I don’t have pictures of too many ancestors. Signatures can be a good replacement. Trying to find them can be an “outside the box” problem-solving approach. Remember that record copies of deeds, wills, and some other records do not contain the actual signature. You need the original document or a reproduction of it–not a transcription.
Don’t let the angles and measurements intimidate you. The metes and bounds description of your ancestor’s property lines may mention neighbors and geographic features that can help you determine ancestral associates and approximately where your ancestor lived.
All dogs bark. Things that bark grow on trees. Therefore, dogs grow on trees. Always read over your logic and reasoning used to reach a conclusion. Also make certain you understand definitions of words and the context in which they are used. Genealogical records are full of legal and esoteric words more nuanced than “bark” and it can be easy to confuse them. Avoid barking up the wrong genealogical tree–check your reasoning and your definitions.
This offer from our sponsor (a year of GenealogyBank for $4.67 a month–billed annually) ends on 31 October. Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank. They have a subscription offer for readers, fans, and followers.    
If your ancestor owned real estate, make certain you have a record for how each piece of property left his ownership. Was it deeded in her will, sold for back taxes, sold before his death, quitclaimed by the heirs after her death? Each of these transactions has the potential to reveal significant information–particularly if the property was still owned by the ancestor at their demise.
I maintain the following genealogy blogs: Rootdig.com—Michael’s thoughts, research problems, suggestions, and whatever else crosses his desk Genealogy Tip of the Day—one genealogy research tip every day–short and to the point Genealogy Search Tip—websites I’ve discovered and the occasional online research tip–short and to the point? Subscription/Unsubscription links are on the top of each page. Unsubscription links are also in each email sent.
Keep a document that has a listing of the various ways your various ancestral names can actually be pronounced. A list of spellings is not a bad idea either but knowing various ways a name could have been said can be helpful as well. Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank. Check out their current offer for new subscribers.
Estate settlements of relatives (particularly siblings of ancestors) who died with no living descendants can contain significant genealogical clues. The distribution of assets may mention siblings of the deceased, nieces, nephews, and other relatives–depending upon the family structure. The records may provide relationship details and information on where the heirs lived. Estate settlements of relatives who were only children and who died with no descendants can be even more informative as the relationships of the heirs will be more distant. Review your files–do you have a relative whose estate settlement could name missing family members? People who “leave” tend to “reappear” when money is involved. Genealogy Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank. Check out their current offer for new subscribers.
[this was posted to our Facebook Fan Page a few days ago, but I thought it was worth posting here as well for those who might not have seen it.] Some tips are location or time period specific. We’ve got people from all across the globe who are fans here. A tip unrelated to your place/time of interest may generate a question about a different time/period–go ahead and ask. Keep in mind that different places/time periods have different records–and different research challenges. But sometimes working in one place/time can help us in other time periods, just in broader ways. Researching my low-German immigrants in the 1860s is different from my Virginia families in the late 1600s and they are both different from my New England families in the 1700s. […]
Beliefs about the ethnic origins of non-immigrant ancestors are easy to come by. They are more difficult to prove. The best way to determine if a person has a certain heritage in their background is to research that person as completely as you can. Then do the same thing for their parents, grandparents, etc. Stories about where a person’s family came from are a dime a dozen. They are also difficult to prove the ethnicity is what you start with instead of the specific person. I may think my relative was Native American and it may turn out that they are. But the best approach is to research that relative in as many records as I can find and see what those records say. And go from there. […]
Sometimes it can be easy to overlook those relatives who left no descendants of their own. They also have their stories to tell and those stories are just as important as those of relatives who left families of their own. A 1908 horse accident left Mary Trautvetter with her legs broken in three places, a broken arm, and other injuries.  Her sister, Anna, was injured as well–but not as severely. It’s possible that the injuries from the accident impacted Mary for the rest of her life. Mary never married. Her sister Anna (Trautvetter) McMahon died in the 1920s and Mary raised Anna’s daughter who was left orphaned by the death of both her parents. Mary died in 1962 and is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Warsaw, Hancock […]
Many genealogists receive emails, Facebook posts, and other digital communication in such a way that the headline and a sentence or two is what shows on the screen. Keep in mind there’s often more than just the headline and the introductory sentence or two. The headline is intended to catch your attention and the first few sentences should summarize the content. But there should be details in the rest of the article or post that expand on the headline and make the point or points summarized in the first two sentences. If the headline and the first few sentences strikes your interest–read the rest of the item before commenting or asking a question. The author may have addressed your concern, answered your question, or provided an additional reference, […]
I use PayPal to process orders because it’s inexpensive for me which helps me keep costs down. I do not require PayPal to order–credit cards can be used. This page explains how to use a credit card to securely order something. Our order pages are: Upcoming GedMatch Webinar Recorded AncestryDNA webinars Other recorded webinars
In the days before indexes, manual searches of census records were necessary. Sometimes that’s still true today. One approach when the names had been totally butchered was to not read the names and look at the place of birth as well–if that was unique enough to make it practical. That’s how these entries were located. I read the places of birth for residents of the township where the family was supposed to live and stopped at every family of Germans. Every one. And then I looked at the names more closely to see if they fit the family I needed. That was a more efficient filtering approach than reading every name in every household. Could the census taker have indicated my Germans were born in Kentucky or elsewhere […]
You will not remember what names and variants you query in what database. Keep track of the website or database you are using and the names that you have searched for at that website or in that database. A table or spreadsheet will allow you to track the searches. The columns can be those search terms you actually used–not necessarily every search box on the site. Tracking searches is especially important if you cannot find the name easily in a quick search. I will be honest: I don’t make a chart for every person I search for–but I do make one when I cannot easily find a person. Failing to do so is asking to go in circles. Without tracking what you have done, you cannot effectively determine what […]
Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book