Connections May Last Longer Than You Think

In some families relatives may have remained in contact decades after they last lived in close proximity to each other. I’m researching a family where some individuals immigrated from England to the United States in the 1820s, settling eventually in Philadelphia. Fortysome years later, a niece and her family immigrated from England as well and likely settled near (or with little logistical assistance from) the family who was already in Philadelphia.

Some families kept in touch over the years and some did not—just like today. In some ways it was more difficult, but it was not impossible.

Webinars Released: FamilySearch and Newspaper Research

We are proud to announce the release of the recorded version of my two latest webinars:

  • Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch  (NEW!)This webinar discusses ins and outs of using the “new” family search, searching by family structure, global searches, interpreting searches and troubleshooting. Also discussed are strategies when approaching an unindexed set of images, a new type of record series, or incomplete records. Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers. The digital version of the presentation and handout can be ordered for $8.50.
  • Newspaper Research  (NEW!)Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers, this webinar discusses research techniques for searching newspapers in digital, microfilm, and original formats. Pitfalls of using digital newspapers are discussed, along with manual search techniques and what types of materials to look for besides obituaries and death notices.  This presentation is not merely a list of online sites or an attempt to get subscribers to any specific database. The digital version of the presentation and handout can be ordered for $8.50
If you were originally signed up for these and missed them, you should have received a complimentary download. Please let me know if you need the download.

Have You Interacted with a Live Human on That Problem?

You have a genealogical problem. It does not really matter what it is. Have you interacted with another human being on that problem? Either asked a relative if they knew something; asked a question about the problem on a message board, mailing list etc. Have you discussed your problem with someone who knows something about the area and time period in which you are researching?

If the only person you’ve interacted with is the “person” inside your head—discuss the problem with someone else. You may be surprised at the result.

Have You Converted?

Remember in some cities, street names have changed in the last 150 years, houses have been renumbered, interstates have been built, etc. Make certain when using contemporary maps that you know what that 1860 address for your ancestor would be in modern times. Get it converted if you are unable to do it yourself. You may even discover that your ancestor’s former residence is now part of an interstate.

Even those with rural ancestors need to remember that county lines, township lines, may change–especially in the early days of settlement.

The Bordering Locations?

For every political jurisdiction in which your ancestor’s residence is located, do you know the bordering places? Do you know the township in which your ancestor lived and the bordering townships, the bordering states, provinces, etc.?

Do you know the names of the bordering parishes, etc. for use in church records?

Might be helpful to know these things.

Amended Certificates

Amended certificates, typically ones for birth, are typical “corrections” filed where the original was incorrect or incomplete. Birth certificates are more likely to be amended than any other record. Death records from fifty years ago have no need to be amended usually–wrong names do not typically matter.

Birth certificates are most likely to be amended because incorrect dates of birth, names of parents, etc. can create problems for the person still living.

February 2012 Genealogy Webinar Schedule Announced

We are excited about our webinar offerings for February of 2012.

Our topics are:

  • Creating Your Own Genealogy Blog
  • Yet More Brick Walls from A to Z
  • Writing and Making Your Case
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard “for the rest of us”
Registration is $5 per session until 20 January 2012–$8 after that. Those who cannot attend will be able to download the webinar at no additional charge. To view system requirements and offering dates and times, visit

Could They Get By Without a Record?

In the 21st century in many countries, it is difficult to function without a birth certificate. Settling up an estate may be difficult without a death certificate. This was not necessarily the case in 1912 or 1812. Your ancestor very easily might not have a record of his birth or death, particularly for events that took place two hundred years ago.

It would have been a little more difficult for your 1812 ancestor to function without deeds to his property, paying his taxes, or settling up his father’s estate. That’s why those records are more likely to exist. Records of property are often one of the earliest records–much earlier than who was born or who died.