Do You Know the Bordering Sections?

If your relatives were farmers who owned their own land, do you know how the sections within a township are numbered? Knowing where your relative’s property fits in relationship to others can help you know how close they really live. Not all bordering sections have adjacent numbers. The GLO Primer will give you a broad overview.


Reviewing Old Work?

When was the last time you took a good look at research you did in the “early days” of your research?

There may be statements that you never found any source for, conclusions that no longer stand up to analysis, confusing concepts that you know understand, or leads that you realize you never worked up.

In short…there could be a lot of new work sitting in that “old work.”

Cleaned Out the Old Search?

If you’ve been experimenting with a database search in order to finally locate that elusive ancestor, have you made certain that there is not something from a previous search hiding in a box? If there is an option to clear out previous searches, that’s often a good idea if you’ve been looking for multiple people in multiple ways in the same database.

Cold Weather Memories?

If you are looking for things to “jog memories” of either yourself or relatives, think about how really cold or really warm temperatures were dealt with “back in the day.”

Thinking about how you kept warm could get a whole flood of memories started. Speaking of floods, if your family survived one of those that is something to ask about as well.

A, B, C, and Me

A reminder about relationships:

If A and B are both related to C, that does not mean that A and B are necessarily related to each other. A and B could be related, but they do not have to be related to each other simply because they share C as a relative.

My Mom and my Dad were both related to a person named Mary Anne. My Mom and Dad were not related to each other at all. Mom was related to Mary Anne’s dad and my Dad was related to Mary Anne’s mother.

Always stop and think about what relationships are implied by relationships and which relationships are not. And remember–sometimes our own family makes good examples and sometimes they do not.

Checking all the Clues in 1941

The checks don’t indicate what they were for, but a little work made it clear that they were written to pay for my father’s birth.

My Dad was born on 14 April 1941 and the first check (22 April 1941) was written to the St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was born. The check from 15 April was written out to Dr. C. A. Runyon–the doctor who delivered my Dad according to his birth certificate.

Less direct evidence was the fact that these two checks were tucked into an envelope that was in an album of childhood pictures and other items from my father’s childhood and high school years. It seems reasonable that someone (likely my grandmother) put the checks in dad’s album because they were written when he was born. That detail (where I found the checks) is something that I should have included on this image.

Hunting for a Nimrod

“Well-known Carthage nimrods” went hunting in the early 1940s. One might be tempted to think the newspaper was making a snide reference. It was not. “Nimrod” is not just a reference to someone who is dim-witted. It can also mean someone who is a good hunter.

Never assume a word means something when you are uncertain of its definition. If what you think a word means seems inconsistent with the way it is used, look it up. Nimrod has two current meanings still in use. Other words may have had meanings 100 years ago that they no longer have.

Make certain.

Do not assume.

Assumptions are a great way to create additional brick walls in your genealogy research.

The Paper Genealogy Versus the DNA One

While DNA passes from parent to child, each child only gets half of each of their individual parent’s DNA. Consequently, as a lineage is worked back in time, there will be ancestors in your genealogical tree with whom you might not share any DNA. It doesn’t mean that the ancestor is not your ancestor. It simply means that their DNA did not makes it’s way all the way down to you. While DNA is microscopically small, there’s only so much your body needs.

Some suggest (for example, Blaine Bettinger in his  The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy) that once a lineage is traced back to the 4th great-grandparents that there are paper genealogy tree ancestors with whom you do not share DNA.  That’s why you may share no DNA with another descendant of one of your 5th great-grandparents.

Of course there have to be ancestors in your tree with whom you do share DNA.

A War of 1812 Land Warrant? What Next?

From a while back…

If a veteran or his widow received a land warrant for service in the War of 1812, they had one of two choices:

  • haul their happy self to territory that had unclaimed federal land
  • sell the warrant and assign it to someone who did want to haul their happy self to territory that had unclaimed federal land

Then whoever had the warrant would claim the appropriate amount of acreage in the federal domain and surrender the warrant in exchange for title to the property. The warrant was what was used for payment or consideration. After the paperwork was completed, the individual who surrendered the warrant would receive a “first deed” (patent) giving them title to the real estate they had claimed.

The application to get the warrant (filed by the veteran or his widow) is at the National Archives. The surrendered land warrants are as well.