Considering the Consideration

If the amount of “consideration,” or what was given for the real estate (often cash), is a token amount, determine if there was a relationship among the people involved.

Transfers of significant pieces of real estate for token amounts are often done to clear up title among relatives. Not always, but frequently.

Check out the relationships among those who transfer land for little to no cash.


Work From What You Know

It can be tempting when viewing your autosomal DNA matches to immediately start on the one family you “really” want to know about or that match that really confuses you and ignore the families you aren’t immediately interested in.


Work out the other ones that may be a little easier to figure out–especially when getting started. There’s three main reasons for doing that:

  • it will improve your DNA analytical skills
  • later you may need to use what you’ve figured out to see where you still have gaps
  • you may make discoveries on families you “thought you had figured out”

And you may build your confidence by having some luck with the easier ones first.

You’re not going to figure them all out in one day and your best DNA discoveries are not made immediately.

Be patient with your results–and with yourself.

See Michael’s list of DNA analysis webinars–download immediate.


From Whence the “Say”

Certain genealogical publications, when a date of an event is not supported by any direct or indirect evidence, will use the word “say” when giving the date

James Rampley was born say 1750 and went on to reproduce so many times that his descendants number in the millions.

The part about reproducing all those times isn’t usually included, but many times there is something missing after the “say.”

What makes you say it?

It is allowable to not have a document that gives the date, but if some record causes you to arrive at that “say date,” then say so. Perhaps it was because:

  • the person married in 1771
  • the person bought land in 1771
  • the person’s age was estimated using census records
  • his tombstone indicated he died in his 85th year

But give some reason when you guess or when you say.

If you say a “say” date, say a reason.

Don’t just sashay around.



Whope Eye Spel Thair Gnames Rite

Spellings in the census should not be taken too seriously–don’t change how you spell your own name because of how your paternal great-great-grandfather’s name was spelled in the census. If it “sounds like” his name, consider the person possibly yours (look at location, age, place of birth, other household members, occupation, etc.) and go from there.


Buried Separately

One of my ancestral families and all their children and their children’s spouses are buried in the same rural cemetery. The only exception is their daughter who died in her teens and is buried in a separate cemetery. The parents died in the 1880s and the other children died between 1895 and 1920. The daughter died in the 1860s before the cemetery where the others are buried was established.

Never assume just because it looks like all of a family is buried in one cemetery that that they all are buried in one cemetery. There could be another child or sibling permanently lurking nearby.


Dying to Find a Death Record

The civil record of your ancestor’s death will be filed where he died, not necessarily where he lived or where he is buried. If your ancestor was travelling at the time of his death, had moved in her later years to live near a child, or was simply getting groceries in the nearest store across the county or state line, that is where the event will be recorded.

If you can’t find a death record where they lived, are you certain that is the location where they died as well?


Links for Tazewell County, Illinois Group

On 10 July, I gave an evening presentation for the Tazewell County Genealogical Society in Pekin, Illinois. There were some links that were discussed in the presentation that were not in the handout. Those links are:

They may seem random here, but they had a purpose in the presentation. And one can spend lots of time on them.

Thanks to the group in Pekin, Illinois, for asking me to speak tonight.



Hathitrust allows researchers to perform full-text searches of millions of pages of scanned texts. Users can view full images of out-of-copyright books and perform searches of some books still within copyright. There are a variety of ways to interact with and save the images. Some of this material is on other sites, but it is possible that a key word or phrase has been read differently or that a book was available for digitization here that is not on other sites.

From their website–they currently have digitized:

  • 16,431,171 total volumes
  • 8,003,093 book titles
  • 441,256 serial titles
  • 5,750,909,850 pages
  • 736 terabytes
  • 194 miles
  • 13,350 tons

One example from–a 1918 copy of “Railway Maintenance Engineer”