28 July 2014

It's Not All On the Internet and Genealogy Methodology

Sometimes one has to shift one's point of view.

You can tell people that everything's "not online." You can type it in uppercase letters to visually shout. But, for some, until you show them something interesting that was "not online," or you tell them that you solved a problem with sources that were only in their original paper format, they won't get the importance of utilizing those sources.

It's not really about whether sources are "online" or "not online."

What it is about is being aware of all the records that were created at all jurisdictional levels that might have mentioned your ancestor. That's the "prime directive." Then one needs to determine how to get at those records. Accessing records has always been a concern. One can easily use their computer and the internet to facilitate learning about and accessing those records.

Good genealogy methodology indicates that we access all records that could directly or indirectly answer our problem. Access may be a problem--but an awareness of all those records is what is key.

It really is that simple.

26 July 2014

Tax Sale of Property in the Newspaper in 1858

One of the difficulties of locating real estate sold by a tax sale is that the deed is not indexed under the name of the owner who did not pay his taxes.

In some locations, there may have been a court action filed against the land owner whose taxes were delinquent. In other locations those records may not exist.

More frequent than legal cases would be notices in newspapers, like the one shown in this post. Before newspapers were digitized and full word indexed, finding these notices took time. For those papers that are available digitally, locating the item may be as easy as performing a search.
digital image obtained on  Genealogybank.com

This tax sale would explain why there is no deed of sale from Asa Landon for the property mentioned in the notice.

We've mentioned Asa before on this blog and there's a little more to this story than just this one tax sale. Stay tuned.

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part VI

The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

We'll post images of the entire inventory over the next several days, along with items marked for discussion.
Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.
The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

We'll post images of the entire inventory over the next several days, along with items circled for discussion.

Probate Notice from 1807

Date: Thursday, May 14, 1807 Paper: Independent Chronicle (Boston, MA);
digital image obtained on  Genealogybank.com
We've been posting images from Stephen Gibson's 1807 estate inventory, but local probate records are not the only place that can mention some details about his probate.

While newspapers won't contain all the details of the actual court records (and usually contain far fewer), they can confirm some information. This 1807 notice indicates where Stephen Gibson lived and who has been appointed administrator of the Gibson estate. The appointment of an administrator usually means that Gibson left no valid will upon his demise.

This notice would have been more important to us as a researcher if the court records could not be located or were no longer extant. It's possible, but unusual, for the published item to include details that are not already in the court records.

Sometimes it's just neat to see our ancestor's name in the newspaper.

Even if he had to die to do it.

How We Choose Content on Rootdig

For those who are new, I have a simple editorial policy:

I write about whatever interests me.

I don't usually comment on genealogy "news," at least not immediately.

I don't use press releases to create blog posts.

I do announce new United States databases that are on FamilySearch. I don't announce ones that I really don't think are all that helpful.

I don't write about software that I don't use.

I don't write about websites that I don't use.

I write about whatever families or people I am working on...usually as I do it. For that reason some research is incomplete and things are still in process.

I only research families that are a part of my children's ancestry. If you see someone mentioned here extensively, the person is probably an ancestor, aunt/uncle, "relatively close cousin.

My ahnentafel (very incomplete) can be seen here.

Back to research.



25 July 2014

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part V

The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

We'll post images of the entire inventory over the next several days, along with items marked for discussion.
Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.
Sometimes these are simply historically interesting, sometimes there are subtle clues contained within them, and other times there are blunt, 'in your face" genealogy leads. If you don't read them, you'll never know.

Feel free to comment on the marked items in the comments.

24 July 2014

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part IV

The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.
Sometimes these are simply historically interesting, sometimes there are subtle clues contained within them, and other times there are blunt, 'in your face" genealogy leads. If you don't read them, you'll never know.

Feel free to comment on the marked items in the comments.

We'll have a complete transcription after the entire set of images has been posted.

Arrington Gibson's Delinquent Taxes and Stow Residence A Dozen Years Later

A recent search on GenealogyBank located several references for the Arrington Gibson referenced in the 1804 fence agreement in Fitchburg, Mass. The published list of delinquent taxes from 1816 (shown below) confirmed his residence in Stow and property ownership in Fitchburg.


digital image made from image at GenealogyBank
Of course, looking at the actual tax lists is preferable to this published record. IT may be that the original lists are no longer extant and this reference is all that is available. It does confirm Arrington's residence a dozen years after the fence agreement and that he was alive in 1815. He was not the only property owner listed who lived elsewhere.


