For years I’ve operated on the belief that the maiden name of an ancestor was Dunaway. I had never seen it written on an actual record. The first reference to the name was on a family group chart someone compiled years ago with no indication of a source listed. The name had simply been copied and copied over and over. This 1900 death certificate for a daughter of the woman listed the maiden name. Maybe it’s Dunaway and maybe it’s not, but if your only source is a reference that is completely uncited there’s a chance it might not be right. 
Generally speaking, genealogists who write and lecture extensively about genealogy research and methodology, put sources in one of three categories: Original-the first time the document was recorded. Derivative-when the document was reproduced, whether by hand or some sort of “image reproduction” Authored Narrative-usually a written compilation of original and derivative records along with analysis, interpretation and summary This classification scheme is not perfect. No scheme is perfect. This classification scheme does not comment on the accuracy of the record. That’s the job of the researcher as some original sources are virtually worthless and some derivative sources are excellent. For more about record classification and analysis, consult  Evidence Explained. 
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FamilySearch updates their collections on a regular basis. When was the last time you checked out what they have for your state of interest? This link will pull up the page shown in the illustration–just click on the state you need on the left hand side of the page.
“Called to the Colors” was a phrase used at least during World War I and World War II to usually indicate that a person had been drafted or called up to service. Such a reference in a newspaper should be backed up with military and other records. Thanks to JWB and DF for the discussion of this term on the Genealogy Bloggers group on Facebook–after seeing it in a post on the HomeFolk Tales.
We often concentrate on those records that are easiest to understand or easiest to access. Make certain you are searching records at all political levels–town/village, county, state/province, and nation. Not all locations will have significant records at all levels, but you will not know if you do not look.
I’ve been reading Ann S. Lainhart’s Digging for Genealogical Treasure in New England Town Records. I’ve already gotten several good ideas for my own research (I take notes in pencil right in the book) and, through reading the book, have added to my list of additional books that will help my understanding of records in this area.  While I’ve researched for thirty years, I’ve only recently discovered my New England forebears. When was the last time you read a guide book?  
I have an uncle who was born the year his father died. Any stories he knew about his paternal family would either have been filtered through his mother (who did not know her husband or her husband’s family until she was approximately sixteen) or have been stories his siblings told him. It does not mean the stories are wrong, but could explain why there are not too many or why some are incorrect.
A relative told me that my ancestor was named Trientje Katherine Behrens. It turned out that Katherine was not really her middle name–instead it was the anglicization of her first name, Trientje. If anything, in this case it was an alternate first name.
Happy US Thanksgiving from Genealogy Tip of the Day. Don’t forget to preserve some of those Thanksgiving traditions and recipes for future generations.
A 19th century ancestor outlived his first three wives. His fourth wife survived him and married another man after his death. I thought the ancestor was only married four times, and figured I’d found all his wives. Turned out that three year gap was just enough time for him to squeeze in another one who also died. There may be room for just one more–check that chronology.
Variations in how your ancestor’s name was spelled can be endlessly frustrating. However, it’s worth remembering that a variation of how your ancestor’s name appears in an index can arise from a variety of situations: Your ancestor did not know how to spell his name Your ancestor could not read Your ancestor did not speak clearly Your ancestor had an accent with which the writer of his name was unfamiliar The clerk didn’t care The clerk had bad writing The transcriber could not read the name The transcriber did not care The transcriber made a typographical error The document has faded over time and is difficult to read Or something else Keep in mind that one of more of these could explain why James Rampley ends up indexed […]
Stopping because you have located one record is never a good idea. By keeping on going, I discovered that an ancestor was divorced from the same man not once, but twice. By keeping on going, I also discovered that another relative’s first marriage “didn’t happen” and they were actually married two years later. Combine these unusual circumstances with the occasional record that gets entered or indexed late and you have even more reason to look for entries or documents “after you think you should.”
Is there a family you have not worked on in a long time because it’s already been “done?” Review it to look for: citations that are missing or incomplete records that were never used at all records that weren’t used because they were not easy to access individuals who were not completely researched New ancestors may not be discovered, but this can be an excellent way to discover there was an omission, a mistake, or colorful stories that went undiscovered–all because you thought the research was “done.”
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