Don’t Write Right On It

Don’t write on your only copy of a document in an attempt to make it more legible. Transcribe it, make annotations on another copy (in the margin), etc. But do not write right on the copy itself. You may be wrong in your initial interpretation. dontwrite

About Genealogy Tip of the Day

Genealogy Tip of the Day is written by genealogist Michael John Neill. Michal has actively researched his own genealogy for over thirty years in a variety of locations and time periods. He also leads research trips to the Family History Library and the Allen County Library in addition to giving seminars and workshops.

“Tip of the Day” tips are meant to cover a wide range of time periods and geographic areas. While our concentration is on the United States, many of our suggestions apply to other areas. Not all tips will apply equally to all locations and time periods–sometimes they are just meant to get you thinking.

Tips are not copied and pasted from anywhere. They are usually written while Michael is researching or writing. Sometimes they will be similar to tips that have appeared in the past–there is a limit to how many tips we can write!

Feel free to share or forward tips with others–but please include the source of the tip. The following is usually sufficient:

  • the “tip”
  • from Genealogy Tip of the Day by Michael John Neill
  • date of tip

A Nationality of Her Own

The 1920 census lists New York native Mary Verikios as an alien. She lost her citizenship upon her marriage to unnaturalized Greek immigrant Peter Verikios. I’d forgotten about this until I stumbled upon a reference to A Nationality of Her Own which addresses the citizenship of US women before the 1922 passage of the Cable Act which separated a woman’s citizenship status from that of her husband.

When Mary and Peter married his citizenship status became hers. That’s not true today.

Obvious to You May Not Be Obvious to Me

When labeling pictures, writing family stories, or performing any type of research analysis, constantly remind yourself that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else. We’ve all encountered the hundred year old newspaper article that omitted details we would love to know today were probably “obvious and well-known” at the time.

What’s obviously obvious to one may not be so obviously obvious to another.

And the line between being obviously obvious and being an incorrect assumption is a very fine one.

Rural Directories in the Back?

Some directories are titled as being a “city directory” but have broader listings in the back. This 1906 Quincy, Illinois, directory had a listing of rural residents in the county–in the back. Don’t let the title mislead you. backdirectory

May Take Decades to Settle

When searching for records of an estate settlement, keep in mind that it may be ten or twenty years before an estate is finally settled. This final settlement may appear in the probate records or the land records–or both. Thomas Sledd died in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1815. His land was finally partitioned among his heirs in 1831.