For those who have asked, there’s a list of genealogical reference guides on my personal bookshelf posted to my website.
Print indexes generally follow a set of rules by which items are formatted and indexed. Make certain you understand how an index is compiled and sorted so that items of interest are not overlooked. In smaller publications it may be practical to view all the entries starting with a desired letter. In larger ones it may not. View the entire series of index rules.
Don’t forget to thank those who assist you with your research, either by giving a suggestion, helping you get a record, transcribing a document, etc. Thanking someone is the right thing to do and makes the doer more likely to help you or someone else in the future. And…you never know when you may need that person’s advice again or when they may stumble on something that can help you.
Way back in 2003, I thought I had “figured out” an 1860 census entry with a few irregular entries. I even had a list of reasons why my conclusion was correct. Flash forward to 2012. In attempting to “redo” the research, I reached a different conclusion about the 1860 census entry–one that meant I had more work to do. Genealogical conclusions are always subject to new information, new procedures, and the potential that a misinterpretation was made along the way. Don’t be afraid to revise. Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make. 
In some cases the latest transcription of something might not be the best. If you’ve seen a published book of tombstone inscriptions from the 1990s, you still might want to look at that book of transcriptions done in the 1940s. Stones might have been more legible in 1940, some might not have been readable at all in 1990. That book of transcribed marriage records in the 1930s might contain handwriting interpretations with different renderings of certain words. The ink might not have been as faded in 1930 as it was when a later transcription was done. And the transcriptionist from 1930 might have been more familiar with local names than was the 1980 era transcriptionist. Do not always assume the latest publication is the best. Sometimes it is […]
If you cannot locate relatives who are interested in your ancestor, have you at least tried and contacted other genealogists who are researching in the same location? While they might not be related, they might have ideas for sources or repositories where you should conduct your research. Others might know what records have been microfilmed or digitized, etc. Don’t just limit yourself to trying to find relatives–others with similar areas of research may be able to help you even more. Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make. 
  You may have several different records on your ancestor, various census enumerations, city directory references, an obituary, a mention in a county history, a marriage register entry, a death certificate, a mention as a witness on a document, etc.? How certain are you that each of these references are to the same person? Could there have been two people with the same or similar names? Have you possibly confused two first cousins, a father and a son, or two unrelated people. It is always possible and something to keep in mind.     Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make. 
A derivative citizenship is one that is derived from the citizenship of the someone else, usually the father of the husband. In the United States, foreign born children under the age of majority when their father naturalized would generally be considered naturalized themselves and would not have to go through the process themselves. If your ancestor immigrated as a child, indicates he is naturalized but you cannot find any naturalization papers in his name, then consider the possibility that he had derivative citizenship through a father’s naturalization.
Remember that if someone truly died at the age of 30 in 1900, they could have been born in 1869 or 1870 depending upon when their date of birth was in relationship to the date they died.  If they were born on 4 March 1869, they would be 30 on any document in 1900 dated before 4 March and 31 on any document in 1900 dated on 4 March or after. So if a tombstone says the person died in 1900 at the age of 30, they could have been born in 1869 or 1870, if only the years are given on the stone. Whether or not the age is correct in the first place is another matter. Check out the Genealogy Tip of the Day book!
To learn more about your ancestor’s employer as given in a city directory, search the rest of the city directory for information on that employer as it may include advertisements or list the employer in a list of area businesses. Consider performing a Google search for the name of the business and search local and regional histories as well, many of which have been digitized at Google Books ( or (
Initial letters or prefixes of names can be intentionally or inadvertently omitted, with: Knight becoming Night Hoffman becoming Aufmann O’Neill becoming Neill MacArthur becoming Arthur Van De Burg becoming Berg etc. Is it possible a first letter or two was dropped when your name of interest was entered in a record? 
Full text searches are not always perfect. On 19 February 2017 a search for the word “ufkes” resulted in two matches in the face of Lt. General James Brickel.
Using Indexes at FamilySearch Making the best use of indexed materials at FamilySearch requires a knowledge and understanding of how the indexes at FamilySearch work and how they do not. After providing an overview of search strategies to use at FamilySearch we will look at several examples where locating the person of interest was more involved than simply typing their name the search box and finding it the first time. This presentation will also briefly address organizing your online search strategy. Handout included. Order for immediate download.
We’ve mentioned this before, but some problems can be worked around or solved by thinking about every assumption we have made about an ancestor and “their situation.” Every assumption. Especially those that are near and dear to our heart. Those are the ones that can create the biggest stumbling blocks.  If you don’t have documentation for a “fact” about your ancestor, then that fact could be incorrect. Even if you do have documentation for a fact, that documentation could be incorrect. Always consider the possibility that what you think you know could be wrong–and then ask yourself: what would I do differently if this “fact” weren’t true? And then do it.
Negative evidence generally is a conclusion that one draws from the absence of information that one would suspect. Not finding an ancestor’s name on a real estate tax list would be negative evidence indicating he did not own property in that area–because if he did own property, his name would be on the real property tax list
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