These were held in July–order immediate downloads. Strategies for Crossing the Pond Already held–see below to order. Details: This session will discuss a variety of methods for tracing the “across the pond” origins of immigrant ancestors. It’s not just a list of sources, but focuses on process and procedures. Concepts also apply to tracing the origins of migrating ancestors who crossed the United States as well. All registrants receive a PDF copy of the session handout. Order “Strategies for Crossing the Pond” for immediate download–$9. Brick Wall Potpourri Already held–see below to order. Details: This presentation is a variety of “tips and tricks” for breaking brick walls that focusing on thinking “outside the box,” analyzing your process, getting past mind blocks, etc. It is not aimed at any […]
If your military veteran ancestor (or their spouse) received a pension, was there someone who helped them obtain it? There were attorneys who specialized in military pensions–particularly for Civil War veterans. Those attorneys may have had no connection directly with your ancestor as they advertised and made veterans aware of their services in a variety of ways. It wasn’t just out-of-town lawyers who helped people get pensions. A local attorney may have helped your ancestor get their pension a Justice of the Peace may have been involved, or even (as in the case of my aunt) the cashier at the small-town bank.
Sometimes we are so focused on proving a relationship or establishing the date and place of event that we only look at documents or records that we think give us the best chance of specifically stating that relationship or date and location. Focus can be good, but sometimes it can backfire as well. Sometimes records that we think might not help can actually contain the information we need–either directly or indirectly. And even if the record “we don’t need” doesn’t immediately help us solve the actual problem, it may give us a clue to other records that might. Any record can contain an unexpected clue. Sometimes searching what “won’t help me with my problem” can help us more than records that should. Some genealogists call that an exhaustive […]
I spent quite a bit of time looking for the mother of a relative who had married again after his father died. Her first name was relatively uncommon, but not knowing the last name made finding her difficult. In reviewing pictures I had taken of the relative’s tombstone (before I knew his mother’s name), I noticed a stone near his with that same first name. A little searching discovered the woman buried near him was his missing mother. The problem was that I did not have her name when I first located his tombstone–and her last name was not the one she had when she was his mother so it meant nothing to me. She ended up being a permanent neighbor of her son. It can be similar […]
It may seem tedious, but are all the locations spelled correctly in your genealogical database? Double-checking can be a way to locate other errors, notice things that you’ve failed to follow up on, and perhaps see new avenues for research. It never hurts to clean up your genealogical database. It’s Chariton County, Missouri–not Sheridan County. Harford County, Maryland, does not have a “t” in it. Seriously.
Some publications are published regularly in multiple editions. During some time periods, newspapers may have a morning edition and an evening edition. The content may be different and the article mentioning your relative may not be in both editions or may not contain the same content in both editions. Some national or regional publications may have smaller editions that include some or all of the main content with additional material that only applies to the “smaller area.” If a publication has varying editions make certain you have searched all editions, particularly those for the same area where your relative lived.
Errors in death certificates can be frustrating. Sometimes the errors are outright lies or guesses. But other times they could be based upon a misconception on the part of the informant. When my aunt died in 1927 her husband was the informant. My aunt’s parents died before she was married. Her husband indicated that her parents were born in Ottumwa, Iowa. That was wrong. But there was an Ottumwa connection. Several older members of my aunt’s family lived in Ottumwa for some time–even after my aunt was married. It’s easy to see how her husband might have thought that’s where her parents were born. Or where he thought they were from. And he could have easily confused “where born” with “where from?”
Any record can list a married female without her actual first name. This 1927 death record from Iowa listed the deceased as “Mrs. Charles Shipe.” Online indexes for this record indicated the record was for Charles Shipe. I was fortunate that I knew the name of her husband and could locate the item relatively easily. Unfortunately sometimes the easiest way to find a record on a female is to search for just her husband.
Thomas Graves answered the questions correctly–he wasn’t asked to list all his previous wives. The question was “were you previously married?” He answered correctly. He just didn’t indicate that there were two previous marriages before his current wife and that the second previous marriage ended in divorce. He only mentioned the previous wife who had died in 1879. The five-year gap does not mean that there had to be another wife. But the gap does suggest the researcher try and find out what happened in the interim. In this case the 1880 census enumeration may be helpful. Any gap in time in any chronology is an opportunity–an opportunity to see what else can be located. And remember that anyone can leave anything out of an application and it […]
Consideration is one of those terms encountered when using land records. It is the item (typically money, but not necessarily) that is exchanged for the real property being transferred from one individual to another. When the consideration is “love,” there probably is a familial relationship between the grantor (who originally owns the property) and the grantee (who is receiving it). That relationship often is a biological one, but not necessarily. Whenever the consideration on a deed is a token amount, consider that there may be a relationship between the two individuals. In modern times, the stated consideration may be a token amount even when there is no relationship between the parties involved. In those cases, there often is a mortgage or other instrument that handles the bulk of […]
Early in my research, I discovered an estate settlement for a relative who died with no living descendants. Her estate went to her heirs–the descendants of her brothers and sisters. What the estate record did not indicate (because it was not necessary) was that some of her siblings were full siblings and some of her siblings were half siblings. In the eyes of the law at the time, it made no difference in terms of the inheritance (in other time periods and locations it might have). But the full or half-sibling relationship makes a difference to the genealogist. Fortunately all the siblings shared a mother or it would have been more confusing than it was. Contemporary state statute would indicate if full siblings inherit differently than half-siblings. Sometimes […]
Two families in different parts of the same state had children with similar names. They could easily have been confused. Numerous original records clearly indicated that one member of the southern family had moved west and established their own family. That individual was my ancestor. The connection was clear. I researched the southern family as they were my relatives. I researched the northern family as well. Not in as much detail as my own family, but sufficiently enough to where I knew enough information about members of that family to help me to keep them separate. Sometimes you have to research the people who aren’t “yours” to help you keep them as separate as possible.
Genealogy research often is solving a mystery. But it is not like the mysteries one sees on television or reads about in novels. The answers are usually the simplest explanation. The legal terminology may be convoluted, but the reality often is not. Generally speaking the easier possibility is usually what took place. A correspondent had started research on a family using what records could easily be found online at no charge. Based on the limited items they were able to find, they had the great-grandfather having two relationships and children at the same time 100 miles apart. It made for a good dramatic story. The reality was much simpler. The “other wife” was actually the great-grandfather’s second wife and the “funny birth certificate” was actually one created after […]
Have you thought about what you would do if a surprise came up in your DNA test results? A sibling you didn’t know you had? A new first cousin, niece, or nephew? How soon would you reach out to that person? Would it depend upon what side of the family on which they were apparently related? Just because there are no surprises in your test results now does not mean that one will not show up in the future. That new relative could test at any point in time. Even if you would welcome a new relative, they may not be so welcoming of you. That new relative’s test results may have been a surprise to them as well as to you. They may have thought they knew […]
Genealogists talk about searching friends, associates, and relatives in an attempt to learn where someone came from or find out more about them. But it’s always possible that someone moved where they did not know anyone. Court records in early 19th century Virginia suggest that an uncle of mine was not thought of kindly by his neighbors and, after some legal troubles, might not have been trusted by his family as well. After his punishment for his crime was over he headed to what were then the wilds of Missouri to start a new life. Research there located no members of his extended network in Virginia–probably because that was his intent in the first place.
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