When viewing digital scans of ledgers or books that contain left and right hand pages on the same image, make certain the pages are lined up. The register shown in the illustration has a right page that is a “line up” from the left page. It’s noticeable on the top of of the page.
But this ledger contains the names of individuals on the far left hand side. The person of interest was in the middle of the image. Initially when I found the entry, I slide over to the right hand page to read the rest of the entry–without realizing that the images of the right and left hand side were not aligned.
Always look at the whole image. It will make it easier to determine if the left and right hand sides are lined up.
If your relative was in a state prison–as opposed to a local or county jail–see if there are records of his or her incarceration. Chances are, the prison’s earlier records have been transferred to a state archives or other statewide facility charged with maintaining the records. If they do not have the records, they may be able to point you in the direction of other agencies or facilities that may be able to help you.
Prison registers may provide physical information or biographical information on your ancestor not located in court records.
Every event in your ancestor’s life takes place in context. If your ancestor does something on a specific date, there may be other people doing that same thing on that same date:
other couples marrying on the same date as your ancestor may be relatives or close friends
other individuals naturalizing on the same day as your ancestor may be relatives, friends, or associates
men who deserted the army on the same date as your ancestor may have had a connection to him
people who died on the same date as your ancestor may have had the same contagious illness
and so on.
The commonality of the date may mean nothing. It may also be significant. Just don’t ignore it. Looking for “same day people” is an excellent way to locate your ancestor’s friends, associates, and neighbors, what Elizabeth Shown Mills (author of Evidence Explained) calls the FAN network.
Your ancestor didn’t live in a vacuum. Using the FAN approach requires some air <grin>.
It’s not a stray mark. It is an intentional dot and it is not the only one on the page.
As of this writing, in Ancestry.com‘s interpretation of 6th name on this image is “Fred” sans dot. Before I looked at the actual record, I thought it odd that the pastor used the Anglicized diminutive Fred for my great-grandfather while using the low-German name of Trientje for my great-grandmother.
The pastor didn’t use Fred as the name for my great-grandfather. It was an abbreviation. Looking at other names on the same page made it clear that abbreviating names was a common practice in the baptismal register.
I have transcribed it as “Fred.”–with the period–in my records. Numerous other sources indicate that his actual name was Frederick/Frederich.
My maternal grandfather was born 106 years ago today. I never called him anything other than Granddad, but that name is obviously not listed for him on any actual record.
His baptismal record indicated his name was Johann Heinrich Frederick Ufkes and that he was born on 27 January 1917 to Fred.[sic] and Trientje (Janssen) Ufkes. His birth certificate gives his name as John Henry Ufkes and indicates the same date of birth.
The only other item showing two middle names is his tombstone which only includes them as initials. Seemingly ironic that the two records providing both names (or references to them) are ones created at the beginning and ending of his life.
Which name should I call Granddad by in my software and other records? I use John Henry as that’s what he used during his entire lifetime (other than going by John H. to distinguish himself from a cousin with the same first name). Other than occasionally being referred to as Johnnie by some who had known him his entire life, I never heard him referred to as anything other than John.
I transcribe the baptismal entry the way it is written. I transcribe the tombstone the way it is written. I make a notation regarding his name in my software and indicate “first hand knowledge” of the name he chose to go by and why.
Records will not always be consistent. People may choose to use names other than the ones they were given at birth. Transcribe things as written and explain differences when you know reasons.
It is not possible to preserve every piece of paper we have. Sometimes it not even possible to preserve or pass on every piece of paper we have from our parents or grandparents. The piles and files may be overwhelming and those that come after us may have no interest in documenting every receipt that Grandpa kept during his life time.
Consider scanning the paper items and letting the originals go in some cases. Do you need to keep every physical check your Grandfather wrote? Do you need ever receipt Grandma kept for craft supplies or having the television repaired? It might not even be worth your time to scan or digitize these items.
Or it might be.
That’s really your decision. But consider whether those who come after you will want all the originals. That’s not to say that everything should be thrown out. I have the cancelled checks my grandfather wrote to pay the hospital bill when my father was born and when my grandmother fell through the attic and hit her hip on the bureau in the bedroom (the memo says: “Ida-hip.”). But I can’t keep them all. Digitizing them all perhaps and annotating them where I can is one thing, but physically keeping each piece of paper may not be practical.
Prioritize. Sometimes when we try and save everything, we end up saving nothing.
I’ve seen the picture numerous times. The print is blurry and faded and the image I made from the negative using my scanner is blurry as well, but the colors are better than in the print.
I never really looked closely at what I was holding. I was more concerned about trying to figure out who the woman on the right is (spoiler alert: I still am not certain). But upon closer inspection, I realized that I am holding my Dad’s brownie camera with the big flash.
Don’t forget to take one more look at a record, an image, or a file to see if there is something you have failed to notice. Sometimes we get so focused on one aspect of something that we miss other clues. In this case, my holding of the camera is not a huge deal. Other times those overlooked clues make all the difference in the world.
Remember–no site has every record, every file, and every index.
Don’t do all your research via one website, one repository, or one library.
You wouldn’t just use the census only for your research would you? Expand your research horizons and your family tree–use a resource or a facility today that you’ve not used in a while. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.
Fee-based websites may tell you they have everything–they don’t. Even some non-profit websites may suggest they have everything–they don’t.
And remember when you are done with the websites…look offline. Everything is not on the internet.
If accessing a court case is a part of your genealogical research, make certain you have accessed any records of summons or “appearance in court” requests that were issued. These items, typically addressed to a local sheriff, may help indicate when and where someone was living in a specific location.
In the case of the illustration, the summons indicated that several of the defendants were not living in the state of Virginia in early 1830 when the summons was issued.