Charting My Failures

Keep a chart of your failures–so you know where you have looked.



A good column to add to this chart would be one for the reason why this person was eliminated as the person of interest. That’s a good thing to keep track of as well.


Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank.  Search there for your relative. 

My Blogs

I host several blogs–all have separate email lists and need to be subscribe to separately (there’s more about me here303575_2204477245773_1519872279_n). Each has a subscription link on the top portion of each page. The blogs are:

  • Genealogy Tip of the Day-one tip every day, rain or shine.
  • Search Tip of the Day–one tip as they come across my path. We post periodic FamilySearch updates here as well.
  • Rootdig–where I blog about my research, research methods,  and whatever else crosses my path.
  • Daily Genealogy Transcriber–one piece of handwriting everyday–with answers posted. Try your hand at guessing the writing.

If you get one one of the lists and can’t get off, forward the message to me at Thanks!

And please let others know about our blogs!

A Discrepancy Chart

We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth a repeat for those who might not have seen it and for those who need a reminder. Charting out inconsistent information can help you to notice patterns and trends–or just make you a little more organized. ira-discrepancy-chart

Help support Genealogy Tip of the Day by visiting any of the following sites:

In “her” or in “the”–One Word Matters


Tooth outline by Michael John Neill

It’s an extremely minor thing, but it makes a good point about the importance of one word. My grandmother had dentures and either got them in “her thirties” or in “the thirties.” Sometimes one word makes all the difference.

Relative Abbreviations

filenamesEverything is about context–even abbreviations. From the illustration it should be apparent that these 1840-era abbreviations are for places in the Boston area.  Abbreviations can be used for more than just place names, can change over time, and may vary from one location to another.

When trying to determine what an abbreviation references, keep in mind the context–the time period and the location. Abbreviations, like many things, are all about context.


This item was located on GenealogyBank.  Search there for your relative. 

File Names That Don’t Confuse

File names for images made from county records should be as specific as possible in terms of location. I should have included at least the county and state.  I saved file names that indicated the year of the tax list, a volume number, and the last name of interest. I should have included the state as well. The page numbers were included in the actual image–in this case.

Preserving Past You Webinar

It’s more important than ever before to think about how to make “your stuff survive you.”

Preserving Past You on 13 December 2015-SUNDAY–2 PM Central Time.

In this session, we’ll see ways to preserve your genealogical legacy beyond your own lifetime. We will look at a variety of options, large and small, digital and non-digital, simple and not-so-simple, and more.  Prioritizing what to save will be an integral part of this presentation. We will see why preserving is more than a simple clause in your will and ways you can immediately start preserving some of what you have immediately. If you registered for the session of this that had to be rescheduled, you will receive an attendance link at no charge–you do not need to re-register or repay.

Those who need to register can do so here.

Dittos and Effers in the Inventory

steer-heiferSometimes one is tempted to “transcribe” a document by writing what is meant instead of what is written. That’s not transcription.

The three items in this inventory should be transcribed:

  • To 3 Cows
  • To 2 Ditto
  • To a Steer & Effer

If you want to make it more clear:


  • To 3 Cows
  • To 2 Ditto [Cows]
  • To a Steer & Effer [Heifer]

but not:


  • To 3 Cows
  • To 2 Cows
  • To a Steer & Heifer

Here the intent is clear. Sometimes it is not. Your initial interpretation may not be correct on one of those more difficult to read records and if you rely on that incorrect transcription you may be creating research headaches for yourself.




Neighbors are not Just People

None of my ancestors lived to anything that might have appeared oclose-enoughn a postcard, but there were people whose homes were next to churches, courthouses and other buildings that may have been the subject of a photograph. There’s a picture of a home that appears in this
picture of Trinity Lutheran Church in Golden, Illinois. Too bad it wasn’t my great-great-grandmother’s home.

We think of looking for our ancestor’s neighbors–consider taking that approach a little further and don’t just focus on the neighbors of the two-legged variety.

A Request and Thanks!

First, thanks for your support of Genealogy Tip of the Day. I enjoy writing tips and hope you enjoy receiving them. I am hoping to start work on some new families as we head into 2016–so there may be tips from families other than the Trautvetters!

A request: please let others know about Genealogy Tip of the Day. I don’t have a marketing budget–so anything that readers can do to let others know about us is appreciated.

And..a request-– also totally optional. If you are considering a subscription to or purchases from any of the following, please use our links below to make your purchase–we do appreciate it: