The “problem” with using certain websites, search engines, etc. is that one can locate images or content and not be certain what they are seeing. A good way to solve that problem… ask someone for help. Not really knowing what you are looking at is a good way to not understand it. The illustration used in this post is an index card to naturalizations created by the US government to help people find their naturalization record when they had lost it and weren’t really certain where they were naturalized (among other reasons). It’s not the naturalization record and is not the same thing as the naturalization record. Ask fellow genealogists if you stumble on something and do not know what it is. There are groups on Facebook where […]
GenealogyBank is offering readers a special annual rate on a subscription to their database of newspapers and other materials–it ends on 30 November. They’ve recently improved their website and search interface.
Headlines aren’t always right–large print doesn’t mean correct print. Always transcribe newspaper articles as they are written and cite them accurately when using them. But remember that details can be incorrect and typographical errors were easier to make in the days before spell check and computerization. This headline mixed up the dead man and his brother. The headline in the illustration mixed up the man who died with the brother who survived him. 
Could an old road atlas give you a little insight into your ancestor’s life? Most of my forebears lived in rural areas where paved roads were not common until the 20th century was well on its way to being over. My one grandmother was the exception–her family’s farm was located on the highway running east of Carthage, Illinois. This 1924 Illinois state road map indicated that there was a section of that highway (route 136 today) that was not paved. While the map is not precise enough to where determine where her family’s house was at it’s possible that they lived along that little section that was unpaved in 1924.
While viewing a newspaper account of a relative’s accidental death in 1906, I noticed a reference to a woman’s murder in an adjacent county. She was shot by her husband. Somewhat curious, I decided to do a little “quick” online research into the woman and her husband. She was mentioned in quite a few online trees, but none referenced her short marriage to her husband or the circumstances of her death. It was easy to see in this case why nothing else had been located: The woman was born after 1880 and in 1900 was living with her parents. By 1910 she was dead. Her tombstone does not mention her husband’s name–just the names of her parents. The marriage records for the county where she likely married are […]
Did your relative advertise for a job? A classified ad where your relative is looking for work could be a clue. It just depends on what you already know and what you don’t. This early 20th century advertisement indicated Mr. Dreisbach was in Illinois in July of 1911. How long he stayed is not addressed by the ad, but at least he was there for a time. AncestryDNA is on sale for $59 through “Cyber Monday (sale ends the 27th of November).
I maintain the following genealogy blogs:—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. AncestryDNA is on sale for $59 through “Cyber Monday (sale ends the 27th of November)–some thoughts before you buy.
Did the census taker reverse the first and last names? It can happen with anyone, but the possibility increases if the individual’s name is in a foreign language and they are a recently arrived immigrant. This man’s name was Focke Meyer, but he was listed as last name Focke and first name Myer. AncestryDNA is on sale for $59 through “Cyber Monday (sale ends the 27th of November).
Are you aware of the local geography where your ancestor lived? Having access to maps is a great help, but having a certain amount of information “in your head” can save time. For your city ancestors do you know the “name of the neighborhood” (if there was one)? Do you know names of nearby neighborhoods and towns? How close did your family live to the line that divided one city from another? For rural ancestors the same thing applies? What were the names of adjacent townships? How close were they to the county line? Did they live in a part of the county that had a nickname (perhaps based upon where most residents were originally from)? Failing to know some local geography may cause you to look in […]
AncestryDNA is on sale for $59 through “Cyber Monday” (27 November). Just a few quick reminders about DNA testing: siblings do not share all their DNA–they will have different matches, especially as the matches are more distant DNA won’t solve all your genealogical problems DNA may reveal surprises that are totally unexpected you may have close matches that are “out of the blue” DNA supplements research in paper records–it does not replace it Organize your information and work on extending your research while you wait for the test to arrive–including tracking down cousins. It will help you make better use of your results.
The Fall 2017 issue of the New England Historic Genealogical Society Register contains an article on the English origins of my Puffer family. When was the last time you searched genealogical journals for information on your family? My Puffer connection is shown on my ahnentafel. Check out our list of books on Michael’s shelf.  
The cat didn’t mean to, but he was the “thought prompt” for today’s tip–which is reprinted from 2014. Are you breaking your research down into smaller tasks? Achieving your goal in one step may simply not be possible. And if researching a family seems like a project which you will never finish, consider focusing on one person or one problem at a time and not be concerned with getting “it all done” right away. Ask yourself what one little thing can I do today to help me solve my genealogy problem? After all, Sammie got on the kitchen counter one step at a time. And your ancestor migrated from one place to another one step at a time as well. What was the most logical route to travel, […]
If a will or estate settlement refers to some individuals as legatees and to others as devisees, there is a difference. Generally speaking legatees take legacies (personal or chattel property) from the estate  and devisees take devises (real property) from the estate. The are bequeathed the property in the individual’s will. They are different from heirs. Heirs are individuals who have the right to inherit from an individual based upon their biological relationship to the deceased and contemporary statute. Legatees and devisees can be heirs, but they do not have to be. A testator can bequeath property in their will so that heirs receive nothing.
The holidays can be a time to bore your relatives with family stories. Try and avoid this. Another holiday genealogical activity is to put out unidentified photographs at family gatherings and see if anyone can remember: who is in the picture when it was taken where it was taken what was going on when it was taken etc. It may take a village to identify the photograph. One relative may remember one detail, another may remember something else, discussion may trigger memories, etc. Don’t try and insist that someone remember everything–and even an “irrelevant” clue may end up being significant. And it’s allowable if you can’t identify everything in the picture. I still don’t remember the name of the stuffed animal shown in the illustration to this post.
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