If you’ve done genealogy for any length of time, you’ve encountered endogamy. It’s the practice of marrying within the same community one generation after another. That community is often a geographic one, but it can be also ethnic, socio-economic, religious, etc. And there can be overlap as geographic communities often share a common ethnicity and religious heritage as well. My maternal ancestors were Ostfriesen immigrants to a two-county area of the United States. For the first three generations in the United States, they married other members of that community–they had a shared culture and religious heritage. We’re all related to each other in more than one way which is what happens when small villages of populations under 500 people move to new areas of about the same size. […]
During that time period when women had fewer legal rights, if I encounter a woman being appointed a guardian or providing testimony in a case or trial, I ask myself “Why?” Not because I don’t think women can do these things. They can. I ask that because it was unusual during the time period and a woman’s appearance in certain records when few women did is usually a clue in itself. And genealogists need to take any clues they can get? Why did a female become guardian for her children in Illinois in 1855? Likely because there were no other relatives nearby who were of the male persuasion and who were willing and able to perform the duties of that position. Why did a female become guardian for […]
The United States government did not provide census takers with printed schedules until the 1830 enumeration. As a result, censuses before that date were taken on forms created by the enumerator. This results in handwritten forms, column headings that are often not written in, and (occasionally) additional information being requested of enumerees.
Genealogists tend to focus on records at the local level (typically county or town in the United States) because that’s often where vital records, property, and court records are located. Family history researchers are also are pretty good at using the most well-known federal record: the census. But there may be other records at the federal level (particularly military, military pension, and federal land acquisition records) that could have referenced your ancestor as well. State-level records may be helpful as well. There may have been state census records, military enlistment records, petitions to the state legislature, prisoner pardons, etc. Some of these are indexed and some are not. The state archives or other appropriate agency is the place to start looking for these types of records as many […]
There are a variety of tools the mathematical computation website have that are helpful for genealogists. These include: Date and Time Computation Examples Calendar Examples Holiday Examples Units and Measures Genealogy Examples Dates and Times History Examples
This is your periodic reminder to download your data from those cloud-based subscription services you have. Don’t assume images on any site will be there forever. Save it while it is on your screen. Keep images on your own media in accounts/locations you have control over and can access.
This presentation has been recorded and is available for immediate download. If you ordered and did not receive, please email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com and I’ll take care of it. In this presentation, we will discuss new and not-so-new features of AncestryDNA matches, including: Groups Notes ThruLines Starred matches Filters Searches Our focus will be on practical, straight-forward applications of these features with particular attention paid to problem-solving and documentation of your analytical process.  Also discussed will be the creation of a customized spreadsheet to track your work and to assist in planning your analysis. Our goal is not to confuse you with how complicated we can make things, but to help you actually use the new tools at AncestryDNA to make the most of them. And to do […]
We’ve mentioned it before, but reminders never hurt. Before you spend hours searching an online database, determine how complete the database is. Some sets of data include all records in a specific series. Others may be in progress, only including part of the time span the title covers. The webpage title may say the materials are from 1850 to 1950, with 1850-1855, 1870-1880, and 1940-1950 being included. Always read the details.
Many genealogists start work on their DNA matches trying to figure out their “brick wall.” While that’s definitely a long-term goal, it may not be the best way to start. If you are new to DNA analysis, it might be good to work on your matches for those families where you think “you know everything” already. It’s a great way to build up your skills and learn about DNA methodology. There will be “less to learn” since you already have the family worked up. And you will be better prepared for working on those “brick walls.” You may also discover that you don’t know as much about the “already done” family as you thought you did.
“”Through DNA analysis, I was able to determine the grandparents of a relative whose biological father was unknown. There’s no way at this point to determine which of their sons was the father of the child in question, but it’s clear that one of them was. And a photo of a first cousin of that relative indicated they shared facial features. The similarities between their faces was a nice addition to my DNA evidence, but it really is not considered any sort of evidence itself. We have all seen siblings who bear little physical resemblance to each other and as the relationship becomes more distance the similarities can become even fewer. But distant relatives can share some common facial features or looks. But it’s not the sort of […]
There is still time to register or pre-order my August 2019 AncestryDNA webinar. Attendance links have been sent out and pre-orders can be ordered at a lower introductory rate. Details are on our announcement page–there’s still time!
Did you know there were “second enumerations” of Indianapolis, New York City, and Philadelphia in the 1870 US census? If your relative lived in one of these cities are their enumerations exactly the same? Browse the 1870 census at FamilySearch for these or other localities.
If a person refers to someone else as their “natural child,” it usually means that the parents of the child were not married at the time the child was born. Wills are one place where an individual can acknowledge a child as their “natural child.”
A colonial era deed in what’s now the United States indicated that your ancestor was the grantee on a deed where he was listed as the assignee as someone else. The probable situation is that that “someone else” initially had rights to obtain that property and that “someone else” sold those rights and/or transferred those rights to your ancestor and then your ancestor obtained the property. Here’s the but: if you are looking at a transcription of the deed with this phrasing in it, get an original image of the document so that you can see it completely for yourself. Read the whole thing and transcribe the whole thing. And if it doesn’t make sense: ask someone about it. Look up the meaning of words you don’t know. […]
Many genealogists are self-trained and learn about sources and methods as their research progresses. Hands-on learning, directed towards your research goals is fine, but there can easily be gaps in knowledge when one learns this way. Have you read a general research how-to book or a guide to research in the areas where your families lived? It’s still helpful to read how-to books and guides after you’ve researched for some time. We all have something to learn? What have you learned recently?
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