Flipping Over Clippings in Books

A recent book of poems written by a cousin that I purchased on Ebay recently reminded me of a tip that we’ve mentioned before. Go through old books completely page by page to see what might be stuck in between pages. Clippings can be smaller than this one and might not be noticed with a casual, quick, flip through–especially if they are tucked in the spine.

Also don’t forget to turn them over! This one was photographed this way intentionally, but looking at both sides can be helpful and may help you date or locate the clipping as well.

Who Took the Picture?

When you are looking at old pictures that were likely not taken by a professional photographer, do you think of who the likely photographer was?

Revisiting those FindAGrave Memorials?

When was the last time you took a second look at a FindAGrave memorial to see if a better picture of the tombstone has been posted?

This memorial for Marion Blanton originally included a picture of the stone that was covered in growth that made it difficult to read part of the inscription. A later visit to the page indicated someone had posted a cleaned up image of the stone.

Thanks to CABS for posting this memorial to her Facebook page which brought it to my attention.

Stories they Don’t Tell

Years ago, while in the greater Chicago area for a wedding, my Grandma and my immediate family visited a niece of my Grandma’s in her home in the suburbs. She had lived there for decades and Grandma had never visited her. I was in my mid-teens at the time and had been doing my genealogy research for a few years.

Several times on our trip there we heard how good of a cook the niece was. While at her home, the niece asked me what I knew about my Grandma’s grandfather. Before I could open my mouth, Grandma said “he doesn’t know anything about him.” I didn’t interrupt Grandma or correct her.

A few minutes later, the excellent cook asked my Grandma to come into the kitchen to “stir the beans.” I knew the “beans” were an excuse to discuss something they did not want me to hear. Snippets of their conversation were overheard, but nothing significant. The niece’s husband, a very nice man, was hard of hearing and only had one volume for his voice: loud.

From other sources, I did learn more about Grandma’s grandfather. I never did know what the specific details of what they were discussing in the kitchen. Interestingly enough, the family he had with his second wife were more willing to discuss him.

People sometimes know more than they let on and other family members may know there’s “something about” a certain relative without knowing any of the specifics. And sometimes there’s no way to get someone to tell you a family history secret if they do not really want to.

Follow the Ex-Spouses as Well

Don’t neglect researching ex-spouses of your ancestor. While very short term marriages may not yield much relevant information during the time period after the marriage, individuals who were married to your ancestor for some time may shed new clues on your ancestor after the marriage ended.

And do not neglect to research the divorce as it may mention date and place of marriage as well as other details.

Compile Your Tree Again

A little humor:

It would be nice if Ancestry (and the other sites) had a notice that said:

Please compile your tree again.

The tree submission could not be completed because your submission did not make any sense at all, violated the laws of time and space, and shows a blatant disregard for accuracy.

While we all make mistakes, we have likely seen trees where the issues are larger than the occasional error or lapse in genealogical judgement.

“Sorting the Smoke” and Our Stuff

Open photo
Title page of Sorting the Smoke, which I recently purchased on Ebay.

I purchased on Ebay a copy Sorting the Smoke. It is a book of poems written by a second cousin of my grandmother–largely because it was signed by him in two places.

The inscription shown here is written to someone the author knew and someone I discovered passed away in 2021. This is not a post about doing Google searches to learn more about people.

It’s a reminder that after we leave this existence, we have no real control over what happens to our things. Think about your genealogy and family history materials and what you hope happens to them after your demise. Work to make that happen to the best of your ability. Reach out to others for ideas and suggestions. Think about all the items you have an determine which ones are the most important for you to pass on.

Choices will have to be made. Everything cannot be preserved. Your family may not treasure your cherished items the same way that you do.

I’m actually glad the item made it’s way to Ebay. It allowed me to purchase it and it could have suffered a much worse fate.

And now, I have to decide what to do with it. The problem of where things “go,” is a never-ending one.

Back to the Parents for the Baby?

When looking for birth records of children, always consider the possibility that the mother may have gone to live with her parents, or other relatives (either by blood or by marriage) to have the child. If civil records of births were being recorded, it would be where the child was actually born.

Children baptized as infants may be taken to a “home church” for that ceremony instead of being baptized where the parents are living at the time of the birth.

Greeting Cards as Clues

A tip from the past:

When my parents were married in 1967, they received a congratulatory card from Ola Howes. The name did not ring a bell to me and I concluded it was a former neighbor or a fellow teacher of my mother.

Upon asking Mom who Ola Howes was, I was told that “I don’t know.”

Years later in my research, I discovered that my paternal great-grandfather had a first cousin Ola (Baker) Howes (their mothers were half-sisters). She had apparently seen my parents’ announcement in the paper and sent a card.

Are there genealogical clues hiding in old greeting cards?

We Don’t Want People Knowing That

Obituaries and family members can easily hide a key detail in a person’s life. According to family members, my great-grandfather died at home. His obituary in the paper indicated he died at home. He did not. After suffering from a series of strokes, the family could no longer take care of him and he was put in a state hospital several counties away where he died a few weeks later. They cared for him at home for years, but were no longer able to towards the end of his life.

That’s why it took me forever to locate his death certificate–I was looking in the wrong place.