The word “relict” typically refers to the widow of a deceased person. If Hinrich and Johanna were married and Hinrich dies, Johanna is his relict. The word is not used today as “widow” tends to be preferred. Relic–as in old item surviving from an earlier time–has the same root as relict. There’s usually no specific significance to the word “relict” and it’s use does not mean there were former spouses of the deceased who also survived him. Our 25% sale on new webinars ends on 1 November–see our list of offerings before it is too late.
Regularly evaluate the information you locate. Compare it with what is known about the ancestor or family in question. Do things make sense? Is information relatively consistent? Is the person performing acts at a reasonable time in their life? Are people moving too frequently? Does the migration path seem reasonable (or if not, can you find a reason)? Don’t just gather without evaluating. Don’t move backwards to earlier generations until you’ve confirmed relationships in more recent generations.
If your ancestor was not a cradle-to-grave member of the same church or denomination, have you created a chronology or time-line of when your ancestor was a member of what church/denomination? If your ancestor was a cradle-to-grave Methodist and moved frequently, do you know where she attended church in each of those locations? Have you found out where those records are? Have you accessed them? Even your ancestor was born, lived, and died in the same home and never changed denominations, they may have attended more than one church for a variety of reasons. Intro price on my new Funeral Home webinar and Creating Children’s Stories from Genealogy Records ends on 1 November.
A list of amounts paid to settle an estate can tell you more than who the heirs or beneficiaries were. Those payments can tell you to whom your ancestor owed money, with whom he did business, where the funeral was held, what church he went to, what general store he purchased items from (perhaps even some items purchased), and more. Make certain you have fully analyzed those payments for clues about your ancestor.
I had a great time giving these two webinars this week and am happy to announce that the recording and handout are now available. More information is available on our announcement page.
I referred to them as “seed corn pencils” and did not think twice about it. They are pencils that were used to advertise seed corn my great-grandfather sold in the mid-20th century. To me the reference needed no further explanation. But I discovered that I am not everyone and that not everyone has my experience. I grew up on a grain and livestock farm in the American Midwest in the 1970s/1980s. I’ve know what “seed corn” is for a very long time: it’s corn that is used for seed–for planting. But not everyone has that background and when I referred to my great-grandfather’s pencils as “seed corn pencils” others did not understand the reference and thought they were some odd sort of pencils that somehow involved “seed corn.” […]
In the 19 January 1973 issue of the Galesburg Register-Mail a request is made for information on missing graduates of the 1923 class of Galesburg High School. One of the names is Pearl Trask. The Ancestry.com database entry for this Pearl Trask indicates that this means that Pearl Trask lived in Galesburg on the date of the newspaper. While it is possible she lived in Galesburg in 1973, what is certain is that the reference is indicating that a Pearl Trask graduated from Galesburg High School in 1923. It is possible she lived in Galesburg in 1973, but somewhat doubtful given the size of the town and the fact that the upcoming reunion was from a Galesburg High School class. Always check the original and make certain the […]
Keep in mind that there are some relationships stated in records that, after some research is conducted, are not as clear as we would like them to be. “Brothers” could be full brothers or half-brothers. One of the siblings could have been an adopted sibling. They could also be step-brothers or brothers-in-law.
When a manual search of census records is necessary, use a map. A map will help you keep a geographic perspective when searching and help guide you in knowing where to search if your ancestors are not initially where they are expected to be. The map can also be used to keep track of where searches have been conducted. The ideal map to use would be one that that shows the same enumeration regions that were used in the census. For censuses taken 1880 and after, these enumeration districts had maps created for the sole purpose of census enumeration and sometimes those districts had boundaries that followed civil government boundaries. These enumeration district maps are online at the National Archives and Records Administration website. For enumerations before 1880, […]
I had always known my mother lived with her grandmother between hr graduation from college and her marriage to my father. But if I had not, the 1966 annual church report from the church my mother and her grandmother had attended would have indicated they lived together for a time. Miss Constance Ufkes is listed at the same address as Mrs. Fred Ufkes. The relationship is not stated as it is for some in the directory. These directories can contain other clues as well–particularly addresses for church members who had moved away temporarily for school or military service. The directory may provide their school address or military rank and address. The difficulty is in locating these items. The church may have them. Local libraries or historical societies may […]
Never assume there cannot be more than one person with same name–or a name that’s very close to it–in the same area. Whether the area is rural or urban makes no difference. It is always possible. While writing a recent tip, I came across a person named Hilka Huls who died in the 1950s in Hancock County, Illinois. Wanting to make certain I had the correct person and the correct date, I did a little searching. There were two women with this name in that location. Both were born in the 1870s. Both died in the 1950s. They were sisters-in-law. Same namers may be related–most likely first or second cousins. They may be related by marriage–as in this case. They may also not be related at all. Sometimes […]
Inconsistencies in records can create a problem for the genealogist. Ages can be off. Specific dates of birth can vary from one record to another. Names can vary slightly from one ancestral reference to the next. Any piece of information about an ancestor can be different in different references. The difficulty is in determining whether these differences matter. Do we need to revise what we think we know about a specific ancestor or do we need to conclude that we do not have records involving the same person? It’s not an easy question to answer as it usually depends on the specifics of the situation. Generally though it’s best to look at each record as a whole in trying to determine if a record refers to the person […]
Congregational reports can contain a variety of unique information. The 1955 report from Trinity Lutheran Church in Carthage, Illinois, includes a list of members who passed away during the year and in whose name a donation was made to a children’s home. It’s not clear from the report whether the date given is the date of death or the date the donation was made. Locating these items may be difficult. Churches may have copies of old reports, but they likely will not search them for you. Denominational archives may have copies of reports of some of their congregations. Local historical societies may have them as well. Many copies from the 20th century are probably in attics, boxes, and other locations individual’s homes. That’s where this one was found.
In many rural areas of the United States, census enumerations do not provide exact residences for households. In some cases, particularly before 1880 when enumeration districts came into use, determining where someone lived at the time of the census may not be done with as much precision as we would like. In rural areas, the census may provide a smaller civil geographic area–such as a township or an election district. Other census enumerations may only be as specific as the county. In all of these cases, determining where your ancestor lived with more precision may be done potentially with land and property tax records (for landowners) or with land and property tax records for their census neighbors (for non-landowners). There may be other records that provide a more […]
I am giving a webinar on US funeral home records and creating children’s stories from genealogy materials on 27 October 2023–details on our announcement page.
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