In working on organizing some family materials, I noticed that I was constantly mixing up various family members and needed a list to keep them straight. But for me the best list was not one sorted by last name. Instead I made a list where they were sorted by first name. That was because partially some items I had in my possession only had their first name listed and partially because I found myself having an easier time remembering their first name. The list was for my personal use only and included the first name, middle names or nicknames, last name (maiden and married [if they had one] for women–in that order), names of parents, and years of birth and death. The sorting by first name reminded me […]
We’re offering our first ever Beginning Irish Research webinar on 23 October. Register to attend live online or pre-order a downloadable copy of the presentation. 30 October 2020 at 2:00 pm central time–note date change This session will focus on starting your Irish genealogical research. This session will begin with an overview of the importance of completely researching the Irish immigrant in the United States.Ireland-specific topics will include: Irish civil records–overview and search strategies Irish religious records–overview and search strategies Irish political jurisdictions, their relationships with each other, and what you need to know Overview of record destruction–sorry, it’s a reality Overview of Irish names Overview of Irish migrations Reaching out to others who may be able to help and networking strategies Intended for those who have not […]
The grantor on a deed is the seller, the one who is transferring their interest in real property to someone else. The grantor may be getting money, other property, or nothing at all. It just depends on the type of transaction. The grantee on a deed is the one to whom the interest in real property is being transferred. The grantee may be paying for the interest in the property or may not be. Again–depends on the situation.
If your ancestral background is pretty homogeneous, like mine is, it can be easy to get in a research zone and think all research is like yours. When I first began working on my children’s ancestry years ago (and now that of my sons-in-law), the first challenge I had was working with urban individuals and immigrants from countries with which I was not familiar. But that stretched my research skills. Who knew cemeteries had phone numbers you could call? And city directories published virtually year after year? The ability to “search the whole town” for my person of interest was no longer as practical as it was in my rural ancestral areas. I had to learn other skills and develop other techniques. That helped me when I went […]
If your ancestors were movers who frequently owned property, make certain you have obtained copies of all their local land records. Deeds where they are grantors (sellers) may provide some details about where they moved. Transactions on their property in the area they left from may not have been finalized until after their move. The deed of sale may indicate their new county or area of residence or acknowledgements of the deed in front of a local official may indicate where that official was permitted to act. Either way it could help you determine where they went.
United States military pension applications (both veterans and their spouses) are usually made “under” a specific pension act. The name of that act and date of its passing is usually referenced in their initial paperwork. See if you can find the text of that act by searching for it online. Read the act. Your ancestor believed the met the qualifications. For the veteran that meant in terms of their service. For the spouse, it meant that the veteran met the service terms of the act and that the spouse met the marriage requirements of the act. That information could be helpful in your research–particularly if the amount of information known on the ancestor is minimal.
There are times where it is helpful to have multiple copies of the same record. Those times fall into two categories. The first is when you need a better image of the record than the one that you have. Getting another image or copy make it easier to read that name or word that is giving you difficulty. The second time is when it’s not really the same record. A birth certificate may have additional details that were not put in the birth register. A birth reference in a church record (usually mentioned in a baptism) may include details not on the actual civil copy of the birth record. But getting another copy of something you already have because you did not know you had it is not […]
Not all of us with rural families in our background have ancestors who owned real property. Maps of property owners can still be helpful in our research–particularly if we don’t know where in the county or region our ancestor actually lived. See if you can locate neighbors of your non-land owning rural ancestor on a property-owner map. If you find them on a map, your relative is likely living nearby. This can give you an idea of where the county where the family lived and help you determine possible cemeteries and churches to check for additional records. Tenant farmers and farm laborers do not leave behind as many records as landowners do. But the neighboring landowners (in census and other records) can help you narrow down where in […]
Do you know what the approximate contemporary population was for the town, county, and state during the time period your ancestor lived there? How did the population change over his life time? Knowing the rough population helps to provide perspective. And if you don’t know the population, what other things about the area do you not know? County histories, state histories, newspapers, government websites, gazetteers, and other sources may contain this information. Your reference librarian at your local library may be able to help as well.
Sound research of land records requires that one locate the records of acquisitions and dispositions–how land was acquired and how it was “unacquired” by the property owner. Establishing both ends of the land transaction can lead to genealogical discoveries as deeds of purchase and sale can suggest rough migration times, potential associates, etc. The problem is that some times both ends of the transaction do not result in a clear, straight-forward, paper trail. That’s more likely to be true when the deed that has been located is a quitclaim deed where the person of interest is the grantor. In that case they are transferring their claim to the real property to the grantee. Quitclaim deeds are common in situations involving inheritances, divorces, and boundary disputes. The quitclaim deed […]
I’ve been working on some of my New England families and have used a few compiled genealogies as “a starting point” and something to give me some direction. I know they can contain errors and omissions. Errors and omissions can always create research frustrations. Perhaps the one that is most frustrating to me is the reference to a female that includes her date and place of birth and death, but only lists one marriage–the one deemed “relevant” to the genealogy being compiled. Researchers can overlook things, but if the only marriage listed is not the “last one,” it makes me wonder how they found the death or probate information without knowing her last name at death. Chances are either they copied the information from someone else or neglected […]
Determining the denomination with which a minister was affiliated can be difficult–particularly if the ministry was not the individual’s full time job and the person has been dead for several centuries. The usual place where one learns of an “untethered minister” is on a marriage record. One approach is to search for the individual’s religious affiliation is GoogleBooks. Try searching that site for the name of the minister and the county where the marriage took place–just the name of the county and the state. If that is not successful, consider: Using only the last name of the minister. Use the name of the county seat. Include the word “minister,” “preacher,” “pastor,” etc. Include the word church. Include one word to guess at the denomination “Lutheran,” “Methodist,” “Presbyterian,” etc. […]
This presentation discusses what do to when you’ve located that elusive document. The bulk of the presentation will include ways to get the “most” of the document, making certain to interpret it in the historical, legal and other contexts. Also included will be a discussion of the problem-solving process, organizing research plans, and organizing what’s confusing. The presentation will wrap up with a discussion of how to create further research plans based upon what has been located. This is over. The recording and handout can be ordered for immediate download.
Just a few reminders: Cite sources as you find them. Don’t fuss about format–no one’s genealogy was ruined because of a comma. Interview relatives you have not interviewed. Digitize home sources that have not been digitized. Work on identifying old photographs. Try and learn about a new genealogical source or method. Not all sources are available online. Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day book.
There may easily be more than one copy of your relative’s birth record. There could be the original birth certificate. There may be a register or summary record that includes a transcription of what was on the original certificate. There could be local and state copies of the birth certificate. Because birth registration is governed by state statute and has changed over time, what is true in one state at one point in time is not necessarily true elsewhere or at a different time. New England states usually keep these records at the town level. Local registration of records generally begins before state registration. Determine what registration was taking place where your ancestor lived at the time of their birth. “Where to Write for Vital Records” has links […]
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