Don’t Assume They Were Not In the Newspaper

I spent a some time experimenting with a Chicago newspaper database recently, hoping to find a death notice for a relative there. The man worked for the Pullman Car Company in the paint shops and I knew I’d be lucky to get a death notice at all.

No death notice. But he was mentioned in the society pages when his daughter came to visit and apparently he was actively involved in several local social clubs where he held offices.

Don’t assume your ancestor won’t be in the paper. I didn’t get the death notice, but I did get a few clues.

Get “Using US Census at” Webinar Free Today

We offered this to our Facebook fans yesterday and are repeating it here. You can get my webinar “Using the US Census at” free by using code uscensus at 

Simply put “Using US Census at” in your cart and use “uscensus” as your coupon code.


Plan Before Your Courthouse Trip

Avoid making unplanned genealogy trips a distance from where you live–particularly if you are unfamiliar with the hours and the facility. Make certain the facility will be open. If visiting the office that holds court records, find out what day(s) of the week are court days and try to avoid those days.

Consider not making your last day of research Friday–that way you’ve got an extra day if you make a last minute discovery.

New Webinars-Crossing Pond Pt 2 & Revolutionary Material at Fold3

I have put two new webinars on the docket for later this month, based upon requests of attendees. 

“Crossing the Pond (part 2)” will concentrate on using, interpreting, and understanding passenger lists between 1820 and 1920.

“American Revolutionary War Material on Fold3” will discuss what revolutionary material is on Fold3 and effective search strategies. Material from this era is not just for veterans of that conflict.

Details are located at the site below (where you can also register). Join us by visiting:



Guardian of the Estate Not the Body

If your ancestor died with a widow surviving with minor children, a guardian might have been appointed by the local court. This guardian frequently was not the widow. The widow was the natural guardian who had physical custody of the child. The guardian appointed by the court was a guardian to oversee the estate the child inherited. The guardian of the child’s estate did not necessarily take custody of the child.

Celebrating My Trip to Sale Lake City with a Webinar Sale

To celebrate my annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake, we are running our $5 special from now until I depart for Salt Lake on Monday afternoon at 4:00 PM CST. Our $5 sale concentrates on a variety of methodology items, including:

  • Creating Research Plans
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard
  • Female Ancestors
  • Making and Proving Your Case
  • Court Records
  • Seeing the Patterns
  • and more.
To see the entire list and get the linking to the discount prices, visit this page:

We’re hoping to get new tip of the day ideas and blog post material in Salt Lake. Stay tuned.

Were the Rules Skirted?

Keep in mind that before 1906, naturalization procedures were not consistent throughout the United States and it is always possible that your ancestor had not quite met the residency requirements before he naturalized. Use dates of naturalization as estimates for when an ancestor immigrated–keeping in mind he might have lived in the United States longer than the minimum time or he might have shaved a year or two off for whatever reason.

Learn One New Thing

When was the last time you read up on a source or type of record that you know little about? When was the last time you read a how-to article or a research guide? Did you either read it online, without surfing on three other sites at the same time? Or did you print it out and read it and take notes on it while NOT looking at online databases and your email at the same time? Learning something new may help your research. Trying to learn it while not multi-tasking is a good idea as well.

Upcoming Seminars in Burbank, Kansas City, and Indianapolis

I will be making presentations at the following conferences over the next month.

Check out the blog posts for more information. And if you are in attendance–please introduce yourself as a blog reader. Thanks!