Chart Those Variants and Soundex Codes

Make a chart with all your variant spellings for a surname and their corresponding Soundex codes. You don’t need the Soundex code to search, but the chart can be sorted by Soundex when preforming Soundex based searches so that you will know which searches locate what names so that you don’t needlessly perform the same search.

After all, Trantvetter and Trontvetter have the same Soundex code. A Soundex search for Trantvetter will find Trontvetter.

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No Kids, Never Had Siblings, and Died With Some Cash

Is there a relative who never had any children of their own, had no siblings and died owning enough property to require a probate or an estate settlement?

If so, the records of that settlement may be particularly interesting. The deceased person’s heirs-at-law typically would have been their first cousins or their first cousin’s descendants. Even if there was a will, these heirs-at-law typically would have had to have been notified of the probate. Those records could help determine relationships and indicate where people were living at the time the relative died.

These estate or probate records would typically be filed at the local court level.

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Mapping it out in Pencil

Sometimes it is simply faster to mark up a map with what you know–especially when people of the same name are moving around and appearing in a variety of records.

Failing to acknowledge geography can cause problems.

And sometimes it is simply faster to notate in pencil as you are thinking. There will always be time later to make a neat copy if necessary.

Sometimes making a neat copy slows me down and I lose my train of thought.

I always have blank copies of maps on paper so I can start taking notes “geographically” when necessary.

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Every Step in that Provenance

I wish I knew more of how this trunk came to my possession.

All I know is that it has my aunt’s name on it (Ahltje Goldenstein) and her destination (Keokuk Junction, Ills.). I purchased it from an antique dealer about 10 years ago in Keokuk, Iowa. She would only say that she purchased it an estate sale and that it was wrapped in burlap when she got it.

That was all.

If you have ancestral ephemera or artifacts, have you documented their ownership from the first person to the present? It can help you and others determine if the story is true and it helps to preserve that ownership story for future generations.

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Five Year Gap?

If you have a chronology for an ancestor and, during their adult lifetime, you have five year gaps where you are not certain where the ancestor lived or what they were doing, try and locate a record to provide that information. Answering those questions may help you determine more about where the ancestor was from and what her origins were.

  • Did they head west?
  • Were they in an institution?
  • Did they have a financial setback?
  • Did they have a “short-term” marriage that did not last?

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make.

A Remainderman

A remainderman usually is someone whose title to property does not become realized until the termination of the ownership of that property by a former owner. Usually this former owner has a life estate in the property and usually has been given that life estate by someone else.

Mimke wills his wife Antje a life estate in his real property and then at her demise title is to pass to his children Johann, Jann, and Metha. Johann, Jann, and Metha are the remaindermen.

Mimke’s will may not use the word “remaindermen,” but it’s possible they are referred to by that term in other legal documents.

 

Before You Plow On

If you have been fortunate to locate new information on a family–particularly new names, dates, and locations: stop.

  • Take time to organize the information.
  • Cite the sources.
  • Put it in your genealogical database.
  • Then continue on your research.

Otherwise “the stack” just gets bigger to the point where you don’t know what you have and what you don’t and your research starts to go in circles.

It can be exciting to locate new information. It can be boring to organize it and put it into your computer. But it can be frustrating to be stymied in your research later because you refused to organize anything you found.

Consistent Occupation?

As you trace a relative over time and through various records, make certain the occupations listed for him (if they are given) are relatively consistent over time and with his age and probable educational status. While occupations can change and evolve during an ancestor’s life, the change should usually not be dramatic.

Or if there is a dramatic change, there should be a reason for it–war, economic depression, etc.