23 July 2014

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part III


The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

We'll post images of the entire inventory over the next several days, along with items marked for discussion.
Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.
Feel free to comment on the marked items in the comments.

We'll have a complete transcription a few days after the entire set of images have been posted.

Meyers Orts and 18th Century Estate Inventory Transcription Webinars

We are offering two new webinars at the end of August:

  • Meyers Orts--on 31 August
  • Transcribing an 18th Century Estate Inventory on 30 August


Meyers Orts--Gazetteer of the German Empire. Published in the early 20th century, this print geographic reference in traditional Gothic print contains information on thousands of German place names. If you've ever struggled with this reference, or never used it because it seemed overwhelming, then this presentation is for you. We'll assume that you know no German and are unfamiliar with the script. See how the entries are organized, how to interpret them, and how to use the information from the entries to further your research. Geared to those who have not used the gazetteer extensively before. Session will run approximately one hour. 31 August 2014--8:00 pm central time.

Transcribing an 18th Century Estate Inventory. In this presentation we will go step-by-step through the transcription of estate inventories from Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia that were recorded in the 1700s. We can't make you an expert at reading handwriting in one session, but we will systematically go through the listing of items, showing ways to assist in "guessing" when the handwriting is difficult to interpret, determining what the items are, and using the inventory to further your research. Geared towards advanced beginner or intermediate researchers. Session will run approximately one hour. 30 August 2014--8:30 pm central time.

Registration is limited.

Register now:

This page is:
http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2014/07/meyers-orts-and-18th-century-estate.html


FamilySearch Updates: UT and TX Deaths, 1910 Census

The following databases are showing as updated at FamilySearch:

Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956

Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976

Utah, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868

United States Census, 1910

Again, I'm not certain what's "new" with the 1910 census. The death databases probably have more records than before.

Half in the Middle and We Both Don't Live There

We make jokes about drivers who "take their half" of the road out of the middle, but apparently that's exactly what my relative did with his fence.

And there's a transcribed copy of the agreement as evidence of it.


This 1804 reference may seem mundane, but it does document several things:

  • Arrington Gibson owned adjoining parcels of real estate.
  • Arrington Gibson and Mary Underwood were alive on 26 September 1804.
  • The counties mentioned share a border. The towns do not.
  • Mary Underwood was a widow on 26 September 1804.
Based on the residences listed, both Gibson and Underwood were not both full time residents of the parcels in question as Stow and Fitchburg are not adjacent towns.

Never assume a person lives on the property they own. In this case, it's that "of" that matters.


22 July 2014

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part II

The image on this post is another part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.


Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.

What is underlined on this document?

Crowdsourcing for Friends in Passenger Lists at Ancestry.com

As records become more modern, they tend to include more detail. The same is true for passenger manifests. 

Beginning in the very late 19th century, some US ports of arrival used forms for arriving passengers that included the name of a friend in the US. That's a item that Ancestry.com has extracted for some of their passenger lists.

The first screen shot shows the "record" for a William Thomson who arrived in Philadelphia in 1921.

Searches can't be conducted on the "friend's name" using the search screen because it's not included in all arrival entries (the Philadelphia database starts in 1800 and entries from that time frame don't include much additional information beyond the name, age, and origin). I'm not certain when the Philadelphia records started including friends--and when Ancestry.com started including them in their index.

But these items can be located when searching based upon keyword. That's how the 1921 reference for Mr. John Frame as a friend was located. 


Apparently  Ancestry.com included the friend's name from some of their Boston arrivals as well.


I've seen friend's name as a part of the extraction for the ports of:

  • Philadelphia
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
The problem is that it is difficult to determine just what years and cities the friends were included in the database and what years they weren't. I think it's something those using the databases would like to know.

So...


I'm asking readers who have Ancestry.com to let me know (in the comments section) what arrival port they've found "friends" listed as a searchable item in the Ancestry.com database. It can be a great research tool, but if I don't know what years and ports included friends, it makes it difficult to search. 

I'm looking for the earliest and latest entry in each port--including New York and others. If the item you found is in between years we already have, then we don't need it. We'll include a chart of ports and earliest and latest friends dates once we have them. 


21 July 2014

Stephen Gibson Inventory from 1807 Stow, Mass. Part I

The image on this post is part of the inventory of Stephen Gibson filed in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in 1807.

