Google Maps Does Not Have Every Address

I know genealogists who swear by Google. They seemingly use it to tell them when to breathe. It’s important to remember that Google (just like any website, library, courthouse, etc.) does not have everything.  The successful researcher will utilize a variety of sites and sources for information and will carefully evaluate those sites and sources.

Google Maps gets close to the house where I grew up, but apparently once the road turns to gravel the Google car turns around. It did the exact same thing when approaching the house from the north.

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make.



Call Before You Make the Trip to the Courthouse

This is not the courthouse that’s discussed in the tip. This illustration is used because I like it 😉

I made something of a last minute trip to a courthouse about 100 miles from where I live so that I could obtain a copy of a marriage record. The website for the office indicated they had the records for the time I needed and what the fees were.

When I arrived, they told me that all requests for genealogical records were handled by volunteers who answered them by mail.  I could not get the record that day. I filled out the form. I paid the fee and I left.

Always call and find out research policies before you make a trip. That’s true whether the trip if 10 miles, 100 miles, or 1,000.  It’s especially true if it is 1,000.

Genealogy Tip of the Day is proudly sponsored by GenealogyBank. Try their “GenealogyBank Search” and see what discoveries you make.

Care With DNA Matches

When viewing your DNA “matches” take some care before you assume what the connection is or that there is only one connection. It is possible that:

  • one person has a “error” in their tree;
  • there was an adoption early in the lineage that was completely undocumented;

    It’s usually easier to figure out the relationship when the matches are closer.

  • the father (or mother) shown in an online tree really is not the father (or mother);
  • one of the “parents” was married more than once and the “parent” is actually the step-parent;
  • you may be related to the person in more than one distant way.

Don’t jump to a conclusion about “where in the tree” the match has to be. A recent match for me indicated a distant relationship to an individual. It turned out that we were distantly related on two families–one in Indiana in the 1820s and another in Ontario about the same time period. There was absolutely no connection between the Indiana and Ontario families at the time.

It just happened that a hundred years later an Indiana descendant  and an Ontario descendant married in Illinois in the 1930s and that another Indiana descendant and an Ontario descendant married in Michigan around the same time.

A Denizen

An immigrant foreigner who is given certain rights of citizenship. In former British colonies, these rights were usually centered on property ownership. Inheriting property would require special permission of the Crown and denizens usually could not hold office or be in the military.

Reasons to Organize Your Data

Do you need a reminder to organize your information?

There are many reasons to organize your genealogical data, including:

  • noticing clues you did not notice before;
  • finding gaps in your research;
  • making it easier for you to share your research;
  • reducing the number of times you locate something you already have;
  • making it easier for you to publish your information (if that’s your goal);
  • making it easier for someone to preserve your information after your death;
  • making it easier for someone looking at your information to help you; and
  • saving money if you hire a professional–they will have to organize it for you before they can help.


The Deceased Man was Formally Late to his Funeral

When one encounters the phrase “late of Tuckertown” in a legal document, it typically means that the person used to live in Tuckertown.  The same thing is true of “formerly of Tuckertown.” Sometimes the phrase “late widow of John Jones” may be used to refer to a woman. Usually in those cases it means that the female to whom it is referring has married again after the death of John Jones.

Deceased—that usually means dead.

The Last “Non-Genealogy” Book You Read?

I finally found a used copy of  Fields, Fens and Felonies: Crime and Justice in Eighteenth-Century East Anglia at a lower than usual price at and decided to purchase it. My own ancestor was a convict from East Anglia who was transported to Maryland in 1764. Learning some history is never a bad thing. I discovered this book when doing a Google search for an ancestor.

When did you last read some history related to your ancestor?

Michael’s genealogy bookshelf can be viewed on my Rootdig website.

Before Your Executor Just Dumps Your Stuff on A Library’s Doorstep

Putting a clause in your will that “my genealogical papers are to go to the BlahBlah Library” without some advance planning could have unintended consequences.

Some thoughts on preserving your “files” and papers by donating to a library or archives:

  • libraries may not want or be able to maintain random copies of public records that are available elsewhere
  • libraries may not want or be able to maintain random copies made from published books
  • unorganized materials are difficult for libraries to inventory and manage and they are difficult for patrons to use
  • photographs, personal certificates, and other “unique” items are more likely to be preserved and collected, but it can be difficult for some facilities to afford to maintain these collections–consider leaving some financial legacy (if possible) to assist in long-term maintenance
  • ask first to determine if the facility can or is willing to take your collection
  • again–ask first
  • organize your material while you are still able to. Make continued organization of your materials a regular part of your research process. You never know when that day may come when your donation clause will go into effect.
  • one last time–discuss this with the recipient first.

We will continue to have occasional posts on this topic. We don’t have all the answers, but we want readers to become educated about these concerns so they can make decisions and take action while they are still able to.

When your death certificate is being filed at the local records office—it’s too late.

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When You Go?

Have you thought about what will happen to your genealogy materials when you are no longer able to maintain them?

Think about it now and plan before it’s too late.