If you know that a relative was named for a specific person, do you include that knowledge in your genealogy notes on both those people? Just be certain that you are certain there was actually a name connection between the two individuals and that it was not a coincidence. My name is Michael John. I have a great-great-grandfather named John Michael. He is not where I got my name as my mother told me how both my names were chosen. I have those notes in my genealogical database. Avoid assuming. Someone later may be glad you recorded that information…and how you came to know it.
Just remember that in pre-1850 United States census records the oldest person might not necessarily be the head of the household. If a grandparent or parent is living with someone, they might be the oldest person enumerated while the person named as the head of the household is actually someone younger.
If your ancestor was a farmer, was he a farm owner, a tenant farmer, or farm laborer? The differences are significant and knowing which helps indicate how mobile your ancestor likely was, what types of records he left behind, etc. Farming isn’t the only occupation where these distinctions are important? Did your ancestor work in a blacksmith shop, or own his own shop? Again, the difference is important. Sometimes all we have are vague ideas of what our ancestor did–but sometimes we do have more. Use that information to your advantage.
Naturalization was not a one-step process in the United States. An alien, or unnaturalized immigrant resident of the United States, would file his declaration with a local court. Then, when the appropriate amount of time had passed, the individual would petition to become a citizen. The declaration of intent may contain more information than the final naturalization and may have been filed in a different jurisdiction than the final naturalization. Before 1906, any local court of record could process naturalizations. Federal legislation in 1906, the “Naturalization Act of 1906,” changed that and began the era of more direct federal oversight of naturalization.
“buy yourself something you really want with the $25.00” Genealogy writing prompts can come from a variety of places and this comment in a graduation card is a perfect example. It was written by my grandmother in my eighth grade graduation card and I can almost hear her saying it as I read the words. Digital pictures of cards can be a way to preserve them and the information they contain if it’s not possible to keep all the card due to space limitations. Sometimes one can see signatures change over time, realize that couples who signed cards together no longer are, or other life changes. There may be something in one of those cards that gets you thinking and gets you remembering. Sharing them with others may […]
Searching Google Books can be challenging for some genealogists. A way to start looking for materials on Google Books (books.google.com) is to try searches like the following–change the names and places to yours. trautvetter hancock illinois rampley harford maryland emmar ross divorce nebraska These searches located a case involving my Trautvetter that was appealed to the Illinois State Supreme Court, a Maryland state law that involved my Rampley family in 1838, and a divorce from Nebraska in the 1870s that was appealed to the Nebraska State Supreme Court
I’m working on a family where the mother was named Elizabeth. A daughter was named Elizabeth. Three of the sons married women named Elizabeth. To keep myself straight, I made a list of all five Elizabeths and summarized their biographical and genealogical information–name; dates and places of birth, death, and marriage; names of parents; names of all spouses; and place of burial. The intention of the chart was to help me avoid confusion later. It did more than that. Creating the chart made me realize that I’d nearly confused two of the Elizabeths who had married sons of Elizabeth. Join Michael in Salt Lake City, Utah, or Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in 2024 on a genealogy research trip.
The 1943 obituary of Viola Tittle in the La Belle, Missouri, the LaBelle Star indicated that she was survived by three half-brothers: Arsulus, George, and John Rampley. The obituary even indicated that Arsulus lived in California. It’s possible he was living in California in 1943, but the probate of George Rampley provided documentation that Arsulus had not been seen since sometime in the 1930s and that his children had looked for him to no avail. It may have been easier to say Arsulus survived. It’s possible Viola didn’t want to admit her brother was deceased. As our research extends to more distant family members, it’s more difficult to know or to have heard how the family may have reacted to events within that family. Any statement in an […]
Locating my uncle’s children was much easier when I decided to research the children his wife had with her first husband (before she married my uncle and had children with him). Those children had no biological relationship to me, but their records mentioned the children my aunt by marriage later had with my uncle. And that made them much easier to research.
The 1860-era probate file for Wiley Ashlock does not indicate where in Hancock County, Illinois, he lived. A copy of the sale bill that was included in the probate case file indicated that the administrator of the estate lived in Wythe Township. That would suggest Ashlock lived in that township or near to it given that he was tasked with overseeing the sale of all of Ashlock’s chattel property. The sale bill indicated the sale would be held at Ashlock’s late residence, but his estate inventory does not indicate he owned any real estate. Three men were appointed to appraise Ashlock’s chattel property. Researching where they lived may be in order as they likely lived in the same area of the county where Ashlock was from. We may […]
Your ancestor–perhaps more than one–may have perished in a 19th century epidemic. Cholera and other illnesses could sweep through an area, wrecking devastation in a very short matter of time. The difficulty now can be in learning about these past outbreaks. Local newspapers and county histories are two places to start looking for this type of information. If the time period is right, one can look through old death certificates one after the other to see the cause of death. Academic articles in a variety of journals (historical, sociological, medical, etc.) may also mention earlier epidemics. Readers without home access to materials of this type may wish to see if they can access academic journals though their local library. Some academic studies may be online and located through […]
If the time period and location is right, make certain you have accessed the death certificates for all of your ancestors’ siblings. I can think of two female ancestors for whom no death certificate can be located. In fact, I don’t even know when or where they died. But I do know the names of some of their siblings. In one case the death certificates gave me parental information to work from–although it turned out the siblings were half-siblings and not full ones. In the other case, the death certificate gave a more accurate rendering of the mother’s maiden name. It’s especially important to keep this in mind if your ancestor died in a state that wasn’t recording vital records when they died. It’s possible their siblings died […]
There was a time when photographs were taken carefully and with planning. Film cost money. Development took time. Prints cost money. Pictures were not seen until they were printed. Times are different today. Many of take picture after picture with digital cameras and phones. Even if you back up all those images to the cloud “for future generations,” will anyone want to go through all those pictures if there’s ten or more of every pose? Some of us may take twenty quick pictures hoping to get one good one…without ever erasing the ones that are not so good. If someone after your demise has access to your digital images will they want to go through all of them? Why not erase the duplicates, the similar ones, and keep […]
Those old photographs you have may not just be of family members and friends. The individuals pictured could have been co-workers as well. The 1970s picture in the illustration was (to me) clearly my Mom and her fellow teachers. Sometimes the determination is not so easy. What’s worth remembering is that not everyone you have a picture of is a relative. Co-workers and classmates may easily appear in pictures you have. And occasionally the random person. But if you discover work-related photos, considering sharing them. Someone else may be glad you did.
Many legal documents use the phrase “my heirs and assigns.” There is a difference between those two categories of individuals. My heirs are those individuals who legally will inherit my property if I leave no legal document (such as a will) giving that property to someone else. My assigns are individuals to whom I have assigned property via a legal document that I have signed. If person A dies having only had one child (call them B) and that child survived him, then that child is his heir (will or not). B’s children are not person A’s heirs when A dies as long as B is alive. A could easily, via a legal document, assign or give their property to B’s children–making those grandchildren their “assigns.” B would […]
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