If the members of a household were not all the children of the same father, keep in mind that the census taker might have simply assumed everyone in the household had the same last name, whether they did or not.  Step-children might be listed with the step-father’s last name, even though he never adopted them at all and they never used his last name themselves. Grandchildren enumerated with grandparents might be listed with the grandparent’s last name, even though they never actually used that name.  ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Consider getting a separate email address for your genealogy research and correspondence. There are several places to get free email addresses, Yahoo, Hotmail, Google, to name a few. You shouldn’t have to change it if your service provider changes, space is usually fairly generous, and web-based interfaces make it easy to check anywhere. And for some of us, it helps to keep genealogy emails separate from those in our “other life.” ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
As you use family sources, interviews with Grandma, and stories that were passed down in your family to begin your research, keep in mind that there might be key details that relatives either forgot or intentionally neglected to tell you. They can be as innocent as forgetting that great-grandpa lived in Idado for ten years and “came back home.” Or they can be intentional, as in forgetting that Grandpa had a wife before he married Grandma and that he had five children with the previous wife. Omissions can be inconsequential or serious roadblocks to your research. They can also be things Aunt Myrtle simply forgot or something cousin Harold never wanted you to find out. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
I was using a burial register from England in my research. I had to constantly remind myself that the dates listed in the register were dates of burial, not dates of death. In most cases, the individuals probably had not been deceased long, but I need to make certain I record the information correctly. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Depending on the time period, the location, the number of nearby relatives and your ancestor’s financial status, your ancestor might never have had a tombstone. Don’t assume that every person buried in a cemetery had a stone, even at one point in time. It’s possible there never was one. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
In the 1900 census, Tom is listed as Bob’s stepchild and Bob is married to Mary. Don’t assume that Tom is Mary’s child and that she had a previous relationship.  Bob could have had a wife previous to Mary who was Tom’s mother and that’s how Tom became Bob’s stepchild.  ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Regular readers may remember that I’m working on a couple who likely got married in Canada–somewhere. The difficulty is that I do not know where. I do know that the couple had children born in Canada and that the husband’s brother probably lived nearby for at least a time. To increase the chance I find the name of that town, I’m looking at all the ancestor’s Canadian born children, his brother’s Canadian born children, and children of all those children in case some record mentions that village. And the child from whom I descend wasn’t even born in Canada. But the hope is that one of these people may mention where they (or their parent) was born–and that’s what I need! ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip […]
Remember that spouses aren’t necessarily buried in the same cemetery–or even in the same state. One ancestor died in Indiana in 1861 where he is buried and another is buried in Iowa where she died in the 1870s. And one aunt is buried at the veteran’s home in Iowa where she died and her husband was buried at the veteran’s home in Kansas where he died. So they might have been together in life, but not in burial! ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
This phrase typically refers to a married woman and one whose legal rights are controlled by her husband. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Get yourself out of your research rut and perhaps make a discovery in the process. I decided to spend a little time researching the man who fathered a child with my aunt in Iowa in the 1870s. They never married according to her Civil War pension. Searching him caused me to discover an error on FamilySearch and realize that this father received a pension for his own military service. Now I’m wondering if his pension mentions his daughter, which could help me find her. All from searching for a collateral. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Peter Bieger immigrated to the States about 1847, probably settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married there in 1849 and by late 1850, he was in Illinois, where he purchased a small home/tavern. The best place to search for his Germanic origins: Illinois. Peter left only two records in Ohio, none of which name any witnesses or associates. His 1856 estate settlement and guardianship for his children has the names of several witnesses and associates, most of which appear to be Germanic in origin. Searching these associates may provide some clue to his origins–and should be done before continued work in the larger Cincinnati area where the number of Germans is much larger. Sometimes the best approach to immigrants is to completely research them in the area of settlement. […]
Before you spend time looking for someone in a census record, make certain they were living at the time. I realize that occasionally someone who has been dead gets enumerated in a census, but someone who died in 1875 should not be listed in the 1880 or 1881 census. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
When working out any lineage, especially a new one, keep approximate years of birth in mind for the parents, children, grandparents, etc. and always be asking yourself “Could these people be old enough to have these children/grandchildren?” It won’t help you catch every mistake, but there will be the occasional one. I thought the ages for a recent “theory” of my own did not fit, but realized that a man born in 1770 could have a son born in 1788 and that son could easily have also had a son born in 1819. Sometimes the ages will make you realize the people you think fit together, do not. And other times it means you’ve got more research to do. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the […]
Sometimes you have to admit that you are spinning your wheels, the facility (or website) you are using does not have what you need, or that you need help. I’ve been working on an ancestor in New York and Michigan over the last couple of days at the Ft. Wayne Library. I realized that the published genealogies I had been using were pretty much “copying” each other and that the answer to my question was not in any published sources and that what I actually need to utilize are local records in one of the two counties where the family lived. Until I access those records, more time in print materials/websites probably isn’t going to help me. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Use unusual names for clues, but don’t conclude that they have to be the same person. I was looking for the parents of a man, lets call him Ebenezer Whatshisname, who was aged 61 in the 1850 census for Michigan and was from New England and old enough to have had children born by 1820. There’s another Ebenezer Whathisname whose father was in the Revolutionary War from New York and received a pension. Researchers concluded both Ebenezers were the same person. When you read the pension application of this soldier father, he states that his Ebenezer was born in 1810—towards the end of his group of approximately 12 children all listed chronologically. Could there be a connection between the two Ebenezers? Certainly. But don’t assume an unusual name […]
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