Wills, deeds, and other legal documents may list all the children of a specific individual. Don’t assume that they are listed in order from oldest to youngest. They may be–or they may not be. Try and use other records to estimate the years of birth for at least some of the children when vital records are not available. That may give you a better perspective on whether children are listed in birth order in a specific document or not. Remember that a quit claim deed drawn up to settle the estate of a deceased individual may mention children and grandchildren of the deceased in order to transfer title properly. The deed may not distinguish between children and grandchildren, only referring to them as heirs. The deceased individual may […]
There is a picture of my Dad and my brother taken in the early 1970s. My Dad is wearing a pair of dress slacks, a dress shirt, and a tie. My Dad rarely dressed up–most pictures of him are in jeans and some form of work shirt. My immediate thought was “where were we all going?” Sure enough, my Mother had written the month and year when the photo was taken and the name of the cousin whose wedding we were getting ready to attend. The picture was taken in the front yard of the home where we live. Many documents, records, and pictures have unwritten clues that can be just as important as the statements and images that are straightforward. Sometimes those unwritten clues are more important […]
If your ancestor apparently picked up and moved to where he knew no one, is it possible he was responding to an advertisement? Speculators, land agents, promoted their projects and developments in a variety of ways–including newspapers. It might have been an advertisement that caused your ancestor to pick up and move to where he knew no one.
Have you checked out the website for the state archives, state historical society, state library, etc. in the states where your ancestors lived? At the very least many have research guides and information about records in the state or province. Many have online indexes, databases, or actual images of records that can be accessed remotely. Others offer some research services via email or phone or at the least answer research questions. Don’t neglect state-level facilities. They often have budgets and staff that local agencies do not. Some may also be repositories for local records that can no longer be maintained by the original creator or holder of the records.
Even if Aunt Martha does not have hollowed out book on her bookshelf, any book in her collection could have an obituary, photograph, letter, or other paper-based family history item tucked into it. Family Bibles are the first place to look–and to page through page by page. Clippings, funeral notices, and the like can also be used as bookmarks. Make certain you have flipped through all the pages of those books if you have the chance to go through them. You are looking for items of family history value–not just items with monetary value. When the book in the illustration was pulled off the shelf, it’s purpose was clear. Not all hollowed out books are as easy to spot.
I give this property to John Smith and his heirs and assigns forever.”The phrase “heirs and assigns forever” means that John can “assign” (sell by deed or give by will) the property or, if he has not done that by his death, then John’s heirs will have title to the property (depending upon state statute and common legal practice at the time).  That’s a rather simplified version of “heirs and assigns” forever, but “heirs” and “assigns” mean different things. And the genealogist who doesn’t concern themself with the definitions runs the risk of drawing conclusions that are not necessarily true.
Don’t always assume that “adopted” children were unrelated to the family. There could have been some relationship between the adopted child and the parents. The child could have been the grandchild of the couple or a child of a sibling or other family member. But there’s also nothing saying that the adopted child was related either. It’s just something to think about.
A certification of birth is a document that certifies a record of the birth appears in the records of the local office authorized to record records of birth. It may contain a transcription of the entire document or just a portion of it. The certification is not intended to be a complete transcription of the original document. It just confirms that the record is on file. A copy of the certificate of birth is usually an actual copy of the birth record. From the standpoint of genealogical research, it’s the preferred item to request. The image contains part of the certification of birth and birth certificate for my late grandmother. The certification of birth contains spellings of her parents’ names that are not what appears to be on […]
When a man naturalized in the United States in the 19th and early 20th century, his minor children automatically became naturalized as well, even if their names are not listed in the naturalization. When foreign born Ekke Behrens applied for a homestead in Nebraska in the 1880s, he included his father’s naturalization as proof of his citizenship. This type of citizenship is often referred to as a derivative citizenship. If you are unable to locate a naturalization for your foreign born ancestor, consider the possibility that his father’s naturalization served as his naturalization as well.
If a document refers to your ancestor as the lessor on lease–he owns the property that is the subject of the lease. If your ancestor is referred to as the lessee, he is the person being given temporary use of the property. The lessor owns it, the lessee borrows it–generally speaking. Records of leases usually are not kept by local record keeping agencies. Leases are usually only mentioned in local records when they are the subject of legal action over the terms of the lease or a conflict involving the property that was the subject of the lease. If there was such court action, a copy of the lease may be included with the court papers.
Remember there are several United States censuses that provide evidence of ownership of real property. Some ask for values of real property, others ask if the home was owned or rented. Documenting that land ownership through local land records may lead to additional information on your ancestor. Are you getting all the clues from the census?
I’m a member of subscription sites that allow me to create links to images on their sites that requires me to have a subscription to access.I don’t link to the images that are behind the “pay wall.” I download images of records that I need to my own media so that I always a copy of the image for personal use. That way, if something ever happens or I don’t have access to the site any longer–I still have digital copies of the images I used.
Don’t take “the courthouse burned” to mean that every record before that point in time was destroyed. It might be that in reality, records from some offices survived, some offices’ records were not completely destroyed, etc. In some cases, records might have been “re-recorded” after the fire. There may also be state or federal records that provide similar information. Ask around.
If you are using English-language records, is it possible that the writer slipped in a non-English word or a word in a non-English script? A native German speaker may have written in English only to occasionally slip in a German word out of habit? Or did a native Swede write a last name in his native script? That confusing word may be confusing because it’s not in English language or not in the English script.
Did your relative have such an odd way of saying a word or a phrase that a census taker or clerk would be hard-pressed to spell it correctly? The reason you are unable to find a name that’s clearly written on a record could be because your relative had a highly unusual way of saying it and the clerk simply did the best he could. The problem is compounded if the clerk was unfamiliar with your relative’s family and simply wrote what he heard. Clerks in small towns are more often to know what someone really means when the use their own unique pronunciation. Today’s post title is how it would have sounded if my grandmother had said “Use the bulldozer to push the multiflora roses in the […]
Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book