Changing Up That Handwriting

In one document letters can be made differently, depending upon what letter is next. Handwriting is not always consistent–not even within one document.

Don’t expect better writing from clerks than you do of yourself <grin>.

AncestryDNA Beginnings Webinar Released

This hour-long presentation covers the basics of working with DNA matches at AncestryDNA, including:

  • ethnicity estimate–briefly
  • communities–briefly
  • circles–briefly
  • matches

An overview of working with your matches, interpreting them, understanding them, analyzing them and organizing them is presented. Challenges of working with treeless matches, matches with incomplete trees, people who don’t respond, etc. are also discussed. This is a practical how-to session that also includes an overview of DNA and inheritance sufficient to work with the AnestryDNA results without being overwhelming. Comments included:

it was a very helpful overview and I appreciated the tips

Download is immediate and includes handout and video/audio presentation. Presentation and handout are for personal use only. Orders can be processed securely here (a PayPal account is not necessary–just click through to use a major credit card). Presentation can be played multiple times and is not streamed.

This presentation was not supported or sponsored by and is not responsible for its content. I am not an employee of and the presentation is not aimed to try and sell you a membership.


What Does That Incomplete Inscription Mean?

Sometimes a tombstone for a married couple will be erected after the first spouse dies. A blank will be left to be completed for the surviving spouse.

Just because that death date is blank does not mean the surviving spouse is still alive. They could have been buried elsewhere or no one had a stone cutter complete the date of death for the surviving spouse.

Aliases Can Be Anywhere

It was not uncommon for a person to “change” their name with no official record of the change. In some of these cases there may be a record providing evidence of the change. Feke Johnson used the name Fanny after immigration to the United States. She never naturalized and there’s no “official record” of the change.

But her marriage record indicates that her name was “Miss Fanny (alias Feke) Johnson.” A thorough reading of all records on the person of interest may locate an alias reference.

Did they Dawdle?

People wait to do things for a variety of reasons. This couple waited to baptize their children until the oldest one was seven years old–despite the fact that their denomination practiced infant baptism.

I’m not certain of the reason. The church had a regular pastor when the children were born so there may have been another reason.

Don’t assume things always happen when they “are supposed to” and don’t assume all documents “get recorded immediately.” They don’t.

If you can’t find it–look in the records a little later. Someone may just have a little slower than other people.

Don’t Skip City Directory Years

It can be tempting to skip around when searching city directories. Don’t.

Look for your people in directories for every year. People get left out sometimes. People move. Some directory years may give information not listed in others.

While the residential information may be repetitive from year to year, check every one. The year you skip could contain the biggest clue of all.

Immigrants Do Not Immediately Appear in Directories–Usually

Immigrants to an area may not appear in the directory immediately after their arrival. Particularly in urban areas, the living arrangements of immigrants may be more tenuous, recent immigrants may be overlooked by the individual collecting information, or the immigrant may not see any reason to be listed in the directory.

Don’t assume your ancestor is not somewhere simply because he is not in the directory.

Our Goals–for Us and for You

Our goals at Genealogy Tip of the Day are relatively simple. We want you to:

  • think about the genealogical information you obtain–broadly put, “how accurate is it?”
  • think about “how” you research–am I interacting with information or reacting to it?
  • be aware of “overlooked” sources–am I always using the same sources for every problem?
  • be reminded of things that you may have forgotten–we all forget!
  • remember that no one knows everything
  • stay excited about your research–your ancestors’ story needs to be uncovered

We do have to sell things to keep the doors open–but all are welcome to hang around and participate whether they make a purchase or not. And…we don’t mention or link to anything that we have not actually purchased ourselves.

And…as some of you know, there’s no “we” here…just me. Unless you count the dog <grin>.

West Point Cemetery, West Point, Hancock County, Illinois, taken 28 May 2017 by Michael John Neill–it’s ok to break the rules when taking photographs. I think that my shadow in the picture makes a statement–and it’s not obstructing anything anyway.


More than One City Directory in a Year?

Make certain you note the publisher of each city directory you use, not just the year. In some time periods in some cities, multiple directories were published in one year by different publishers.

And different directories may provide slightly different information.

In Pre-1850 US Census Records, the Head of Household…

In pre-1850 US census records (1840 and before), the oldest individual in the household may not be the person named as the head of household. The oldest person may be an aging parent or older relative and not the individual who is named as the family’s head.

If a person “ages thirty years” between the 1830 and 1840 census, it’s very possible that the “older person” in 1840 is a parent or older relative who has moved in.

Never assume the head of household has to be the oldest person in the home.