Court cases and pension applications often contain affidavits and statements from witnesses. Sometimes these statements will indicate how long the person providing testimony had known the applicant or one of the parties involved in the case. Think about how long that was. Was it when the parties involved lived somewhere else? Maybe if you can’t trace the person of interest back in time and place, you can trace the witness to a previous residence and then may find the person of interest hanging out in the same location. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Remember that the date your ancestor “executed” a document is usually the date he signed it. It is different from a date when the document might have been proved in court by witnesses or recorded in a record book by a clerk. Depending upon the type of document “proof” dates or “recording” dates might be dates on which your ancestor was deceased. Dates of document execution are usually dates when your ancestor was alive. Dates of execution for criminal offenses may refer to a death date, however (grin!). ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Often it is necessary to estimate a date of an event. If you have to approximate a date of birth, marriage, or death, indicate your reason in your notes or sources. If you are estimating a marriage at twenty-one and using that and the year of marriage to arrive at an approximate year of marriage, indicate your reasoning as a part of your “source” for the birth year. Otherwise what was a “guess” can easily become a “fact.” If you are using the date of execution [MJN note: this should have been “proof or recording” see note below]of a will as a “dead by” date, you still need to indicate what made you think it was a “dead by” date–and don’t confuse a “dead by” date with an […]
I’m not going to make a 3,000 word long essay on starting your blog. Blogging is best done by learning. After you’ve made a few posts, messed around with a little bit, then you’ll be ready to get more out of detailed suggestions, guides, etc. Here’s my things to think about before putting anything in a blog post: Once you have put it online, you essentially have “lost control.” Someone else can use it, etc. You do have copyright to your paragraphs and pictures, but in some cases enforcing this will be difficult. If it is going to upset you that someone else took “your” birthdate for great-grandma and put it on their website without crediting you, don’t put it on your blog. Your blog posts: Should include […]
The informant on any record or document has their own perspective, their own agenda, and their own set of biases. Always be aware of this when analyzing information on any document. And if the informant is not specifically stated, and most are not, try to consider who the likely informant was. Remember that for most records, “proof” of information was not required and details were not cross-checked or referenced to other records. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Many have asked about starting your own blog for reasons discussed in today’s tip. You can create your own blog at Blogger for free on Google. The directions are fairly easy–and frankly, you’ll learn more just by starting, doing, and experimenting. We’ll post a followup in a few days with addition suggestions and ideas. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Creating a blog is easy. It may also help you to break down brick walls and make connections with others who could help with your research. Creating short posts about various ancestors, mentioning names, dates, places, and other details helps others to find your information. There are people interested in their genealogy who don’t post to message boards, don’t create trees at, Geni,com, or the other sites. They simply put some names in the search box at Google or another search engine and see what comes up. Your “trees” on one of the tree sites probably won’t come up. Your blog just might. Some people will see your information and use it without contacting you. And others will contact you–just like at any other site. In the […]
Several years ago on a trip to Missouri, we stopped in the town where my mother-in-law was born. The local library didn’t really have any genealogical materials, but they did have old high school yearbooks. I decided to look through them for a few of the older siblings who graduated from school there before the family moved to Moline, Illinois. I was really just hoping to get a few pictures. Imagine my surprise when in the “biography” of one of the older brothers it stated he attended part of his junior year in a Chicago area high school. I had never thought to ask this question  might never have if it had not been for the yearbook. Leads turn up in the most unusual of places. ———————————— Check […]
If your ancestor was a member of a religious denomination that practiced infant baptism, look at the names of the individuals who were sponsors for his or her children. In some ethnic groups and faith communities, sponsors were usually family members. Remember that it’s not just who the sponsors of your ancestor were, but also if there were any children for whom your ancestor was a sponsor. Finding those children may require a manual search of all the sponsors listed in a series of church records, which usually are organized by date of christening. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
A visit to a rural cemetery to visit my grandparents’ graves recently caused me to stumble a cross a couple who were using the back of the cemetery for an unintended purpose. In my case the encounter was harmless. Just remember that some cemeteries, particularly urban ones, may be in areas that today are unsafe. Find out first if the cemetery you plan to visit has any such issues. Is it better to visit in the day time? Is it wise to be there by yourself, etc.? Most cemeteries are safe places, but you never know. And always let someone know where you are going and have you cell phone with you, in addition to your genealogy supplies. ————————————
Microfilmed and digital copies of court packets usually contain the papers in the order they are when they were filmed or digitized. They may not be organized before filming of digitalization begins. Make certain you analyze the papers in the order they are dated or created. It will make more sense, make your analysis easier, and reduce the chance you misunderstand some things. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
The consideration in a land transfer is the money or other item that has been used to pay for a piece of real property. If it is a token amount, such as $1, or “love and consideration,” consider that there is a relationship among the buyers and sellers, even if a relationship is not stated. The relationship does not have to be stated for the document to be binding. And remember, the purpose of a deed is to transfer title to land, not leave a record of a family relationship. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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An administratrix is a female administrator of an estate. The term has fallen from use and is rarely used today. If you have a female relative as the administrator of an estate, see if certain women are unqualified to be administrators. In some time periods and locations, married women could not be appointed administrators of an estate. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Every so often I review various relatives and realize that I’m “missing” one or another in a certain census record. Sometimes I still don’t find them, but other times I discover that when I originally looked for them I must not have really looked all that hard. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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