Farm Ad?

This 1857 ad described the Peter Oller farm as being 210 acres of property on the Augusta Road nine miles east of Warsaw with two good houses, three wells, and a good young orchard. The farm’s precise location is something that could be documented with local land records which could help me determine where the Augusta Road was located if that had not been known. It’s very possible your relative described his farm in an advertisement for its sale and such a listing may be the only place to get a description in an era before photographs, agricultural censuses, and similar records.

At long last! Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. 

The James Tinsley Pot

There were two men with this name who were grandsons of an Edward Tinsley who died in Amherst County, Virginia, in the 1780s. Sifting them out was difficult and there are some records where I am not certain which James to which they are referring. I’ve put every record that appears to be for one of them in a list with columns for how his name is entered, date of the item, location of the item etc. Then I indicate which James I think the reference is to and why.

Some of them I still don’t have sorted out. I may not ever be able to determine exactly to which specific James each record each is referring. But I do have a list of every reference to a James that I have found and, for those I can figure out, how I have determined to which James the record was referring. The James in question have different fathers, so in my personal records I have used the name of their father to help identify them.

At long last! Genealogy Tip of the Day–the bookis here.

Who Wasn’t Speaking to Whom?

Families have disagreements sometimes for reasons that are known and sometimes for reasons that have been lost to history. Do you record that “non-speaking” information in your genealogical database or notes? Do you keep track of who didn’t really get along? When my great-aunt identified her father and his siblings in a 1940-era picture, she remarked “I don’t know how that happened.” I looked at her somewhat quizzically and she continued “Dad and that brother he is seated next to didn’t speak for years, I’m surprised they are sitting together.”

Maybe that’s why they all looked so stern in that picture.

At long last! Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. 

Not All Evidence Lasts

Grave of Fannie I. and Charles T. Neill, West Point Cemetery, West Point, Hancock County, Illinois; photo taken by Michael John Neill 19 December 2019.

I made the holiday run to several cemeteries. My footprints in the snow left evidence that someone had recently been to the grave site. This evidence, like some genealogy items, will not last forever and it is up to me to preserve genealogical evidence that I have access to or uncover. I don’t need to preserve these footprints, but they serve as a reminder that many things don’t last nearly as long as we would like them to and they won’t preserve themselves on their own.

The footprints do not necessarily prove who was there–just that someone was. Always think about what a document or record supports and what it does not.

Rest in Peace great-grandma and great-grandpa Neill.

At long last! Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. 

How Alphabetical Is It?

Always check any printed alphabetical list for additions at the end, names out of order and other irregularities. It days of manual type setting, lists of names (particularly those of post office letters) may not be as alphabetical as a person thinks. There may be omitted names that were placed at the end simply because it was easier than changing all the type.

This list from Warsaw, Illinois, in 1857 separated out the German letters from the ones from elsewhere and a significant number of other letters added to the end of the alphabetical list.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.

Creases, Fonts, and Other Newspaper Issues

Creases, printing issues, small print, torn pages and other issues can make it difficult, if not impossible, for automated searches to find items for which you queried. If creative search terms do not locate the item of interest and you have the date something significant happened to your relative, a manual search may be necessary. Page-by-page searches are more time consuming, but in some cases that may be the only way to effectively search for the item of interest.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.

Those Dots–Ellipsis

Occasionally in transcribing legal and other documents for genealogical work, those three dots (…) are used when certain material has been left out or a quotation. Generally the omitted material is redundant and in the interest of brevity and clarity it is left out. Occasionally, legal material that is not applicable to the issue being discussed will be removed.

The genealogist may at times decide to remove certain material from a document and replace it with the ellipsis to indicate that something has been left out. A few reminders:

  • One should always use the ellipsis when material has been omitted from a reference or quotation from an original record.
  • One should never leave out relevant information.
  • One should not leave out items so that the remaining portion makes a suggestion not supported by the original material from which the quotation was taken.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.

Mortgage Rates?

Was the interest rate on your ancestor’s mortgage typical or not? One way to get an idea is to look at rates on other mortgages recorded in the same record book. There are a variety of reasons rates can vary (creditworthiness, quality of property, etc.), but looking at contemporary documents can give you some perspective.

And that’s always a good idea.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.

Five Ways

Can you think of five ways your problem ancestor is different from you? Get beyond items like gender, the fact that they are probably dead, and other obvious differences.

Educational level, social class, ethnicity, life experiences, etc. all could impact your relative, the decisions they made, the opportunities they had, etc. Remember that you are not your ancestor and they are not you. Even if you have geographic locale and certain other aspects in common, there were still differences–some based on life experiences they had that you might not have had.

Read “How Were They Different?” for some more thoughts.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.

In some ways they were the same…in some ways they were different.
It’s the genealogist’s job to find out those ways.

Newspaper Reminders from a 1956 Probate Notice

A 1956 probate notice serves to give several reminders when searching newspapers:

  • Names will not always be spelled correctly–there are several errors in here, including the last name of my grandmother (Neil for Neill).
  • First names can be wrong–Tillie Short should be Lillie Short.
  • People can be mentioned in newspapers where they never ever lived–several of these heirs never lived in Illinois at all and in some cases their family had not lived in the area for sixty years.
  • Estate notices such as this will not give relationships, but the court records should. The court that heard the case will be listed in the notice.
  • Always make certain to get the date and name of the publication on your image you create.