Is That Odd First Name a Clue?

Is there a first name in your family that gets passed down from generation to generation and is somewhat unusual? Was it possibly someone’s maiden name? While that’s possible, don’t hold to that theory too closely–it’s also possible that the unusual name came from a non-relative. Unusual names are clues to potential information about a relationship, not proof.

When Moving to a New State

When your research crosses a border into a state where you have never done research, put the ancestor away. Learn something about research and records in the state. Visit the website for the state archives, state historical society, state historical library, etc. Learning something about the materials that may be available to you may help you more than immediately digging away using approaches that worked elsewhere.

Genealogy Fundamental Webinars Rescheduled

March 2012 Fundamental Webinars

Rescheduled due to illness–see new dates below

Our fundamental webinars are each approximately 20 minutes in length. These short session are geared for beginner or somewhat experienced beginners who would like to learn more about the following topics. Each presentation includes the 20 minute or so presentation and the handouts. Downloads of previous fundamental webinars can be ordered here.

  •   Quick Google Ideas—this is geared towards the advanced beginner to intermediate genealogist as all the fundamental webinars. Our focus will be on searching, what to search for and how to search for it. Runs on 13 April 2012 at 2:30 PM CentralRegister for $2.
    ·         Organizing Census Searches—querying census databases to locate hard-to-find ancestors is necessary. Organizing the search is necessary as well. Through three quick examples, get ideas for how to organize your online census searching for those ancestors you cannot find in five quick minutes. Runs on 13 April 2012 at 12 PM CentralRegister for $2.
    ·         Comparison Shopping (Part 1)—We will see some elementary ways to determine whether the person/family you have found on a passenger manifest or census is the same family you’ve located on a census elsewhere. Runs on 20 April 2012 at 10:30 AM CentralRegister for $2.
    ·         Proving Florence—how I found the father of an 1870 Iowa bride when there’s no direct proof. Not a really difficult to understand problem, but one that many researchers encounter. The solution is not too difficult but we’ll see how the search and the “proof” was organized. Runs on 20 April 2012 at 11:30 AM CentralRegister for $2.

    If you have ALREADY REGISTERED–you are still registered and will get a download link if you were not able to attend the new time. 

Rescheduled Webinars, 1940 Census, Preparing for Mother’s Death

We have rescheduled my missed webinars and posted the new schedule. If you have already paid and registered–you’re still good to go for the ones that I had to reschedule. 

Our upcoming lineup:

Genealogical Proof Standard (rescheduled)
Proving Benjamin (rescheduled)
Sourcing in Your Ancestry Tree (rescheduled)
1940 Census–NEW!
Preparing for Mother’s Death-NEW!

The new schedule is online at:

If you have questions, email me at

All Those Releases of Dower

If your ancestor bought and sold property after property, the deed work can be tedious. However if he were married during those land transactions, his wife would have had to “release” her dower when the property was sold. The name of the wife on those releases could provide clues as to the existence of more than one wife and approximately when he was married to which one. A Mary releasing dower in 1802 and 1805 and a Susannah releasing dower in 1810 and 1817 could be a good clue.