn’t take the census date and the month of birth into account as there are numerous corrections on his enumerations. corrections


The Do Do Do Minister

Some abbreviations still make sense 200 years later. Others do not. If there’s an abbreviation that makes no sense to you, Google it, ask someone what it could mean, look for it in genealogical references, etc. But make certain you find out what it meant at the time the document was written. And avoid using abbreviations yourself. tip-17-sept-do-do-do


Reasons to Browse at the Front

The problem with websites that take us “right to the name we want” is that we miss things. To create a citation, I needed view the front of a marriage book from Coshocton County, Ohio. In the inside front cover was a note that there was a list of ministers further on in the book. The first few pages of a record book can contain unexpected surprises. frotnvover


When Did You Last Back Up?

When was the last time you backed up your digital images and files? I realized today that I have a variety of photos taken around the time my mother passed away nearly five months ago that I have not saved anywhere other than my phone.

When I charged my phone today it acted a little strange and I became concerned that something was wrong with it. Before I did anything else, I made certain I had moved those pictures to at least two other locations so that my pictures were safe.

Don’t wait.