This impression made by the photographer on a picture of my grandmother–or perhaps that of her mother–was almost overlooked when I made a digital image of the photograph. I made the best image I could of the photograph (not shown here) and the stamp. The name of the photographer may help me to date the photograph. Make certain you get all the information a picture has…even things where no ink or pencil has been used. Any clue could be helpful.
Research in local land records can sometimes be tedious. Occasionally the work is worth the reward. One reason for looking at all those land transactions of your ancestor is that sometimes the legal description of the property being transferred references other transactions on that same piece of property. Previous owners may be mentioned. How your ancestor came to acquire the property may also be included with the description of the property’s location. Most land deeds do not include this information. But you do not know if you do not research all those records. Sometimes, always for legal reasons (usually to clarify title or property lines) some history of the property may be stated in a later transaction covering that property. Those details may mention additional family members, ancestors, […]
The recording and handout of my most recent webinar has been released. Details are on our announcement page.
From a while back… When searching the Bureau of Land Management website, make certain you remember the general difference between a federal land warrant and a federal land patent.  A federal land warrant is good for a specific acreage of property in the federal domain–without stating precisely where the property is at. A federal land patent is a document that transfers title in a specific piece of property from the federal government to an individual.
I’ll be giving a webinar titled “10 Questions to Ask Before they Pass” on 29 September. Details on attending or ordering have been posted on our announcement page.
No matter how clearly you think you have written something, it is always possible that the chosen words convey a message other than the one you intended. No matter how often you proofread something, there is always the chance that an error in grammar, fact, or other wise has slipped through. It never hurts to have someone else read your prose or to let it sit for one more day before give that final read.
If your male ancestor died before his wife and owned real property at the time of his death, there might have been a deed drawn up by the heirs after the widow died to transfer property to new ownership. If the property was being transferred among the family of the widow, the usual mechanism would have been a quit claim deed. If the property was being sold outside the family, a warranty deed was the usual legal instrument used. A quit claim deed is one where the grantors are giving up their claim to the property. A warranty deed is one where the grantors are guaranteeing to own the property being transferred and is usually used for transfers out of the family. No matter which deed is used, […]
The picture was located in a scrapbook of photographs, newspaper clippings, and school related items belonging to my father. It was unidentified, but to me–admittedly probably sixtysome years after it was taken–they looked like Neills. My identification of the picture is uncertain. It may be wrong. But I do not want to lose what information I do have about the picture. I should have added to the text that the “possible” identification was made by Michael Neill. That’s not clear on the text I placed at the bottom of the image. I should have said “These individuals are possibly the grandchildren of Charles and Fannie (Rampley) Neill of West Point, Illinois. This speculation was made by Michael John Neill based on faces of children in the picture.” Speculation […]
My second great-grandmother lived with her maternal grandparents from about the age of eight until shortly before her marriage. I initially assumed it was because her own parents had so many children. While that may have been a part of it, there likely was more. I’m not certain when she began living with her grandparents, but after learning more about her grandparents’ family I discovered that there were several things that took place about the same time she began living with them: Her mother’s younger sister had a child whom the grandparents raised from birth. All of her grandparents children were out of the house with their own families. Her grandfather’s mother moved in with her grandparents. Those three things may have played a role in why gg-grandma […]
US censuses between 1850 and 1870 list every name in a household, but bear in mind that not all children are children of the head of the household. They may be step-children, foster children, nieces, nephews, other relatives, etc. Even in the 1880 and later census where relationships to the head of household are given, “children” of the head of the household may not necessarily be their children. Use the census as a starting point to other records suggested by the enumeration, particularly vital records, property records, military records, etc.
From the years from 1790 to 1820, the US census was conducted as of the first Monday in August (August 2, 1790; August 4, 1800; August 6, 1810; August 7, 1820). From 1830-1880 and 1900, the census date was June 1. The 1890 census taken as of June 2. April 15 was the official census date in 1910. The 1920 census was taken as of January 1. Since 1930, the date of the US census has been April 1. Remember that the official census date may not have been the date that your relative actually answered census questions. It is also possible that your relative was confused because of the difference between the official census date and the date the census taker came to the door.
Instead of banging your head against the wall on the same person, pick an ancestor or relative you think you have “finished.” Go back and double-check your conclusions on that person, cite sources that weren’t cited, originally, look for gaps in their life chronology. The time away from the brick wall may give you a fresh perspective on it…and save some wear and tear on your head!
Our “Pond Crossing” webinar has been released. There’s additional details on our announcement page.
Church records often contain more than just details of births (or baptisms), marriages, and deaths (or funerals). They may contain lists of individuals who were members of the church–even for a short time. They may contain lists of individuals who took communion or made a donation. Any of those lists could be clues–perhaps clues to other family members who lived in area a short time or attended the church for a short time. There can be a great amount of variation in church records. The key is not to just rely on records of “vital events.”
If your ancestor’s estate settlement indicated he was owed money and that he owed money, who are those people? They may have been business associates, friends, relatives, or any combination thereof. Some of them may have been from the same original location as your ancestor. Some of them may have been members of the same church as your ancestor. Some of them could have been neighbors of your ancestor in more than one area of residence. There could be clues in those names.
Get the Genealogy Tip of the Day Book
Get the More Genealogy Tip of the Day Book