On one of my wife’s families, I  didn’t bother to get the will of the ancestor. In fact, I never looked for it. The records weren’t microfilmed and I already knew “everything” about the family from other records. If there was a will, it wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know anyway. Wrong. The will was short–“everything to my wife.” The order probating the will mentioned all the heirs, including a child in a mental institution, complete with the institution’s name and address. If possible, don’t leave records ignored because you “know everything.” There still may be clues in those materials. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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When viewing anyone’s military pension, regardless of the war, look at the act under which he was applying. Look at what types of service qualified under the act, length of service, etc. If a widow is applying look at the act and see if it mentions length of time married, whether she could have married him after the war, etc. There may be clues about your ancestor hiding in the act under which the application was made. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Ever wonder how fast the mail was one hundred years ago? There was a slight clue in an old pension file: Letter dated 3 May 1907, Washington, DC–sent to West Point, Illinois. Response to letter is dated 7 May 1907, West Point, Illinois. Response received 9 May 1907, Washington DC. The letter was a request for information in a pension file. There’s no guarantee of when anything was mailed and a date could easily be off, but the timeline was tighter than I thought it might be for 1907. Just something to think about. Are there clues about the speed of mail in an old record you have? ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Descendants of James Rampley (1803-1884) insisted he was the only member of his family who came west to Illinois from Ohio. “No other family members came here” was what I was told. James bought his first Illinois farm from a first cousin. His sons served in a Civil War unit with a near neighbor whose grandmother was a Rampley and another set of cousins lived about ten miles away. While the cousins ten miles away might not have been on James’ radar, he clearly knew about the others. The “no other family members” was not correct. What the teller of the story might have meant was that no one in James’ immediate family of siblings settled near him. That was true. Always look for relatives in the new […]
Having trouble finding that 100 year old cemetery? If it is in a town/city that published city directories, see if the directory had a list of cemeteries. Might be that a directory has an “old name” for a cemetery that’s not in modern materials, a location that’s not showing up in current directories, etc. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Witnesses on a document do not have to be related to the person signing the document. It a “genealogy legend” that they are. For wills, witnesses usually cannot be heirs or beneficiaries of the will. A witness just has to be of the age of majority and know the person signing the document. That’s it. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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If a deed of transfer for a piece of property or other item indicates that the only consideration is “love and affection,” there is a likely relationship between the seller and buyer on the property. In fact, it might not even be technically correct to refer to the grantee as as buyer. On these deeds the relationship among the parties is not always stated. Similarly, if the amount of the consideration on a deed is a token amount, say a “dollar,” that also might be a clue as to a potential relationship between the individuals involved. Deeds that say a “dollar and other valuable consideration” may be referring to a mortgage or other document also recorded on the property. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the […]
If your immigrant ancestor was a member of a denomination that practiced infant baptism and you have not determined who the sponsors were for all of his or her children, you could be missing out. There’s a good chance that sponsors were somehow related to the parents and if the parents cannot be traced across the pond, perhaps the sponsors can. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
In modern society for a variety of reasons, we are concerned about how our name gets spelled. Our ancestors were not so concerned. They didn’t worry about the various agencies, companies that had records on them that needed to be correct. I’m typing an 1820 era Kentucky court case and the last name of Bonham is spelled Berham, Benham, Burham, etc. There are times where the same last name is spelled several ways in one document. The key is that the name should sound the same. Another thing is when transcribing documents of this type, transcribe the name how it is spelled. Do not standardize the spelling. One reason is that the variant spellings give insight into how the name was pronounced by your ancestor. Another reason is […]
If you’ve located your ancestor in census records that provide ages and places of birth, consider making a chart or somehow listing each year, what year of birth the age implies, and the place of birth. How consistent are those years of birth? How consistent are those places of birth? A little variation is to be expected, but sometimes this can be a good way to realize that maybe you don’t have the same person in all those records. Or maybe you do, but make certain you’ve got reasons for why you “know” it’s the right person. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
When using original records, make certain that there are not more than one series of page numbers being used. United States census records are notorious for having multiple sets of page numbers, but other records can easily have more than one. Scan the entire page the record is on to make certain there are not multiple page numbers. If there are other page numbers, make a notation about which number you used, was it the printed one in the lower left hand corner, the handwritten one in the upper right, etc.? ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Is there a brick wall problem where you have an abstract of a record instead of the complete record? Is it possible the abstract includes a word of phrase transcribed incorrectly or a where a key phrase has been omitted? It’s possible that a detail the abstracter considered trivial (and left out) is key to your problem. Make certain you’ve got the complete records on all records for your “brick wall.” A small omission may be the key to your problem. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
I’ve started a new blog to complement Genealogy Tip of the Day. It’s called Search Tip of the Day. The new site will focus on websites, online search techniques, and other ways genealogists interact with computerized data. The website is http://genealogysearchtip.blogspot.com/. You can subscribe to updates to that blog via the site. This new site currently has no Facebook page and allows for moderated comments and follow up ideas. Suggestions are always welcomed. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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