A codicil is a document that adds to a will or changes a specific part of it. It is a supplement or an addendum to a will that leaves the majority of the original document and intent intact. One of my ancestors had several codicils to his will that impacted the property given to his daughter as her husband’s financial status deteriorated. That codicil did not impact what was given to the other children and only impacted the section of the will where the daughter was mentioned. Our new book is out. Read about More Genealogy Tip of the Day on the Genealogy Bargains website.
When first communicating with a newly discovered cousin, try not to overwhelm them with information, particularly all the details of family scandals. For someone whose interest in family history is just developing, too much information may intimidate them and too many scandalous details may push some people away. I’m not suggesting keeping secrets, just take it slowly. And you may be surprised–sometimes those new cousins already know all the family skeletons. Check out More Genealogy Tip of the Day–available in paperback or Kindle. Paperback versions can be ordered from Amazon or me (credit or check/money order payments accepted).
If you’ve discovered your ancestor was involved in a court case, search local newspapers to see if the case was mentioned. Some newspapers published brief summary information of cases as they worked their way through the court process. Published legal notices may have been required in certain situations as well. Cases of extreme local interest may have been written about in some detail in the newspaper, perhaps containing information not contained in the court record. When searching for a newspaper reference to your ancestor’s court case check the newspapers in the county seat as well as those closer to where your ancestor lived. Also keep in mind whether your ancestor’s court case was actually news or not. Check out More Genealogy Tip of the Day
Most of us have asked someone a question or said something to someone only to have their response to us make it clear that they did not understand what we said. Is that why your relative gave “off-the-wall” answers to the census taker, records clerk, etc.? A person’s difficulty in understanding the question can be compounded by age, hearing difficulties, cognitive abilities, native language, etc. Do not assume that your relative really understood what they were being asked. Check out More Genealogy Tip of the Day.
If you have a male ancestor with a fair amount of land transactions, make certain you have noted the release of dower interest by the wife on them (if the time period is right). I was having difficulty narrowing down when a relative’s wife died in the 19th century and, upon reviewing the land records, noticed two in the early 1870s where he sold property and no wife is listed as having acknowledged her relinquishment of a dower interest. The chance the relinquishment was forgotten is very slim. The likely situation is that his wife was dead at the point in time when the deed was executed. Her omission would be indirect evidence she was dead at the date of the deed’s execution since it is not explicitly […]
Preservation suggestions for Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, and Tintypes from the University of Illinois can be found at: https://psap.library.illinois.edu/collection-id-guide/directimage More Genealogy Tip of the Day book has been published. Check out our announcement.
An 1884 biography of Thomas Chaney of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, indicated that some of his children were dead. Thomas himself had been dead for thirty years when his biography was published. His children who are noted as deceased may have been dead for decades (perhaps even dying in childhood) or may have died just before the book was compiled. Just because children were not listed as deceased in the 1884 biography of Thomas does not mean they were not deceased in 1884. Daughter Elizabeth (Chaney) Rampley died in 1883. She is not indicated as dead in the 1884 reference. It could have been an oversight or the compiler may not have known. Children listed as being deceased in the 1884 biography, could be given a death date of […]
At long last, More Genealogy Tip of the Day, packed with genealogy tips and ideas from ten years, has been published. We are excited to offer this companion volume to our original Genealogy Tip of the Day book. More Genealogy Tip of the Day can be read front-to-back or browsed through at the reader’s whim. Tips are about genealogical sources, pitfalls, and procedures based on Michael’s extensive experience researching ancestors in the United States and abroad. Tips are practical, easy-to-understand, and applicable to those with ancestors in a variety of locations. Tips have been edited for clarity and updated when necessary. Any content that was time-sensitive has been removed. What’s left is research advice and suggestions with some humor thrown in. Chapter 1: Selective Memory, Separate Maintenance, and […]
Emailed a county clerk in a rural US county yesterday and they were able to answer my question and get me a copy of the page I needed. I asked a very specific question about a specific item in a record set I had used before. I was not going on a fishing expedition. However, to maximize the chance of success in general, remember to ask specific questions, learn about the records (as much as you can before emailing), be patient, and always ask if there’s another way to access the information other than via an email correspondence. Keep in mind that while records may be open, offices do not necessarily have to respond to email requests. Always look and see what finding aids and other materials are […]
The first name of a newly discovered relative is not that bad, but it does get rendered a variety of ways. Her first name appears to be Ockje. Searching for that name in an English-language world can be a challenge. Most variant spellings of the name begin with an “O” and generally end with an “e” or an “a.” The “ckj” portion of the name gets rendered as “thch,” “kj,” “ck,” “ckt,” or something similar. When possible, a wildcard search for the first name using O*e and then O*a is helpful. Nothing is perfect. It’s also good to remember that an “A” in a name can be replaced with an “O,” depending on the inflection of the speaker and the ear of the hearer. This name is also […]
We won’t be around forever. What genealogy-related items would you like to make certain you actually finish? Is it: Or something else? Try and avoid spinning your wheels and spending too much time in genealogy rabbit holes…completion of a project is good too! We are taking orders for More Genealogy Tip of the Day, which is scheduled to be released in mid-to-late June. Details are on our announcement page. It’s over 400 pages!
We are taking orders for More Genealogy Tip of the Day, which is scheduled to be released in mid-to-late June. Details are on our announcement page. It’s over 400 pages! The book will retail for $29.95 on Amazon–before shipping it’s $29 if ordered from us directly. Payment can be made via credit card, check, or money order. Check it out!
Don’t assume that online site will “always be there” and you can always go and get what you need. Make a copy of that image for yourself while you have it on your screen. Save the information while you have access to it. Websites go down. Fee-based websites sometimes lose the ability to include certain items in their subscription. Websites change how things are organized and what you could find a month ago is impossible to find. Your cousin could remove their online tree from that hosting site. You may find yourself unable to continue to pay for that monthly subscription to that database site that includes images. Save it while you can. Name it in a way that makes sense. Save it where you can find it. […]
If you had an aunt or an uncle who was divorced, have you considered looking at their divorce records? These records are typically local court records and there may be some restrictions in accessing them in some locations, but they are generally public records–at least the generic details. In earlier times state or colonial legislatures may have granted divorces. In cases that were heard by a local court there may be a court packet containing testimony and affidavits. There may be mention in those records of where they married or where they lived when they were first married—details that can help with determining where your direct-line ancestor was from. And there is always the chance that your ancestor provided testimony in the divorce of a sibling. These records […]
While some relatives take their family history stories to their grave, others become more willing to tell stories as they age. The reasons for changing their mind really do not matter, but remain open to the possibility that Aunt Martha may eventually decide that the world will not end if she tells you that “family secret.” Or course some people are not going to tell you things no matter what. But some do become more open with age. It may be worth a try.
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