Monthly Archives: October 2015

Not Always In Order

Wills, deeds, and other legal documents may list all the children of a specific individual. Don’t assume that they are listed in order from oldest to youngest. They may be–or they may not be. Try and use other records to estimate the years of birth for at least some of the children. That may give you a better perspective on whether they are listed in birth order or not.

The Kids May Have Been Right

francisThe maiden name given for my ancestor on her marriage record differed from the maiden name her children listed for her in their own records.

Don’t conclude the children were wrong. While they weren’t alive when their mother was born, they may have had some knowledge of who her parents were and what her maiden name was.

In this case, the name given on the mother’s marriage record was actually the last name of her step-father and not her actual father’s last name. Turned out her kids actually had the name right.

When You’ve Never Used It Before

When using a record or source that is new to you, here are some things to think about to make courthousethe best use of it:

  • What time period does the record cover?
  • What was the purpose of the record?
  • How did someone or something “get in” the record?
  • How were the records originally organized and stored?
  • If there is an index, is it a full-name index?
  • Are there terms in the record that I don’t understand?

There are other questions to ask about the record as you analyze the information it contains, but the answers to these questions will hopefully make your search easier.

Do You Know Your Terms?

When making a trip to a courthouse, taking a genealogical reference manual isn’t necessary. However, work in land, court, and probate records may go more smoothly if you have a list of basic terms and their definitions with you. Confusing terms such as grantor/grantee, defendant/plaintiff, administrator/executor, quit claim/ warranty, etc. may cause you to waste research time.