Years ago, I wrote a county in Virginia and asked for the marriage register entry for my ancestors. The county office sent me a copy of their 1798 entry in the marriage register. I didn’t ask for anything else and they didn’t send anything else. Imagine my surprise when a relative sent me copies of the corresponding marriage bonds. I asked her where she got them and the reply was the same courthouse where the marriage register copy had been obtained. The difference was that she knew to also ask for the marriage bonds and at that time, I didn’t. Are you asking for everything? ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
When copying or scanning an entry from a record, particularly one that is handwritten “free-form” in some type of journal, copy at least the entire page on which the entry appears. Copy a page before and after if possible. It makes it easier to interpret handwriting and the entry later, particularly if the person who wrote the record abbreviated, had difficult to read handwriting, etc. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Remember that some records, particularly church records, may have no page numbers. Creating a citation for these records can be difficult. Often the best way is to include the name of the village, the type of record (christenings, marriages, funerals, etc.) and the year. Do something–so you or someone else can find the record again if you need to. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
I know not everyone uses a research log, but at least try and leave yourself an audit trail or enough breadcrumbs to retrack your research steps. It can be exciting to be finding new information, but to go back later and remember “why” something was obtained or “how” this “new” person fit can be difficult. Type notes, send yourself emails,, but do something to record why you were doing what you were doing as you were doing it. Sometimes the reasons are obvious, but other times they are not. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Skipping the introduction to a book, microfilm, or any record can create research problems and make brick walls even worse. Declarations of intent were destroyed in a 19th century fire in Hamilton County, Ohio. They were copied from the damaged originals and those copied records were kept and eventually microfilmed. A cover sheet indicated potential difficulties with the records. If I had just skipped to the entry I needed, I never would have learned that it was believed that a significant number (never specifically stated) had errors. And that was something I need to know. Don’t just jump to the index or the page you need. Authors don’t just create introductions and prefaces to fill space. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Search boxes that allow us to quickly find census and other records have changed the way genealogists locate many records and save time. However, there is still an advantage to browsing through that census record when one family has been located using an index. Read other names on the same page and adjacent pages. There may be other family members you did not think to look for, or whose names are so mangled they were not located using indexes. Also pay attention to the places of birth for these near neighbors-they may have followed the same path of migration as your ancestor as well. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
So you’ve found your ancestor in a personal property tax list? What was required to be in the tax list? Did the person have to be a certain age, have a certain amount of personal property, etc.? If you don’t know the criteria for appearing on the list, you may be interpreting something incorrectly. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Not every location organizes records in the same way. A marriage index indicated my wife’s great-grandparents were married in Burlington, Iowa. I had the date, the location, and their names. I figured with the date it would not be difficult to find their actual marriage record. When viewing the records on microfilm, I assumed they were filmed in order of license number, or perhaps by date. I looked and they seemed to be in random order. Then I realized that the records had been sorted by the name of the groom! ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
In reading through Civil War pension applications, the one thing that amazes me is the number of people who really didn’t know when they were born. Some people did know their date of birth and gave their age consistently. Others apparently only knew their approximate age. Is that why Grandpa’s age varies from one census record to another? ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Every so often, read an article, blog post, etc. about a family or location completely unrelated to your personal research. You likely won’t find information on your own family. But sometimes reading about something with which you are unfamiliar gets you thinking “outside the box” on your own family and causes inspiration to strike. And sometimes it just gets you out of that rut. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Every few weeks take a look at what is on FamilySearch http://www.familysearch.org. New information is being added on a regular basis. We are talking about indexes to actual records and images of actual records here, not compiled genealogies and submitted “trees.” ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Is it possible that some of your ancestor’s children were sent to live with neighbors or strangers? That may explain why you cannot find them as children in a census. Your ancestors might not have been able to take care of all fifteen children, or an older relative without children of their own may have needed some extra help around the house or the farm. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Make certain when you get a copy of a deed or transcribe a land record that you look at where the deed was acknowledged. Those acknowledgements ¬†might have been done a distance from where the property was located (and where the deed was recorded). If the sellers have moved or are heirs who never lived in the area, those acknowledgements may give a clue as to where they were living at the time the deed was executed. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If you are travelling a distance to do research, , do more than just make certain the records office will be open when you are planning to arrive. Find out if there are any days to “avoid” using the facility. Some small courthouses have court on certain days of the week only–these are days to avoid. If you arrive when offices are being remodeled, accessing things may be difficult. And you may be told to wait to come until “Gertrude comes back from vacation. She knows where everything is.” It’s not always possible to schedule a visit perfectly, but sometimes you can maximize the chances you have the best research experience possible. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
In answer to several questions, here is a summary of our freebies: Michael’s article “Brick Walls from A to Z”–email your request to brickwallsa2z@gmail.com 2 Free issues of Casefile Clues–,my weekly newsletter–email your request to samples@casefileclues.com 1 Free Issue of Casefile Clues for Beginners—our bi-monthly newsletter–email your request to beginner@casefileclues.com Thanks! Feel free to spread word of this offer–the direct link is:http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com/2011/06/freebies-we-have.html ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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