Libraries, archives, and historical societies do acquire new materials, digitize items that “you never thought they would,” or create new indexes or finding aids. If it’s been years since you looked at their catalog, viewed their website, or inquired about their collection, it might be time to do so. There may be something there that was not when you originally checked. Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!
Several years ago, modifying pedigree charts by adding color to represent ancestral traits was a popular pastime. One of my takes on this was to simply list the occupation of the ancestor in that position on the chart. My chart went back six generations and included a number of farmers and farm wives. I knew there would not be much occupational variation in my chart, although now I might break up farmer into: tenant farmer farm laborer farm owner Or something like that to make a little more distinction. Still a good exercise to help me see that there is a little variation in my ancestral occupations. Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!
Researching for information on your ancestors and distant relatives can be a lifelong passion. It’s a great way to learn about your personal connection to history and perhaps to discover something about yourself as well. But do you have any genealogy goals other than continuing to search? Is it proving or disproving a family story? Is it identifying who is in that old picture? Is it tracking as many ancestors as you can? Is it locating as many descendants as you can of a specific set of ancestors? Think about what your genealogy goal is and how you are working to achieve it. And it’s ok to just want to locate more information–there’s fun in that too. But sometimes a little direction is helpful. What are your genealogy […]
No index is perfect. Because of that genealogists should always be aware of limitations of indexes that they are using. Genealogists with any amount of research time under their belt should be aware of incorrect transcriptions on the part of the indexer and incorrect renderings of the name on the part of the clerk. But there are other things to consider and remember. Does the index include every name in the record? If not, what names are included? Many local indexes to land records only include the name of the first grantor and the first grantee. Some index all grantors and grantees, but those indexes tend to be the exception to the rule. In some locations, land records are in one consolidated series of indexes, in others each […]
Years ago, on my Rootdig blog a list of things that relatives do that seem to make research more difficult. That list is reproduced here. These are a little tongue-in-cheek. Well, at least some of them. It’s also not meant to be complete either and is based upon personal frustrations. Your frustrations may be different. Genealogy would be easier if: Brothers would not marry women who shared the same first and last name before marriage. Expand previous rule to state that anyone cannot marry someone with the same first name as the spouse of a sibling. Individuals marrying more than once could not have a second spouse with the same first name as their previous spouse. All name changes were required to be recorded with a local court. […]
We’ve set the dates for our annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City-in August of 2022. Details are posted on our announcement page.
An excellent place to learn your ancestor’s unique (or not so unique) migration path across the country is from his or her pension record. Nancy Rampley’s pension record documents her parents’ migration from Kentucky into Indiana into Illinois into Missouri. And it was her husband who was actually in the Civil War. Revolutionary War era pensions for two of my wife’s ancestors shows their migration across several states from the time of the Revolution until the 1830s. Remember that a pension on a sibling or a cousin of an ancestor might provide clues about that ancestor’s migrations as well. Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!
Some documents clearly state who was the informant. Many though do not provide this information. When considering the accuracy of information on any document, consider the probable informant and how likely they were to know the information being provided. Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!
Normally an ancestor has to be dead to have an estate settlement, has to be born to have a birth certificate, etc. Think about what really HAS to be when you research your ancestor. He didn’t have to get married to reproduce. He didn’t have to name his oldest son after his father. He didn’t have to get married near where his first child was born. He didn’t have to have a relative witness every document wrote. There are few “have tos” in genealogy. Make certain you aren’t using “have tos” to make brick walls for yourself. Get ready for the release of the 1950 census with my webinar–special offer!
People can be mentioned in a book or other publication without ever being named specifically. My Mom is mentioned in a book of recipes my great aunt published several years before her death. She’s not named specifically and I almost missed the reference to her until I was reading one of the short stories she sprinkled throughout the recipe book. My great aunt mentions her “niece in western Illinois.” I knew immediately that the reference was to my mother. While my great aunt had eight nieces, only one of them lived in western Illinois. I was glad I caught the reference as it gives me extra motivation to make the recipe in which she was mentioned. Recipe books are not the only print materials that can make references […]
This “Presented to” page dated 24 November 1953 was a single sheet of paper tucked into a Bible of more recent vintage my grandmother had. I almost missed it as it was stuck between two pages in the front of the book. It always pays to go page by page through old books of family members–particularly old Bibles as a variety of items are placed in them for safekeeping. This one is particularly poignant to me as my great-grandmother, who I am guessing wrote the inscription, died a little over two months after this inscription was written.
The FAN concept was first coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills to emphasize the importance of researching not just our direct ancestor, but also their friends, associates, and neighbors. That’s where the acronym “FAN” comes from. It’s a worthwhile concept, but it’s important to remember that your ancestor might not have been a literal fan of everyone in his FAN network–especially his associates and neighbors–and some of their relatives as well. There may have been associates your ancestor interacted with only when necessary. There may have been neighbors of your ancestor with whom he interacted as infrequently as possible. Your ancestor also may have had relatives with whom he interacted only when absolutely (or legally) necessary. Think about your ancestor’s friends, associates, and neighbors, but pay close attention to […]
My “shoebox” at Ancestry has 77 pages of entries in it. I discovered two blog posts from years ago on my Rootdig blog where I was going to follow up and got derailed by real life before I got back to it. My downloads folder has quite a few document images that need to be property named and filed in the appropriate folder. And on it goes. How many loose ends do you have that never got tied up, followed up on, or completely analyzed? It can be fun to look for new things and make new discoveries, but following up on all those things that never got followed up on originally may result in discoveries that are just as exciting. Maybe it’s time to go through that […]
Determining where your farmer who rented all his farm ground lived can be difficult. Census records and other materials in many rural areas may only be as precise as the township where your ancestor lived. Newspapers in rural areas often contained gossip columns that may mention when your ancestor was moving from one farm to another. That could provide the name of the tenant. Keep in mind that the land owner may have owned more than one farm. Use local records to determine what parcels that owner owned. Plat books which map out who owned what parcels of the county can be helpful in determining what parcels were owned by the landowner. County records, such as tax records and deeds, can also help with this determination. If your […]
We’ve brought back my trip to the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. There are details on our announcement page.
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