Your relative who served in the United States military may have enlisted in a state other than the one in which he lived. This was common for wars through the 19th century. Do not assume that your Ohio ancestor had to enlist in an Ohio unit. He may not have. I have several Illinois relatives who served in the US Civil War. Most of them enlisted in units from Illinois, but not all. One enlisted in an Iowa unit and another enlisted in a Missouri unit. And an Iowa relative enlisted in a unit from Wisconsin. This was sometimes done to help those state meet quotas in terms of volunteers. Genealogy Tip of the Day can help fill in those gaps in your genealogical skill set without being […]
If you have searched local land records (usually kept at the county or town level in the United States), have you determined where later surveys or plats are kept? These items may be filed in with the deed books or filed in a separate series of volumes, ledgers, or other format. After John Habben died in 1939, his sons had a survey conducted to clearly establish who had what pieces of property. The survey is filed in the recorder’s office in the same location as the land records, but in a separate series of documents. The survey simply establishes the boundaries, acreages, and ownership of each piece of property. It does not document how the men acquired the property. One would have to search land and other local […]
Whenever there is an index that I am uncertain how to use, I perform a backwards search. I manually search the records and pick a couple of records or items at random. I note where they are in the records, who they mention, etc. Then I go back to the index and see if I can find the index entry for that record. If I can, then I’m likely using the index correctly and I understand how it works. If I cannot, then there is something I need to figure out before I use the index further.
Fifty years after they came to America and decades after they died, Mr. and Mrs. John George Trautvetter were mentioned in the local newspaper in 1903 when their descendants gathered on their former arm. People can often be mentioned shortly after their death in their obituary, notices involving their probate, etc. The most likely mention of someone decades after their death is in the obituaries of their children. But as we can see there are other possibilities when someone can be mentioned well after their death. Don’t discount the possibility that great-grandma is mentioned in the newspaper fifty years after her death. Add Genealogy Tip of the Day–the book–to your bookshelf!
Genealogy theorists tout the value of an exhaustive search and there’s a reason–things can get overlooked. There’s also a reason why some of us just look for anything and everything. This 1900 deed contains more family clues that most deeds created during this time period. It has the former name and maiden name of the first seller and the “legal” and commonly used names of several other sellers listed. Not every document will provide such clues, but you do not know if you do not look. One needs to evaluate this information for perceived reliability, but in the case of this deed where the grantor is providing information about herself, it would likely be considered to be accurate as she likely provided it herself. Information on her death […]
There is no doubt that pregnant women got on ships that were headed to the United States. There is no doubt that some of them had their babies on the ship. I tend to doubt the story unless I can find some relatively contemporary evidence of it. The infant listed on the manifest as a newborn is a prime example. Stories of the baby being born on the ship make for nice dramatic stories and, when it actually happened, there is no doubt that it would have been a dramatic birth and the baby was fortunate to have survived. But try and find something that back up that story. Just like you would anything else.
Getting away from the families you have worked on for years can be change of pace that helps you to later take a fresh look at your own research. I’ve been working my grandson’s ancestry through his 4th great-grandparents. Half of his tree was pretty complete, but his paternal side is new to me. The families are in the same state as my own, rural like mine, and farmers like mine. But the family structure is different and some of the idiosyncrasies are not quite the same. Working on 20th century families is also not something I regularly do so that’s presenting some challenges as well. I’m making a short list of “revelations” for my own research while I’m working on these other families. The good thing is […]
Do you really know how someone actually pronounced the last name you are researching? One place to find out is from someone who actually has the last name. But there’s no guarantee that someone with the last name today is pronouncing it the way their ancestor did in 1800. If the name is not in English, find someone who speaks the language and ask them what it sounds like–online genealogy groups may be one place to find these people. For names that are in English are there online genealogy groups from the area where the person or family lived who may be familiar with how the name is pronounced? It is not always necessary to find someone with the last name in order to see how it was […]
All I need is one good plumber, not three mediocre ones. According to some in the land of genealogy, if I have three sources that say the same thing, then I have “proof.” No. You have three sources that say the same thing and there’s a little more to information analysis than reaching some magic number. One has to consider how “independent” the sources really are. Is the same person the informant on all three sources and providing the same information? If so that’s not three independent sources. It’s really one informant. The same thing applies if two published genealogies copy a statement from the same reference. That is a case of one source–not three. And also: how reliable are those sources? Did the informant know what they […]
Handing the disposition of your genealogical materials is not just as simple as “putting a clause in your will.” Here are a few things to keep in mind when “donating your genealogical materials via a will.” Make certain the recipient knows about the gift and is not simply going to put the materials on the curb when garbage day arrives. Just because they give you something does not mean they have to keep it. People can refuse a bequest and gifts in a will that are not easily convertible to cash have a higher chance of being refused. If your papers are going to a library or other facility, contact them beforehand to make certain they are able to receive and maintain the materials. They could refuse all […]
It is not always possible to get the precise date of an event. There are places and time periods where just determining the year of birth can be a challenge and researchers may only be able to get a range of years for a birth, marriage, or death. During these times, having a year or a short range of events may be sufficient to help you research the person’s children, spouse, and parents. The key is to make certain that you have looked at all available records and that you have not inadvertently merged two distinct people into one individual. Always make certain you have exhausted all extant records, but realize that in Virginia in the 1600s, the chance you find a precise date of birth is relatively […]
A first cousin of my great-grandmother disappeared in the 1920s and was last seen in California and Colorado by various members of his family. he was approximately fifty years old at the time of his disappearance. He was never found. The last record he was mentioned in was the estate settlement of his brother. That brother died in the 1940s and his only heirs were his siblings and their children–including the missing brother. The judge overseeing the settlement of the brother’s estate declared the missing man dead in order to complete the settlement of the estate and disburse the balance to his children. The estate settlement contained testimony from the missing man’s children regarding their father’s disappearance and what attempts were made to find him. The court record […]
Determining where immigrants came from or where any migrant lived previously can sometimes be difficult. The problem is more difficult to solve when these “movers” die young, leave few records, don’t share information with other family members, etc. While looking at the expanded family/kin network is always advised, for these “movers,” determine all the individuals with whom they interacted when they were new to their new area. Sometimes this can be difficult and requires a tedious search of records. Who witnessed any of their naturalization documents? Who married them and did that person have any religious affiliation? Who were they living with in early census records? If their children were baptized, who were the sponsors? If they purchased land, who witnessed those land sales? If there was a […]
It is fun to collect items, obtain new information, and make genealogical discoveries. I understand that. But if your goal is for some of your discoveries to remain found and for the connections you have made between family members to stay connected, then it is important for your to organize some of what you have found and to share it with others. Consider how permanent your method of sharing it. Online and digital publishing are great ways to share information but not necessarily great ways to preserve it long term. Archival paper is still a great way to go. Will digital files be around in one hundred years? Will they be readable?
If a genealogical database includes Social Security numbers as one of their keyed data fields, search the database for the Social Security number you have for your deceased relative. Many times you will simply locate the entry that was previously located, but occasionally an additional reference or entry may be revealed. If the database returns the Social Security number but does not provide a specific search box, try a key word for the number–both with and without the dashes. Add Genealogy Tip of the Day–the book–to your bookshelf!
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