31 May 2009
A relative might contact you.
My recent postings on www.rootdig.com about my findings at the Family History Library in Salt Lake brought about a reply from a researcher in Scotland who descends from my wife's 4th great-grandparents. I searched for these ancestors in several online databases, all to no avail. Despite this lack of any luck, within two weeks of my posting about the family, there was an email in my inbox.
I'm not saying you have to blog every day, or even every week. Personally I'd rather do actual research and analyze what I have. But an occasional entry about what you have found might bring another relative out of the woodwork.
I use www.blogger.com for mine, but there are other sites /software that one can use.
30 May 2009
Putting yourself in your ancestor's shoes gives you a different perspective. If you were twenty-six years old, widowed, the mother of two small children, unable to speak English and living where you had no relatives, what might you do? You might marry the first German speaking single male around--one who would not have been your choice if you were twenty years old and still living at home with no children to support.
If your great-grandfather "disappeared" consider where he might have gone and what he might have done in an attempt to find him. Was there a war he might have enlisted in? Did he have some type of psychological problems? Maybe it was even better that he left, despite the disruption it caused in the family.
If you never personally knew the ancestor, leave the judging to someone else. Focus instead on your research.
On the flip side of this, I know one researcher who thought it was "romantic" that her great-great-grandmother found the "love of her life" and left her husband and headed out West on some grand adventure. The researcher was completely enamored with the story. Now if HER mother had done the same thing, I'm certain her response would have been somewhat different.
29 May 2009
In lectures, I refer to my ancestor's 1850 era Mississippi River tavern as "Barbara's Bar and Grill." The local newspaper referred to it as a "house of ill repute." You never know what you will find until you look. I still don't have Barbara's date of birth, but I know a lot about her from court records and newspapers.
28 May 2009
And maybe when you think about how your ancestor's is different from your own, you will realize there is something about that ancestor you have overlooked.
The dates of our trip are 27 May-3 June 2010. This includes Sunday, but we either use that day for rest, siteseeing, or additional consultations with Michael in the afternoon.
Enrollment is limited and $50 will hold your spot until the complete registration is due. For more information visit our site or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have Tip of the Day viewers join us in 2010.
Back to writing more tips...I am a little bit behind--fortunately because I spent an extra day at the FHL and did a little bit of my own research.
27 May 2009
26 May 2009
And my genealogy software program thought I was nuts to have a family with four children with the same name. But it can happen.
25 May 2009
Usually a new wife has a different name. If I researched this individual, the age of his wife might change significantly in census records, her birth place may suddenly be different, or other pieces of information may be inconsistent. Keep in mind that if the details on a spouse are different, it might because there was a different spouse--just one with the same first name.
24 May 2009
23 May 2009
22 May 2009
Always put the qualifier "calculated" in front of these dates of birth. If the person was "older" at the death, the age is a secondary source for the date of birth and should be treated as such.
21 May 2009
- Is there someplace to get lunch?
- Should I stay at the motels?
- Can I use a digital camera?
We were in a very rural county seat several years ago and the town only had a post office. There was no restaurant, no motel, etc. Consider posting a query to the appropriate Rootsweb mailing list/message board about your trip to find out these things before your arrival.
20 May 2009
My original birth certificate has my mother's signature on it. A transcription won't.
19 May 2009
Try and find out from the local office if some days are "better" than others to come in and do research.
18 May 2009
When searching for all his family's US census entries, I noted that one child was born in Pennsylvania. When searching UK census records on his in-laws, I noted that his wife had nephews in the UK who indicated they were born in Pennsylvania. Hmmm.
Maybe there was a chain of migration after all and I need to remind myself to look at the in-laws too!
17 May 2009
While you can't change the old posts, you can post new messages to the same board or list, restating your problem and including your new email. That way someone who finds the old post and your old email address can then search and find your new one.
I searched for one of my old email addresses and got over 1,000 hits. Some are for articles I wrote years ago, but a few probably are for posts to message boards on family members. Try searching for your old email address and see how many times it comes up. Have you posted updates to those boards?
16 May 2009
15 May 2009
However, when I started working on my wife's English immigrants I've had to change my tune. The IGI includes significant extractions from English parish records and they have helped me refine my searches. Keep in mind that the IGI is a secondary source and that in the cases where I was working they usually didn't extract deaths, mainly births and marriages. And one should not assume they have every parish. And they don't extract father's occupation and specific residence which may also be on the original record. The IGI is not an end in and of itself and information it contains should be verified with actual sources.
Is there some source you've been in the habit of ignoring that perhaps you should start checking?
14 May 2009
Your name may be on your flash drive and it may have a key chain or lanyard with your name on it. Another approach is to have a file in the main directory (preferably a plain text one) with your phone number and email address. That way if the finder is inclined, they have a way to reach you.
13 May 2009
Are you logging off when you get done? If you don't the next person could be accessing things you don't want them to.
12 May 2009
Of course, if I'm working on this theory I also need to keep in mind his age at the time. That impacts the liklihood of his enlisting as well.
11 May 2009
My wife's great-grandfather "disappeared" ca. 1918. I'm not certain if he was in World War I or not, but I do know that it is possible that a descendant of one of his five siblings might have heard what happened to him. My wife's family does not know. However, it is possible that years after he left, he made some contact with a sibling and that information was not shared with this great-grandfather's children.
So my search for him is not complete until I have worked on locating the descendants of his siblings.
10 May 2009
09 May 2009
08 May 2009
07 May 2009
Also because of googling him, I learned the name of the church and found the email of the church archivist.
I think I'll be googling more minsters. I won't hit paydirt everytime, but one never knows.
06 May 2009
Here is a map:
The "Visitor Center" at the Bureau of Land Management Website has excellent information as well:
05 May 2009
Remember, most recorded deeds and wills do not contain original signatures.
Searching for signatures may cause you to locate records for which you never thought to look.
04 May 2009
It might also explain migration patterns, family social status, etc.
And if you know what your ancestor's occupation was, have you learned about that occupation during the time he or she lived? That too, may provide you with more insight into your ancestor's life.
03 May 2009
Reading the paper will give you a history lesson in microcosm and may make you aware of things you never learned in history class. It might give you an entirely different viewpoint on your ancestor as well.
And being familiar with the newspaper's layout and general style never hurt either.
02 May 2009
This can be a great way to get names of neighbors of your ancestor.
01 May 2009
I posted to my facebook account that I had been in the courtroom in the Hancock County, Illinois, courthouse in front of the judge. One can draw several conclusions from that.
The reality is that I was there for a wedding.
Find out more before you reach a conclusion.
Don't assume it was my wedding either. My statement never indicated in what capacity I was there. Be careful reading more into a statement than is there. It may cause you to go off on a completely incorrect research tangent.