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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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.
When searching courthouse land records, documents may not necessarily be indexed under a person’s name. This 19th century deed in Illinois was from the heirs of Alpha Forsyth. As a result, it was indexed in the “H” section because, after all, “heirs” does begin with an “h.” If you are looking for a deed drawn up by the family after the surviving parent dies, it might be worth your time to search not just for all their heirs individually under their own names (although deeds are usually indexed under the name of the first one listed), but also under the word “heir.” Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.
When I was small I could not pronounce my mother’s maiden name. As a result for years, I referred to her parents as “Granddad and Grandma Up.” We referred to them as that long after I was able to pronounce “Ufkes” correctly. Yesterday, when mentioning my grandparents, I referred to them with that last name. I had not done that in years. Shortly after I did it, I realized that it’s one of those little things that is not written anywhere in my research notes on my grandparents. It’s a trivial little thing, but one which makes me remember my grandparents fondly during that time when I was small. What do you not have written down that only exists in your memory? What nicknames or diminutives do you […]
It’s available! Genealogy can be confusing and sometimes what the family historian needs is something short and to-the-point that can help them get their research back on track. That’s the intent of “Genealogy Tip of the Day.” Long-time genealogist Michael John Neill uses his thirty years of research experience to remind readers of things they had forgotten, make them aware of things they did not know, and encourage them to increase their research and analytical skills. This is not a typical how-to book that has a chapter for each content topic. Topics are spread throughout the book. Tips are based on actual research, actual families, and actual problems. Each day’s tip is meant to be a relatively short read, is engaging, accurate, and occasionally funny. Tip of the […]
Directories are great sources, but don’t neglect to see if there are lists in the back of individuals with various businesses and occupations. This 1891-1892 directory of Rock Island, Illinois, contained a reference to a boarding house owned by Mrs. Louisa Mortier. That was a discovery and now I need to see if the address of the boarding house is the same address listed as her husband’s reference. The family had no boarders listed in their 1880 census enumeration–but that was almost ten years before the reference in this city directory. A relative may easily have had a business or occupation of which you were unaware. Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.
Some locations do not exist on a map and may only have existed as a reference used by locals to a “generally known” area without precise borders. Newspapers can be one place to at least determine if such a place name actually existed–even if the precise location cannot be determined from the newspaper reference. That’s case with this 1922 reference from the “Tioga” section of a newspaper from Quincy, Illinois. It mentions “Green Grove” and “Georgetown.” They obviously were relatively close to Tioga and everyone in 1922 knew where they were. The problem is that I don’t live in 1922. The Green Grove reference was one I heard from my grandmother as a reference to where she attended school. A daughter of the George Trautvetter mentioned in the […]
If you plan on visiting several cemeteries in one research trip, make certain you organize your photos as you take them. Consider a “title page” as one of your photographs as well as photographs of the entrance of the cemetery. There are other ways to reduce confusion later, but this approach may be helpful: photograph of title page–handwritten is fine if you are “in the field” photograph of entrance photographs of individual stones photograph of entrance It’s not necessary to be fancy. Then when sorting your photographs by the time they were taken, you know the cemetery each stone was located at. You can add more details to the location when you return home. Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.
I’m inclined to think that there are not any “tricks” to genealogical research. To be certain occasionally we stumble upon something, but that’s usually because we are looking for something and we have the names in our head and we notice something. Often what are called “tricks” are really just good ideas. They are not “magic.” Those ideas include: Organizing materials as you find them. Transcribing documents as you find them. Using online trees as clues, not facts. Identifying people on pictures when you can and as soon as possible. Writing down your process so you can re-analyze it later. Learning about multiple sources so you have more options. Not jumping to conclusions. Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.
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He was christened Johann Michael Trautvetter in Bad Salzungen, Germany, in 1796, but his call name was Michael. He’s never referred to as Johann or John in any records in the Untied States after his immigration–it’s always Michael. The “call name” is the name that a person is called. For many Germans during the time period Johann Michael Trautvetter was alive, their first name was not their call name. Those who immigrated may never have even used their first name in the United States or wherever they settled. Instead they opted to just use their call name as their actual name. The 1796 christening entry for Michael (which is what I call him) reminds us not to assume. The underlined name in this christening entry is the father’s […]
We all have those people we can’t find in certain records for one reason or another and there comes a time when it’s time to move on and search for another record or another person. But I’ve thought about creating a master list of those people and the records in which I can’t find them (along with where I’ve searched before and how). That “Can’t Find them List” is something that periodically I could refer to and try again. Not every week or every month, but maybe a few times a year when I’m in need of a break from whatever I’m working on. Databases do get updated. New records are discovered. Researchers realize they have made mistakes. Instead of scouring my files for things I’ve not found, […]
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