Are You Pond Jumping Too Early?

For those with immigrant ancestors, it’s tempting to start researching in the home country as soon as they learn the country from which their ancestor came. However often that is not the best approach. Completely researching the immigrant in the area of settlement may give additional clues as to the specific point of origin or the names of relatives and associates in the new country who also lived near the immigrant in the old country.

What Goofiness Did You Get In Your Head?

In reviewing research on my Irish immigrants, I realized that somewhere along the line, I made an incorrect conclusion. I “got it in my head” that the bondsman on the 1865 marriage of my ancestors appeared as the bondsman on numerous bonds and probably was not a relative for that reason.

When I went back and reviewed the records, the bondsman was a bondsman on only one bond: the one for my ancestors.

All of which means that I need to research the bondsman more fully to determine if he had any relationship to my ancestors. Lessons:

  • review your research
  • check your assumptions
  • every so often, clean out the mental dust bunnies in your ancestral closet


New Live Webinars

I’m putting on what will be the last of my new webinars for a while as I’m getting back to research and writing. Our topics on Friday/Saturday of this week are:

  • Charts, Charts, and More Charts
  • Pre-1850 Research
  • Genealogical Terms and Definitions
  • Preserving Past You

Anyone registered will receive a complimentary copy of the download after the presentations have been recorded. Even if you can’t attend live, register and get the recorded copy a few days after the session. There are more details here.

The Legal Age?

Part of the work on a relative in upstate New York centered on searching for him in land records. In establishing a time frame in which he could appear in those records, it’s good for me to remember that he would not be purchasing real property before his twenty-first birthday. I don’t need to look for him in land records before he was of legal age.

Minors who obtain property through an inheritance usually can’t perform legal transactions on that property in their own name. If the property needs to be sold, a guardian typically is appointed to handle the transaction.

How Many Descendants Have You Tracked?

I’m “stuck” on my Thomas Chaney who died in 1856 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. In reviewing my material on him, I realized that I have several of his children who I have not tracked down. Of his nearly ten children who grew to adulthood, I have significant information on the descendants of one and a scattering of information on descendants of one other.

Maybe it’s time to research his children more fully than I have in hopes of locating more on him.

Take a Short Break

Sometimes getting away from your research for a few minutes and thinking about something else can be the best “brick wall” breaker there is.

Child Born Before the Marriage?

If a child is “born” before a couple married, consider several possibilities:

  • the date of marriage is incorrect
  • the date of birth for the child is incorrect
  • the wife/husband had a child out of wedlock
  • the “child” was adopted
  • etc.

Your first conclusion about the scenario may be correct. Or it may not be. Research the family as completely as possible, then see if a conclusion can be reached.

Marrying After A Divorce?

If your ancestor was divorced, do you know if there were any restrictions on when they could marry again? In some locations in some time periods, a divorced person may have had to wait a certain amount of time before they could marry again.


Thanks to those who purchased webinars during my closeout sale. To let people complete missed downloads, etc. the hosting service is still up and if you missed the chance to order you can still do so. Please note:

  • if you ordered presentations and had download issues, please let me know at so that this can be corrected before the end of the month
  • if you’d still like to order, we can take orders through the end of the month. Just make certain you download the file as soon as the download link comes through. You don’t have to view immediately.