When searching the Bureau of Land Management website, make certain you remember the general difference between a federal land warrant and a federal land patent.  A federal land warrant is good for a specific acreage of property in the federal domain–without stating precisely where the property is at. A federal land patent is a document that transfers title in a specific piece of property from the federal government to an individual.
I always knew that my Trautvetter family settled immediately in Illinois upon their arrival from Germany (based upon the ship manifest and the property purchase date). It was much later that I would discover that several of my Trautvetter’s brothers had spent approximately ten years in north-central Kentucky only to move to Illinois shortly after he did. I assumed they all went to the same place at the same time. That was wrong. Sometimes settlement is not immediate and sometimes people make a pit stop along the way. ——————— Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank—search for your ancestors.
A transcription of a tombstone should only include what is on the tombstone. That’s what makes it a transcription. Any parenthetical information preferably needs to be entirely separate from the transcription itself and clearly indicated as material that is not on the stone. Brackets should be used to indicate there’s a portion you cannot read or a part of the transcription at which you are guessing. Parenthetical information may be helpful to other researchers, but only indicate something is on the stone if it actually is on the stone. ——————— Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank—search for your ancestors.
Some rural cemeteries, especially very small ones that are no longer used, may require crossing private property to access. If this is necessary, obtain permission from the landowner before attempting to access the cemetery. Cemeteries that are along a roadside or have public access are a different story, but there also may be restrictions about “visiting hours,” decorations that are allowed, etc. ——————— Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank—search for your ancestors.
I would have sworn that my uncle was buried along the cemetery fence on the right side of the entryway. He wasn’t. He is actually buried on the left side of the gate several rows from the fence. Write everything down. Your memory will fail.  ——————— Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank—search for your ancestors. Never T
Years ago, I used the declarations of intention from Hamilton County, Ohio. The courthouse has had several fires. When I saw the declaration of intention for my ancestor it looked a little unusual. When I saw the declaration after his I realized the the signatures were in the same handwriting as the document and were the same handwriting from one document to another. Turned out (when I read the prefatory material on the microfilm) that the declarations of intent I was using were transcriptions made from the damaged original after one of the fires.
An ancestral sister had a baby a few years before her marriage to her husband in the 1860s. Court records from the estate of the baby’s grandfather (the father of the sisters) make it clear that he and his wife raised the baby.  The child grew to adulthood and have children of her own. One researcher decided to change the  child’s date of birth, the couple’s date of marriage, and the baby’s last name in order to make it appear to be the husband’s child. Report what you find, but don’t change what you locate in order to present a different story from the reality.
Your ancestors may have permanently separated but never divorced. In some cases, one spouse may have sued the other one for separate maintenance (in which case there may be a court record). If there’s not a court case, a deed separating property may be recorded wherein who has sole title to what property is clearly stated. If the couple had no real or personal assets, there is a lower chance of any resulting record.
Searching deeds requires the researcher to look for a time after the actual document was drawn up and signed. Purchasers usually recorded deeds relatively promptly, but not always. If the courthouse was a distance or difficult to get to, it may have been years before the document was recorded. And sometimes people simply forgot to record a deed and did not realize it until the property was sold or the owner died. Don’t assume that your ancestor who lived in an area from 1830-1840 would have no deeds of sale recorded outside that time frame. 
Always consider the possibility that your ancestor has no tombstone. This can because one was never erected in the first place or because the one that was erected has deteriorated beyond readability.  
When analyzing information contained in any record, ask yourself “who was the likely informant on this record and how likely were they to know the information they gave?” There is little more to information analysis than this, but this is a good start.
Death certificates are notorious for having incorrect information. Given the circumstances under which the information is given that’s not surprising. Just remember that those “wrong” places of birth may be clues as to where the family lived for a time and someone got where Grandma was born mixed up with where she grew up or where her parents were from. ——————— Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank—search for your ancestors.
Documents can surprise you and that’s one reason why locating as many things as possible is good for your research. I thought this would be a typical mortgage when I saw it in the land records index for Hancock County, Illinois. Instead of a fixed series of payments, the 1869 document stated that the son was to pay the parents a fixed annual amount until they died and to take care of them until their death as well. Not quite your typical mortgage.
A colleague told me that if I needed some quick research pointers on a certain geographic area that I should feel free to ask him.  I thought I had a question for him. When typing it in a message, I realized there were two approaches I had not yet tried and that I should do that before asking for his input. Putting your research question together so that someone can make sense of it may make you realize that you know what to do next. And, even if it doesn’t, organizing your thoughts before asking will make it easier for someone to help you.  
I’m working on a man named Andrew Trask who had a sons Edward and George and a daughter Harriet. There is a man named George living near where he did in the 1840s who can’t be his father, but that George had a daughter Harriet. That George had a brother Edward and a sister Harriet. There’s enough name “connection” to make me think that my Andrew probably has a connection to this family, but that name connection is not proof. Just a clue that I need to follow.
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