When locating any record online as a digital image (or on microfilm) always make certain you have the entire record. It’s best to navigate through the images until you get to the next record. Ignoring pages may cause you to overlook information.
If she was, her application papers could provide valuable research clues, even if you have no interest in joining the DAR. Older applications were approved with less stringent standards than today, but there may still be pieces of information contained in those applications that is unavailable elsewhere. Search for your potential relatives at www.dar.org
An 1 March 1822 deposition from a Bedford County, Virginia, court case refers to “Old John Sledd” doing something “in his Lifetime.” This likely means that “Old John Sledd” was deceased as of the date of the deposition. That may be the best estimate of a death date possible. 
When in a pinch, lists of purchasers at estate sales can provide clues as to ancestral associates and relatives. Individuals who purchased the property of your deceased relative likely knew him. I usually focus initially on any person who purchased more than two items as a potential relative or “close connection.” Those people may have lived where your ancestor used to live or ended up moving where later members of the family moved to. I’ll follow up on the ones who purchased one item as well, but starting with the purchasers of more items is a good way to start.
Based on many requests, we’ve added this class to our schedule for July: AncestryDNA–5 weeks Activities/Content: Understanding what can and cannot be learned from the AncestryDNA test Strategies for “figuring out” people who do not return communication Probability of relationship based on shared DNA and relationship scenarios not presented Downloading AncestryDNA matches into an Excel spreadsheet and working with those matches and that spreadsheet Determining what matches you want to try and figure out Tracking results and findings Problem-solving Looking at the results when the grandfather was an adoptee who wasn’t the birth father of one of his children Analyzing tree for ethnic/geographic pools Sorting matches that can’t be determined specifically Keeping your list of matches up to date More details are on our announcement page.
We are not talking about the high school prom. If you have a date of birth, death, or marriage for an ancestor, you had to get it from somewhere. Sources should be cited. If the date is an approximation from an age at death, state so. If birth date is an approximation based on the marriage date, indicate that. Just don’t drop dates in willy-nilly without a source. And if you don’t know where you got your prom date, well that’s another story entirely.
Remember that your ancestor might have been known by several different first names. This can be especially confusing when a researcher is “fixed” on one name. My great-grandfather was actually Frederick, but sometimes he was Fred and sometimes he was Fritz (the latter more in his younger years). Another ancestor was John Michael Trautvetter. He went by one of several different names: John Michael Mike Jahn (a German version of his first name) J. M. Some nicknames are not quite as obvious. Sally was a common nickname for Sarah. If you can’t find your ancestor, learn nicknames that were derived from the original name. The ancestor might simply be hiding under a nickname.
In some locations, estate inventories and appraisals had to be conducted. If the items listed in one cannot be read, compare them to the other. Sometimes the clerk who wrote the inventory and the appraisal were different individuals with significantly different handwriting. There can be occupational and other clues in estate inventories and appraisals. Use one to help you read the other.
If a record or document indicates that two people are siblings and you have no other records or information, remain open to the possibility that the two siblings only share one parent. That relationship could explain why other records do not make sense or why DNA results are not what you expect.
If you’re looking where a family “got a name,” go beyond biological relatives. That name could be for a relative by marriage. An uncle of mine married a woman in 1874 who had a six year old son and raised him as his own. Never formerly adopted, the uncle left his entire estate to the son he raised. That uncle’s father died in 1912. In that same year the son apparently named his own child for his step-father’s father, giving his child the step-grandfather’s first and middle name. Don’t assume that name has to be for a biological relative.
First and last names of your ancestor will be spelled differently, sometimes different ways in the same document. There is more to “matching” people than the spelling of their first and last name. Make certain you have valid reason to believe people appearing in different records are the same person. And remember–the name is usually considered the “same” if the pronunciations are the same. That missing “e” may irritate you, but it doesn’t mean it’s an entirely different person.
If there “should” be a birth certificate for your ancestor, make certain that there are not delayed birth certificates that have been overlooked. Sometimes these are filed separately from the certificates that were recorded promptly and may have been filed when your relative needed proof of age for employment, social security, etc. Also consider that your ancestor may not have been born in the jurisdiction that you think he was. Also make certain that births were actually recorded at the time your ancestor was born.
Determine what materials FamilySearch has before making a trip to a courthouse. While they do not film or digitize everything, it may be possible to access some records before your trip. This will allow you to focus on what is in the courthouse. And sometimes FamilySearch has digitized the indexes the courthouse created. Use them from home and save time and be better prepared for your trip.
Spit in the tube and wait for your tree. It’s not as simple as that.   Autosomal DNA test results indicate a relationship. If the relationship is close (sibling, parent/child, aunt/uncle, first cousin), the predicated relationship is usually easy to immediately determine. But beyond that it is not so clear. Based upon the amount of shared DNA, the precise relationship can be “roughly” determined, but research in paper records,  interviews with relatives, and other “non-DNA” research is necessary. The DNA is only part of the story and spitting in a tube doesn’t mean your ancestry will be spitted right back at you. It’s more difficult than that.
When compiling your tree, make certain that the geography makes reasonable sense. Some individuals and families do move from one year to the next, particularly if they have difficulties finding work or are somewhat financially unstable. Some families in urban situations may move every time the rent gets so far behind that it becomes a problem. It’s one thing to move across the street or across town from one year to the next.  When that happens addresses may change–but the county or even the parish of residence may not. It’s another thing to move more significant distances on a constant basis. Once a correspondent had a couple jumping all over Germany for a fifteen year time period with children born in a variety of regions. It can happen. […]
Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book