Never Really Changed the Name

If your male ancestor died, is it possible that the mother married again and that her children with the first husband are listed in subsequent records with their step-father’s last name? Children could easily be enumerated in census records with the mother and actual step-father under his last name with no real indication that he was not the biological father and regardless of whether he legally adopted them or not.

Did It Really Happen There?

When you cannot find a record in the expected location, ask yourself if you are really certain the event took place in that spot. Do you have good information to cause you to believe that or are you operating under a hunch? That hunch could be wrong. Did a couple go a distance from home to elope? Did your great-grandparents live in another state for a year and that’s where one child was born? Was great-grandma living with a daughter out of state when she died? The event may not have taken place where you think it did–especially if if happened one hundred years before you were born.

My Blogs

For those who are new…

I currently write and maintain the following blogs:

  • Genealogy Tip of the Day 
    • One quick tip every day on a wide variety of topics–meant to be short, quick, and to the point.
    • Postings on a variety of research topics–difficulties with websites, quick analysis of records or sources, some opinion, research methdology, etc. No press releases, no “news,” and no posting  of offers from database providers, equipmentn sellers, etc.
  • Genealogy Transcriber
    • One piece of handwriting posted everyday–can you read it?
  • Search Tip of the Day
    • A database search tip–published irregularly–not really every day, but I don’t post something just so I can say i posted something every day. Focuses on database and web searching.
  • Casefile Clues Blog
    • A blog that complements my fee-based how-to newsletter, Casefile Clues.

Viewing or subscribing to the above blogs are free.


A surety is one serves as a guarantor on bond or other obligation such as a debt. If the person signing the bond performs their obligation, the surety does not have to “do anything.” If the person pays their debt, the surety does not have to pay it. If the person signing the bond does not perform as indicated on the bond, the surety is at financial or legal risk. The the person who is supposed to pay the debt does not pay, the surety becomes obligated.

How Easy To Confuse

In some locations, there are places that have similar sounding names that could easily be confused. Did someone confuse Bedford and Bradford Counties in Pennsylvania? Did someone confuse Williamsfield in Illinois with Williamstown?

A few letters may not “really” change the sound, but they may very well change the location by a hundred miles or more.

Happy 2013 from Genealogy Tip of the Day

We’re a just under the wire in wishing readers a “Happy New Year.”

Happy 2013! Hopefully you are ready to continue your family history discoveries in the new year.

 Fans and viewers have called our webinars one of the best genealogical bargains around. Today, to celebrate the beginning of 2013, we’re offering a coupon code through 11:45 PM 2 January 2013 that will reduce your webinar purchase price by 60%.

Coupon code is yearend

View the list of webinars here:
This is the last webinar email you will receive from this email address–if you would like updates about webinar offerings, please email to be added. 

Thanks for your support in 2012! It is appreciated.


Refresh, Review and Remind

The first of the year is a good time to look at a problem (or two) that you’ve not looked at in some time, reviewing the material and reminding yourself of the key elements of the problem.

Consider putting away for a while some families that have given you difficulties and work on a person or situation you have ignored for some time. Letting it sit for a while may allow you to come back with a fresh perspective.

Happy 2013!