Check with your local library and determine if they have access to subscription databases that may be helpful in your research. There are obvious ones like, Fold3, HeritageQuest, but also academic databases, periodicals, etc. may be useful in your research. Academic journals may contain historical articles related to the area where your ancestor lived and while they may not mention your ancestor specifically, the history may be helpful. And these articles often contain references that may provide additional information. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
In some cities, streets have been renamed and renumbered. If your family lived in the same house from 1880 through 1930, make certain the address didn’t change during that time period. Chicago had major changes to addresses in 1909, and other cities did as well. Before you type that 1890 address into Google Maps or another modern map site, make certain the address hasn’t changed. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
I was working with tax lists while at the Family History Library in May. In my excitement over finding relatives  in a 1831 tax list, I almost neglected to copy the headings for the tax lists. The headings were on the first page, not the page I copied. Fortunately I copied the page with the headings as well. If  had just copied the page with the names I wanted, I would have been out of luck. The page with the names I need is posted here (without headings) Always make certain the headings are on the page you have or get them if they are on a previous page. It may be a cliche, but haste can make waste. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the […]
If you have lost a female relative, have you considered whether or not they are really lost at all? They may simply be “hiding” under a new last name due to a marriage. If the time frame is after the 1850 US census, or any census that names all household members, look at the wives in nearby households. Is there one that has a female with the name of the “missing” person who has the age to be the missing person. It may be that what you are missing is simply the marriage record. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Have you gone through your computer and paper files and organized them lately? Do you have multiple copies of the same things? Do you have stacks of papers or files on your computer you have not organized and completed data entry on? A good task would be to organize information in that “pile,” before you forget why you saved or copied it and before something happens to it. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If you are not certain how to spell the name of a location, do not know where it is actually located, and have never seen the place on a map, look them up. Knowing the actual spelling, knowing the actual location (township, county, etc.) and seeing it on a map can cut down on “brick walls.” ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
When you find a deed for an ancestor in a record book, be certain that you look a few pages before and after the located record. People could not easily get to town to have legal documents recorded and materials might have been recorded in batches. There could be several of your ancestor’s documents filed and recorded together. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If you have found what looks like a deed where heirs are settling up real estate after a death, try and access other records if at all possible. Deeds are notorious for not clearly delineating relationships–after all, the people in the deed know the relationship and the purpose of the deed is not to leave a complete and accurate genealogy. Sellers on a settlement deed may be children and grandchildren, or nieces and nephews/great-nieces and great-grandnephews, or all cousins of varying degrees of relationships. Try and access court and probate records along with other materials to refine relationships that are hinted at in what appears to be a deed settling up an estate. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Sometimes it pays to get that document or record when you “think you know everything.” One reason is that you might be incorrect in what you “think” you know. The other is that the record may contain an uncommon notation or comment providing information you never even thought about it providing. Sometimes the greatest discoveries are in those records where we think we “don’t need that record” because we already know what’s on it. You may be surprised. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the materials that the Family History Library has on microfilm and in digital format. But the individuals who enter in the catalog descriptions are human and sometimes are not intimately familiar with the materials they are cataloging. Once in a while years of items will be slightly off. I’ve seen records that indicated the materials ended in 1915, but the index was also filmed and it went through the 1930s. I’ve also seen church records where the first few pages of the communion registers contained a brief handwritten history of the church. Sometimes you’ll make unexpected finds in records that the LDS Family History has on microfilm. Use the catalog descriptions as a guide, not as script set in stone. ———————————— Check […]
Don’t forget that records regarding your ancestor might have been created at several government levels: local–such as town, city, or township records county level records state level records federal level records The importance of searching all jurisdictions is applicable anywhere, not just the United States. The names of the government levels may be different, but the layers still exist. And don’t forget church records, which also may have local records and records at a national level—usually records of former churches or parishes that have been transferred to an “archives” for preservation. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
When searching local court records, remember that they typically appear in the plaintiffs’ index once and in the defendants’ index once. Cases involving several people will not usually be indexed under every name of every party. For this reason, it is imperative you search for all family members in court record indexes as the case will not necessarily be indexed under your direct ancestor’s name. The days of full-name indexes to court records are far away-if ever. Until then, these search techniques are still necessary. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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Even if you think your ancestors never lived anywhere else, consider the possibility they were somewhere else, even if for a short time. A young married couple may have left “home” for a few years, only to return and stay for the rest of their lives. A couple with young children may have homesteaded for two or three years, only to decide it “wasn’t for them.” Keep in mind these stories of being “gone” for a short time don’t always get passed down and sometimes even get forgotten by the time someone’s asking questions about family history. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
I’ve been using the 1865 Illinois State Census at FamilySearch. Between the poor handwriting, the faded ink, and the non-English names, it has been easier to search page by page to find the people I am looking for. If you have people you cannot find in a specific record and you have a reasonably good idea of where they were living, go back and manually search the records if at all possible. I’ve found quite a few of my 1865 people in the Illinois State Census–most of them by searching one page at a time. Sometimes that’s what has to happen. And the guy in Chicago I may never find. We’ve mentioned this before, but the need to sometimes manually search is one that most of us need […]
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