Monthly Archives: January 2018

Where Do They Put the Partial Entries?

Due to the passage of time, some original records are difficult to read. Writing fades, pages get torn, mice chew on paper, etc. There may have been entries that the indexer or transcriber could only partially read. How are those entries put in the database? Where are they put in a published book?

You need to know–because there’s always a chance that partial entry is for your person.

Blanks were used for entries that were totally unreadable and dashes were used for partially readable entries in this index of Hamilton County, Ohio, marriages.

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I maintain the following genealogy blogs:

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  • Genealogy Tip of the Dayone genealogy research tip every day–short and to the point
  • Genealogy Search Tipwebsites I’ve discovered and the occasional online research tip–short and to the point?

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Bequest Versus Devise

A bequest is a gift of personal property in a will. A devise is a gift of real property in a will. Bequests and devises in wills can be made to heirs or to someone who is not an heir.

An heir is someone who has statutory rights to inherit from the estate of a deceased person.



If Surprises are Going to Upset You…

A DNA test for genealogical purposes can result in one or more surprises. Sometimes those surprises impact more than the tester–they can impact other living family members as well. Not all surprises are about relatives who have been dead for a hundred years. You could discover that a parent or grandparent had a relationship (and a resulting child) with someone you do not know.

Non-genealogists in your family may be impacted by this discovery.

A “surprise” cousin could result in a similar fashion if an aunt or uncle had a child that no one knows about. Other living family members may not even know about that child. It is very possible the father may not even know the child exists.

Many people find no modern “surprises” in their DNA results. Some do. Those surprises may not even come immediately. That unknown cousin may not perform a genealogical DNA test until years after you have done yours.



Boo! Don’t Let Boo-Boos Fool You

An obituary indicated that a pallbearer for a relative was Earl Trautvetter.  The other pallbearers were individuals whose names I recognized as being nephews or nephews-in-law of the deceased. Then it dawned on me–the obituary was likely referring to my uncle that I always knew as “Babe.” His real name, which I knew but occasionally put in the back of my mind, was actually Carl.

Earl was likely the result of someone misreading the initial “C” in his first name as an “E” or some other sort of typographical error.

An additional difficulty with this error was that the incorrect name was one that I heard differently. It didn’t sound like Carl and so it took me a little bit longer to realize what had likely happened.

Sometimes things are simply mistakes.

It also helped that there was no relative with the first name of Earl during the time period in question.


Preparing for Your Autosomal DNA Results-Webinar

4 February 2018—8 PM Central

This hour-long presentation will present a brief overview of what autosomal DNA results are and are not. These are the tests that are done at AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe. Effective use of your results is easiest to do if pre-planning is done beforehand. This presentation will also help those who have not really delved into their results or feel they need to regroup their analytical process.  Discussion will include determining what problems your results can potentially answer, goal-setting, preparing for sifting through your results, generalized sifting strategies, locating as many ancestral descendants as possible, reasons why you have to work on the people who aren’t your problem people, and more as time allows.

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Gossip Column Reveals What the Obituary Does Not

Researchers come at items in newspapers from a variety of ways: manual searches, digital images with indexes that indicate the page, digital searches that target the specific item, etc. No matter how you get to it, make certain you read the entire page the item is located in–particularly obituaries. This 1940-era obituary listed out of town relatives, but did not specify the relationship. In a separate item in the local “gossip” section, they were again named–along with their relationship to the person whose funeral they were attending.

It may seem like in this case it would be “obvious” to find them, but sometimes when images come to our computer screen zoomed in from search results, it can be easy to not look at anything else. That’s a mistake.

Search the Newspaper Archive at GenealogyBank for your ancestors.


Hell Fenced In

I’m not certain if it was a play on words, an attempt at humor, or exactly what, but one of my great-grandfathers referred to the town of Elvaston, Illinois, as “hell fenced in.” It’s not a very big place, and I doubt if it was ever a really wild place, but I’ve made a note of it in my files. It’s never a bad thing to record things you know about your relative’s sense of humor–even if you don’t get the joke.

And…the phrase may have simply resulted from the way “Elvaston” could have been pronounced by some people.