Webinars on Pre-1850 Census, Brick Wall, Ancestry.com, Females, and More

We have one more presentation coming up this month and have released recorded copies of our other new presentations. Join us for our last session in April or order one of our new1931439_10207769435508179_7647308874679515756_npresentations. Topics are:

  • Female Ancestors
  • 25 Brick Wall Strategies
  • More From Ancestry.com
  • Creating Those Color Charts and Citing Images
  • Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records
  • Bureau of Land Management Tract Books and Patents

Details are here.

Check the Newspapers for Court Day

ulfertWhen you have finished analyzing the materials in a court case file, make note of the dates of any court action. Then search local newspapers for possible mention of the case. The court record may only give part of the story. What is in the newspaper may be unsubstantiated, but it may give you a different perspective than what was in the court record.

The 1892 illustration is from a lengthy newspaper account of a estate squabble from Adams County, Illinois. The newspaper’s rendition provided significant background that is not mentioned in the court records.



Junior Might Not Be the Son of Senior

Without other information, do not immediately conclude that the person referenced as a “junior” is necessarily the son of the “senior.”  The references could indicate the two men are father and son, but they could be uncle and nephew as well. It is also possible that the relationship is more distant (or nonexistent) and that the use of junior/senior is simply to indicate which man is which–by using their age.

Court Records Index Few Names

Local court cases usually only index the name of one defendant and one plaintiff, regardless of how many people are involved in the case as defendants and plaintiffs. Witnesses and others who may be mentioned in testimony and other court cases will not appear in indexes either.

For this reason it is important to search for names of relatives of your direct line ancestor in defendants’ and plaintiffs’ index to court cases. Otherwise you may easily overlook something involving your ancestor, especially if he and his siblings were sued and the name of his sibling is the one under which the case is indexed.courtindees

New Genealogy Brick Wall Webinar Released

We received good feedback from this latest installment in my “Brick Wall” series–25 Brick Wall Busters.

If you’ve enjoyed our “Brick Wall” series, this one will revisit some of our more popular approaches along with new examples and a few new tricks thrown in the mix. Sometimes it never hurts to hear something again, if only for the reminder. This presentation will include a handout with the concepts discussed and brief examples demonstrating the approach. This presentation is geared towards the advanced beginner/intermediate level researcher.

Order the recorded copy of the presentation for immediate download.

Those Websites are Not Permanent

Your newfound cousin hosts his own genealogy information on his own domain name. What happens to that domain name and information when he dies, stops paying the bill, or is unable to maintain the site?

Don’t assume what’s put online has been preserved.

And don’t assume that because you see it online today that it will be available in that same format on that same site in five years.


Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBanksearch for your ancestors.

Citing Photographs


It’s always advised to include identifying information on any digital image of a photograph. While such information can be included in metadata, the fact remains that images posted online get copied and pasted with no attention paid to metadata. It is also possible that some connie-ufkes-neill-herb-weddingdigital imaging programs strip metadata altogether.

It’s easy to add free-form commentary to any digital image of a photograph. Be certain to include:

  • Names of individual
  • Location
  • Date
  • Provenance
  • who has picture (you don’t have to list their address)
  • who made image and date (at least year)
  • how identification was made


If you don’t know how to add these images to your own digital images, it’s one of the two topics discussed in my recent webinar on “Citing Digital Images and Creating Colorful Pedigree Charts,” which can be downloaded immediately for only $5.50.


Fractions are Your Genealogical Friend

Fractions are a genealogist’s friend because they are often clues to an inheritance.

The children of Paul Freund in Davenport, Iowa, owned two-thirds of his farm, his cows, his wagon, and his calves upon his death. That’s the items listed in the inventory that is a part of their guardianship. Paul died with no will (intestate) and state law dictated that the widow received a third of the property with the rest going to his children.

That’s how they ended up with a two-thirds interest. The probate documents don’t explain how they got the two-thirds interest as court records in this time period don’t often explain things that stem from state statute or common law.

That’s why a general understanding of probate procedures is helpful.

And why fractions are your genealogical friend: they contain clues.two-thirdsa

Contextual Clues Matter

The confirmation records of a church indicate that confirmations are always held in the spring–except for one that was performed in November of 1913. The confirmand was also slightly older than the typical  age. If I only look at the desired entry, I may miss that.

The likely scenario here is that the individual being confirmed wanted to marrying someone who was a member of the congregation. But that is speculation and would need to be confirmed with actual research.

Always lookconfirmationondifferentdate


Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBanksearch for your ancestors.