Pick Another Year

If you’re weary of the 1940 census hype, pick another year–say 1925. For that year, think about where each ancestor or relative would be living at that point in time. Do you know where that would be? Do you have a city directory listing for them if they were city dwellers?

And if 1925 is too recent for you, try 1825.

Preserve the Order

When names are listed in an estate settlement or any similar record, don’t change the order in which the names are listed as there may be some method to the ordering of the names. I used one estate record where the heirs were listed by family group, even though that was not stated in the record. Of course, the ordering of names is not even close to solid proof, but it can be a clue.

And sometimes the order of the names can be fairly random. That’s why the order of names isn’t solid proof!

Did They Switch Middle Initials?

Did your married female ancestor use her middle name for her middle initial in one record and her maiden name for her middle initial in another? It happens. My children’s great-grandmother is Grace A. Johnson in some records and Grace M. Johnson in others. The A. is for her middle name Alice. The M is for her maiden name of Mortier.

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French Revolutionary Calendar

French records dated from 22 September 1792 and 1 January 1806 follow the French Revolutionary Calendar.

There is more about the calendar at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar
and at FamilySearch https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/French_Republican_Calendar

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Do You Have Backups?

We’ve run this tip before, but it is a good one to repeat.

Do you have backups of all your data in separate places? Are there documents or pictures you have not scanned? Do you have paper copies that are the “only one?”

Think about that. Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.com, etc. will be around tomorrow. Will your only paper copy?

It Is All About Context

Years ago a fellow researcher located a baptismal entry for a family who had their child while living a distance from other family members. The researcher only copied the entry for the one child, not looking at any other entries. The couple only had one child baptized in that specific church. 

Because of the way the baptismal record was written, the researcher concluded that the child was born out of wedlock.
When I viewed the microfilmed records myself years later to get a better copy, I noticed that the relative’s entry was not unusual at all–in fact it followed the same format used by the pastor in all the baptismal entries. There was nothing irregular about the child’s birth or baptism.
Always look at entries in context. Picking out just one may cause you to see things that simply are not there.