There are actually many things you should do before hiring a professional researcher to take on your problem. However, to keep the tip short, we’ll say for today that you should 1) organize what you already have; 2) write down what it is you really want to know; and 3) admit that not every problem will have a solution. That’s a good start. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Remember that vital events are to be recorded in the place where the event took place, which may not be where the persons were actually living at the time. People die in hospitals in counties or states where they did not live and occasionally cross state lines to get married. Deeds need to be recorded where the property was located. Estates need to be probated in the county or jurisdiction where the bulk of the property is located. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If your ancestor changed his name in the United States before 1900, chances are it was unofficial and done “without paperwork.” Proof of the name change may be indicated on a deed or in an estate settlement where the individual is referenced by a former and the current name. In some situations there may be no direct document linking the two individuals. Some name changes were done in a court of record, but many were not. My children’s ancestor was born William Frame in Chicago in 1888. For reasons that are currently unknown, he took the name William Apgar by the time he married. There’s a chance he was adopted, but even if he was in that era the adoption likely would not have left any records either. […]
I just finished the final installment in my Brick Walls from A to Z webinars. Twenty-six new genealogy stumbling block breakers in alphabetical order. This session is geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers and is not geared towards any specific geographic location. The Brick Wall series has been fun, but I’m looking forward to creating new material. And besides, I’m running out of things I can use for “X.” The recording and handout can be ordered for $8.50. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
A bondsman on an executor’s or administrator’s bond is guaranteeing that if the executor or administrator of the estate runs off with the estate’s property without paying the bills of the estate that the court can come after the individuals who signed the executor’s or administrator’s bond. So generally speaking, if someone signed the bond your ancestor posted as an estate administrator, that bondsman trusted your ancestor enough to know that he wouldn’t run off leaving unpaid bills of the estate. And the judge knew that the bondsmen were “worth enough” to cover the value of the estate if the administrator defrauded the estate. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Of all the webinars, the “Brick Walls from A to Z” series has been the most popular. Recorded copies are available in my webinar archives but we’re going to put on one last A2Z webinar.  Tomorrow, 15 April 2012 we will offer our FINAL “Brick Walls from A to Z” webinar. This will be the last new one. Previous attendees have been requesting one more installment in this series, but tomorrow’s session at 1:30 PM Central Standard Time will be the final live run. Geared for beginning and intermediate researchers, this session will include a PDF copy of the handout and registration for the live version is limited.  There will be time for questions and answers afterwards. Sign up for this last session in the series is only $5–less than […]
When you’ve got a document where your ancestor made several statements, consider how likely it was that he knew each statement. Chances are there are some facts he was more likely to know than others. In some cases, your ancestor might not have been entirely right or entirely wrong and the reality might have been somewhere in between. This is potentially the case with a census record or death certificate where the informant may be answering several questions at the same time. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
Creating Research Plans Webinar My webinar on “Creating Research Plans” has just been processed and is ready for download. I discuss how to create your research plans, how to set goals, how to not set goals, when you are proving and when you are not, and other key concepts. Of course, we have a few charts as well. Our attempt is to be down-to-earth and practical. I realize that most genealogists are not going to write journal articles, however our research needs to be as thorough as possible and our analysis and method well-thought out or we’re not going to get the best possible story on great-great-grandma that there is. This presentation is geared towards intermediate researchers, but advanced beginners might get some benefit from it as well. […]
Genealogical research many times is more about establishing a relationship between two people than it is determining a date precisely. Connecting a parent to a child is usually more important than proving someone was born on the 15th or the 16th of January of 1823. Knowing a date of birth to the month is usually sufficient. It’s connecting a husband to a wife or a mother to a daughter that is usually key and where we don’t have wiggle room like we do with dates.  In genealogy, it’s often about the relationship more than it is the date. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
An affidavit in a Civil War pension file was made by two men with the same last name. No relationship was stated, but I concluded two things immediately: the two men were somehow related the men lived near each other After all, it was a joint affidavit signed by both of them. They even lived in the same state. Turns out that they lived 300 miles from each other. Thanks to my Casefile Clues proofreader for catching my rather glaring error. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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 20 April 2012 at 2:30 PM Central. Register 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 […]
If I’ve got three sources that say the same thing then the statement they make is correct. Not necessarily. If source A, source B, and source C agree–do you know where source B and source C got their information? Did they get it from source A? If so, then you really don’t have three sources–you’ve got two sources that copied from another. It can’t always be done, but you want sources that were created independently of each other. An obituary, death certificate and tombstone agreeing about the date of birth doesn’t mean the information they provide about the date of birth is correct–it could mean they have the same informant. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If it’s been a while since you’ve looked at Casefile Clues, we’ve changed out our free samples for two new ones just tonight–10 April 2012 We’ve initiated new download procedures for free samples of Casefile Clues. Visit this page, click “checkout” and enter your email  You do NOT need Paypal, you do NOT need a credit card, (name is actually optional). Do need an email address. You will not be asked for a credit card or any other information. Your email will not be shared. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
If you estimate someone’s year of birth, in your notes/sources/documentation, include how you arrived at that estimation. Some time later you may want to recall why you thought that estimated date was correct. No one’s memory is 100% and including your reason may help you to re-evaluate that date if necessary. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
There is a difference between being someone’s heir and being their descendant. A descendant “descends” from the person–is their child, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc. An heir is someone who (usually according to state statute) is entitled to a share in a deceased person’s estate. If the deceased person had living children, they are usually heirs. The children of a deceased child would also be heirs.If the deceased had no children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. (and left no surviving spouse) then their heirs could be their siblings, or their first cousins, depending upon the family structure. And of course, the definition of heir is dependent on statute–so check that out for the time period of interest as well. ———————————— Check out GenealogyBank’s Offer for Tip of the Day Fans!
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