Remember that if the civil record of a marriage indicates your ancestor was married by a minister, there may be a church record of the marriage as well. That record may provide additional information besides what is on the civil (government) record of the marriage.
I remember three of my grandparents. That got me to thinking about the grandparents that my grandparents might have actually know. This was a good little exercise that got me to thinking. Overlapping lifespans are not the only factor that can impact how well someone knew a grandparent. Geographic proximity, health, and family dynamics can also play a role. Cecil Neill (1903-1968). Two grandparents died before his birth. Remaining ones lived near where he grew up and lived. One died when he was eight and the other when he was twenty-one. Ida Trautvetter (1910-1994). Two grandparents died before her birth. One died when she was six, but was hospitalized much of that time. Other one died when she was seven and lived nearby. John H. Ufkes (1917-2003). Grandmothers […]
Charts serve to organize and summarize what we know. They can also be a ready reference when we cannot keep things straight in our head. I have quite a few relatives to whom I am related in more than one way. That can compound challenges when working with autosomal DNA test results as the shared double connections (at least for me) are often 5th great-grandparents or closer. These double connections can impact the amount of shared DNA we have (not necessarily doubling it at all). It can also impact the shared matches. Some of the double relationships I have in my head, but it’s impossible to keep them all at the ready mental reference. So I made a chart. The relationship is not completely stated, but there’s enough […]
[posted to our Facebook page and am sharing because I think it’s always worth thinking about] Who watched the kids? Have you thought about who took care of your ancestor’s children? If the mother died young, what happened (since typically the mother had childcare responsibilities)? If the mother worked outside the home, who took care of the children? If the father died young, was the mother able to support them herself? Were there relatives close enough to watch them without them having to leave the home? Were there older children who could help out? What if all the children were too young for one of them to help care for the others? This is something to consider no matter the time period or location of your research. Families […]
Transcribing old estate inventories can be a challenge. The handwriting can be difficult to read. The spellings can be phonetic and sometimes based on a pronunciation that is foreign to a modern speaker of the same language. The items may be household or farm items that have not been used in centuries. Google searches will not resolve every difficult to transcribe item. While items can be listed in an estate inventory in any order, they are usually grouped–either by purpose of the item or where they were located on the property. This is more likely if you are using the estate inventory appraisal and not the list of estate items sold. The appraisal of the estate was more likely to be done by walking around the property. This […]
A friend from high school asked me how many class periods we had “back in the day.” My memory was not clear. Funny thing was “back in the day” I thought that was something I would never forget. It’s a trivial detail, but it reminded me that the time to write down what we remember is now, not later. That’s true for genealogy conclusions we reach, things we remember about our grandparents or other relatives, and things we remember about our own lives. Memories fade. Details do matter. They help us to flesh out the lives of our ancestors and of ourselves. My friend Joe wanted the detail for a short story he was writing and he wanted the details right. Genealogists want the same thing. In fact […]
Theoretically newspapers are supposed to stick to verifiable facts. That does not always happen–particularly in the gossipy correspondent columns that appeared in some weekly newspapers. My ancestor, when he married his second wife, is referred to in the newspaper as a “well-to-do citizen” of a neighboring township. Based upon what I have learned about his life before and after this marriage, the reference seems to be slightly facetious. The date and place of marriage was correct. The additional reference, which I included in the transcription, is taken with a grain of salt.
When transcribing a document (or trying to interpret creative spelling that is clear to read), consider reading the item or document out loud. Sometimes words that don’t click when read silently do when heard aloud. Talking to yourself may have the added benefit of others in your household leaving you alone–allowing you to focus on your research.
A genealogy exercise that may yield some discoveries is to go through a reunion announcement and determine how the attendees are related. At some reunions, relative by marriage, current friends (especially significant others) and former neighbors may be in attendance. Do not assume everyone in attendance was a biological relative. But going through the names in an attempt to determine “who they are” may help you locate some new clues And since most of these announcements are twentieth-century documents, they may help you figure out a few DNA matches as well. Help support Genealogy Tip of the Day by visiting any of the following sites: Try a GenealogyBank Genealogy Search to see what you find. AncestryDNA offers. Books on Michael’s Genealogy Shelf My webinars My 1950 Census prep webinar
If you are not making progress on that brick wall, considering doing one of these alternate genealogy activities: digitizing something you have that has not been digitized before; putting identification information on digital images of pictures; writing up one of your solved problems; organizing and cleaning your digital genealogy files; reviewing a family you thought you were “done with;” finding ways to preserve and share answers to questions you have already solved; reaching out to that family member you have been avoiding for information; improving your genealogy skills by reading an article, watching a webinar, looking into classes, etc.; washing the dishes. That last one was a joke. There are a variety of genealogy things you can do when you have “genealogy time,” but that brick wall has […]
When viewing real property tax records, remember that landowners are the ones who pay property taxes and landowners may not live on the property they own. Just because you see Nicholas Schnieferdornman paying tax on real property in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1813 does not necessarily mean that he resides in Amherst County at that time. It is possible that he is a non-resident landowner. Individuals who are taxed on personal property in an area are usually residents of that area, but there can always be the occasional exception.
It’s not an end of the world movie fought by tractors. Tractor Wars is a book about the development of the farm tractor and the individuals and companies instrumental in that development. If your farming ancestors lived in the United States in the very late 1800s and early part of the 20th century, then this book may be of interest. The tractor changed farming in many ways and was one of the factors that eventually lead to larger farms and fewer farm families. The book is about the development of the tractor industry itself and focuses on the key players and companies in that industry. How the tractor changed farming is mentioned in general and in passing, but this book is not a detailed study of how the […]
I don’t need four repairmen coming over, I just need one who knows what he’s doing. Citation and documentation matter in genealogical research. But “sources” are more than just citing them and the number of them you in an attempt to prove a fact about a deceased relative. It is the accuracy of those sources and whether or not they are truly independent that matters. A person may have four original documents that provides the same piece of information: a place of birth. But if those documents (a death certificate, a marriage application, an obituary, and a biography written by the same person) all have the same informant, it’s really just one piece of information that is dependent on how reliable that person is. A place of birth […]
No genealogist wants to hear “the courthouse burned and all the records were destroyed.” The reality is that sometimes that statement is only partially true. Other times there are partial workarounds to those times when a courthouse and its records were really destroyed. The first thing to do is to determine what actually was destroyed. This may mean reaching out to others besides the local records offices. In some locations research guides to the area in question may indicate what materials really were destroyed and what ones are still extant. Local libraries, genealogical/historical societies are a good place to start asking about what records are available. Individuals familiar with research in the area can be another great resource. These people may not live in the area and may […]
Do you completely research all the ex-spouses of your ancestor after they and your ancestor divorced? Records after the divorce may mention your ancestor, their children, or provide research clues that help with your actual ancestor. And you never know, you may just find a really interesting story–even if your ancestor is not mentioned. I did. It included a fall down an elevator shaft and a box of missing estate documents that were never found. And the probate ended up mentioning the ex-wife. Help support Genealogy Tip of the Day by visiting any of the following sites: Try a GenealogyBank Genealogy Search to see what you find. AncestryDNA offers. Books on Michael’s Genealogy Shelf My webinars My 1950 Census prep webinar
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