Don’t write on your only copy of a document in an attempt to make it more legible. Transcribe it, make annotations on another copy (in the margin), etc. But do not write right on the copy itself. You may be wrong in your initial interpretation.
Genealogy Tip of the Day is written by genealogist Michael John Neill. Michal has actively researched his own genealogy for over thirty years in a variety of locations and time periods. He also leads research trips to the Family History Library and the Allen County Library in addition to giving seminars and workshops. “Tip of the Day” tips are meant to cover a wide range of time periods and geographic areas. While our concentration is on the United States, many of our suggestions apply to other areas. Not all tips will apply equally to all locations and time periods–sometimes they are just meant to get you thinking. Tips are not copied and pasted from anywhere. They are usually written while Michael is researching or writing. Sometimes they will be similar […]
The 1920 census lists New York native Mary Verikios as an alien. She lost her citizenship upon her marriage to unnaturalized Greek immigrant Peter Verikios. I’d forgotten about this until I stumbled upon a reference to A Nationality of Her Own which addresses the citizenship of US women before the 1922 passage of the Cable Act which separated a woman’s citizenship status from that of her husband. When Mary and Peter married his citizenship status became hers. That’s not true today.
When labeling pictures, writing family stories, or performing any type of research analysis, constantly remind yourself that what is obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else. We’ve all encountered the hundred year old newspaper article that omitted details we would love to know today were probably “obvious and well-known” at the time. What’s obviously obvious to one may not be so obviously obvious to another. And the line between being obviously obvious and being an incorrect assumption is a very fine one.
Are you including labels on your digital images of photographs? Include the “how” you know as well as what you know.
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Due to several requests, we’re offering another section of this popular class on US land records–join us. The class is informal and there’s no grade!
Some directories are titled as being a “city directory” but have broader listings in the back. This 1906 Quincy, Illinois, directory had a listing of rural residents in the county–in the back. Don’t let the title mislead you.
When searching for records of an estate settlement, keep in mind that it may be ten or twenty years before an estate is finally settled. This final settlement may appear in the probate records or the land records–or both. Thomas Sledd died in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1815. His land was finally partitioned among his heirs in 1831.
We’ve turned our webinar sales page back on now through 30 November. Don’ta wait! There are a wide variety of downloadable genealogy presentations–all with a focus on being practical, down-to-earth, and research oriented! Visit the page here. 
Some people research their family to find a Revolutionary War ancestor, a Mayflower ancestor, or a connection to another famous historical event. Instead of trying to connect to a specific event or person, focus on tracing your ancestry as accurately as you can. Be thankful for the ancestors and stories you do find.
Some city directories have a reverse directory in the back that lists residents based on their address. Don’t just quit when you find people in the alphabetical listing, make certain there’s not more in the back of the book.
A probate court typically is the local court where your deceased ancestor’s estate would be “settled up.” However there are times when the heirs cannot agree to the point where there is court action in a civil court or court of equity. Partition suits and other estate squabbles may be in a separate court file from the probate record–and may contain more detail, particularly if the case drug on for several years.
Receipts in probate files may give locations suggesting where the deceased lived. These references can be helpful in estate files where there is no real property to describe or locate.
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