If after your ancestor died and his widow later married a Civil War veteran, her pension application may mention that first husband and provide information on him. This application for Mary Butler gives the date of her first marriage and the date and burial place of her first husband’s death in 1876–before that state kept marriage records. 
We are offering a new section of this popular course beginning in March of 2016. There are more details on our informational page.
Most of us have asked someone a question or said something to someone only to have their response to us make it clear that they did not understand what we said. Is that why your relative gave “off-the-wall” answers to the census taker, records clerk, etc.? A person’s difficulty in understanding the question can be compounded by age, hearing difficulties, cognitive abilities, native language, etc. Do not assume that your relative really understood what they were being asked.
In the attempt to “prove everything,” some genealogists assume Grandma was wrong about everything she said. The reality is that the truth sometimes rests in between. My own Grandma insisted she “remembered” her baptism. I never argued about it, but people raised in the Lutheran or similar faiths typically are baptized as infants. That makes remembering difficult. When I located the record of Grandma’s baptism, it turned out she could have remembered it. She and two of her siblings were all baptized on the same day when she was five. The minister even came to their home to perform the ceremony.
If your relative’s last name is a word that is easily translated (such as a color or an occupation), is it possible that some records refer to him by that translated version of his name? Was your ancestor with the last name of White actually a German with a different original such as Weiß? Was your ancestor with the last name of Baker actually a Spaniard with the last name of Panadero?
Individuals who immigrated to the United States as minors were subject to a slightly different (shorter) naturalization process than those who immigrated as adults. As a result these naturalizations were sometimes filed separately from “adult naturalizations” in a separate book. In some counties, the minor naturalizations may be filed in a separate part of the book that contains the “normal” naturalizations. Individuals under the age of majority could not naturalize of their own accord.That’s not the way “minor” naturalization should be interpreted.
The first full week of March is Spring Break here and we’ve decided to take advantage of the opportunity and roll out a series of webinar presentations. All attendance is done virtually–you just have to be at your computer. Those who cannot attend live will receive complimentary copies of the presentation. Handout included. Join us! Enrollment is limited. Registration deadline is 8:00 am central time on 5 March 2016. Illinois Research 9 March 2016—11:00 am central time Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers, this presentation focuses on local Illinois records and recordkeeping procedures, what makes Illinois different, and larger statewide facilities. Register for Illinois Research ($8)   Preserving Past You 9 March 2016—1:30 pm central time Have you considered what will happen to your genealogical material when […]
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Some last names that begin with an “H” can easily be spelled or written without the “H.” Hanson becomes Anson Hoffman becomes Auffman Holstein becomes Stein and so on Always remain open to the possibility that an initial letter could be dropped when written in a record or document.
Courthouse record copies of land deeds, wills, and similar documents can easily contain the occasional error. This is particularly true from items recorded in the days when these copies were handwritten by a clerk. Sometimes the error is of little consequence and sometimes it is. The record copy of this 1812 will from Harford County, Maryland, leaves out the last name of the man to whom the testator has sold some property. Record copies are usually considered to be the legal equivalent of the original document. That does not mean they are error-free. 
I first read and transcribed the 1812 will of James Rampley in Harford County, Maryland, when I was sixteen years old. I don’t think I have looked at the entire will in over twenty-five years. Today I read the entire document. And there were at least five good clues that I missed in that early reading of the document because there were many things I didn’t know about research, the law, inheritance, and the family at that point in time. Do you have something that you’ve not read in ages? Could there be unused clues in that document?
The 1812 will of James Rampley in Harford County, Maryland, gives real estate to “surviving children of my daughter, Nancy Beaty.” A superficial read of the will may lead one to conclude that Nancy is dead. She’s not. Her husband is not dead either. There’s a little more to it than that. James Rampley also indicated in his will that his son James Rampley was to have the use and occupation of the said land during the natural life of Nancy Beaty for her maintenance and that of her children. “My son in law John Beaty to have no claim right or title to the said land or the profits thereof.” After her death, title was to be passed to her children. Never jump to conclusions and always […]
Always make certain you look at the entire marriage record. Sometimes a couple does not go through with the marriage–as this 1901 example from Oklahoma shows.
My blog update is sent every week and summarizes content posted to all my blogs since the last update was sent. This includes article links from the following blogs: Rootdig Genealogy Search Tip Genealogy Tip of the Day Genealogy Transcriber Additional content: citation of the week tombstone of the week letter of the week photograph of the week Some use the weekly update in place of the daily updates that go out. There’s a nominal $5 fee per year to pay for the email service that is used to send the update out. Email addresses are not sold or shared. You can view the most recent issue where there is also a subscription link at the bottom of the page.  
If a marriage record indicates that your relatives were married by a minister, it means they were married by that minister. They may or may not have been married in the church. While it may seem like a minor detail, unless the marriage record specifically states the location, the researcher can be certain of the precise place where the marriage took place. The license or record may only explicitly state the county or town. Don’t assume more than it says. And that is true for any record. —————————- Check out the books on Michael’s genealogy shelf–only listing books I have actually purchased myself and actually use.
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