For an ancestor who had multiple spouses, always consider how much time takes place between the ending of one marriage and the beginning of another. Was there enough time for another marriage? For years, I thought a female relative had two husbands–George and later Henry. I didn’t know when the marriage with George ended and the marriage to Henry had the bride using George’s surname. Turned out there was a marriage between George and Henry to a man named Adam that went sour about three months in. The wife reverted to George’s surname, but was married to Adam long enough to be enumerated with his last name in the census. Did your relative have a marriage of short duration that could be confusing your research? It could even […]
On any search–try wildcards (the *, %, ?, or _ ) to see if they work. Some sites will explain whether or not wildcards can be used and what operators are used as wildcards. Some sites do not, even if they allow them. Some sites that allow them only let you use one. Sometimes you can use more than one. Sometimes you can use more than one type of wildcard in a search. Sometimes experimentation is the best way to go. Try a Traut*etter or a Tr*t*tter for Trautvetter. Try a K?le for Kile. And so on. See what happens.
Searching and finding information is great, but do not neglect to enter information in your database, organize information and images, create crude citations, and do some analysis as you find things. It can waste a great deal of time looking for things again online, not being able to find what you saved, or trying to remember why you were looking for a person in the first place. You also make fewer mistakes if you record details and information as you find it. I also find taking some notes on paper helpful and, if there’s enough analysis on them, I take a picture of those notes and save that as well.
It is great that images of records are easier than ever to find online with significantly less manual searching than before. But there is a potential drawback. When searching through records manually, one usually obtained books and had an idea of what was in the book before searching began. Some online indexes relieve the researcher of the obligation to decide what book (or roll of microfilm) to look at and just serve up images. Make certain you know what you are looking at. If you don’t, you cannot cite it properly, you can’t analyze it property, and you might not even realize that you are not looking at the entire record. When in doubt, find out. That’s the first thing you should do with any image that crosses […]
FamilySearch has announced the release of their beta search page for full text searching of some local records–particularly land and probate records in the United States. It is not perfect, but can be accessed on their site.
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