We'll post images of the entire inventory over the next several days, along with items circled for discussion.
Inventory of Estate of Stephen Gibson, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 9115, filed in 1807; digital image made from FamilySearch microfilm.
Sometimes these are simply historically interesting, sometimes there are subtle clues contained within them, and other times there are blunt, 'in your face" genealogy leads. If you don't read them, you'll never know.

Feel free to comment on the marked items in the comments.

20 July 2014

Trip to Winnebago County, Illinois, Courthouse

The elusive Clark Sargent purchased 40 acres of federal land in Winnebago County, Illinois, on 1 March 1848. It is known that his widow, Mary Sargent, married Asa Landon on 6 January 1849 in Winnebago County.

It was hoped that some record showing how the property was transferred after Clark's purchase could be located--either a deed of sale from Clark himself or some court generated document after his death.

None was located despite a search of grantor/grantee indexes through 1860. The microfilmed indexes were difficult to read and it is possible that a reference was overlooked. It is possible that the record was indexed under another name and not located, although indexes were also searched for Asa and Mary Landon during the same time period (1848-1860). The family left Winnebago County in the mid-1850s and it is possible that the record was recorded decades after they left. 

The county did not have tract indexes during the 19th century, so using those materials was not an option. That would have facilitated the search.

There was no probate for Clark Sargent (or any Sargent of interest during the time period), no minor probate for any of Clark's children, no divorce, and no court action where Clark Sargent was a litigant. Those records were located in the Circuit Clerk's Office.

A deed was located where Clark Sargent and two other men purchased an 83 acre parcel of property in Winnebago County, but no deed of sale could be located. 

Asa Landon and Mary sell two small parcels of property in Winnebago County on 21 April 1855 and are styled as being of the county as of that date. A deed of purchase could not be located, but the property does not match the legal description of Clark's federal purchase in 1848. 

We'll have an update with information on the properties in a later post. I'm hesitant to draw too many conclusions about being unable to find the "other ends" of the transfers at this point, mainly because the index was so difficult to read. It may be that another trip is in order to look at the indexes again. The grantor /grantee indexes are not available on microfilm through FamilySearch


19 July 2014

No Smiths Born in Chicago Between 1930 and 1938?

I was hoping this would be fixed, but as of the time of this post, the FamilySearch database of Cook County, Illinois, births indicates that there were no Smiths born in Cook County between 1930 and 1938?


Am I doing something wrong or is there another problem?

18 July 2014

Updated on FamilySearch: Cook County, IL Births, and Utah Pioeers

The following are showing as new/updated on FamilySearch:

Utah, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868

Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1938

[note: as of 9:10 PM central time 18 July 2014, I am noting irregularities with the Cook County Birth Certificates. We'll look into this and if I'm still having those issues tomorrow, we'll have a post.]

17 July 2014

An 1819 Death in a Newspaper

It is not much, but there is a death notice for Samuel Sargent who died in Marlborough, New Hampshire, in 1819. Typical for early newspapers, there is not much detail on Samuel other than his age and place of death.
Digital image obtained on  Genealogybank.com
A few of the entries on this page did mention the cause of death. It's always possible that a death notice contains some item that, when combined with information from other sources, helps to prove a more significant conclusion.

I've had more luck finding references of this sort for my New England ancestors than for those in the South, but maybe that's just me.

Regardless, don't not look for death notices this early just because you think you won't find them. You may be surprised.

And always make certain you search neighboring states, especially when the state is small or your ancestor lived near the border.

Ephraim Puffer 1756 Inventory Transcription Part III

The final part of the transcription of the Ephraim Puffer estate from 1756.

Inventory of Estate of Ephraim Puffer, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 18232, filed by Mary Puffer in December 1756


[crossed out--Peter?] Pewter platters & plates
7
10
0
old Pewter at 2s & Tin vessels
1
1
0
Two Brass Scimmers & Glass bottles
1
12
6
Iron weare at
5
10
0
One Box iron & heaters & pewter quart Cup
1
10
0
Books
1
5
0
Two Spinning Wheeles
4
10
0
Ten old Barrils 15s per Barril
7
10
0
Four Barrils of Cider 25s per Barril & one Churn
5
10
0
Twenty pounds of feathers 5£ and Saddle 3£
8
0
0
one Pigeon net
5
0
0
Shoe Leather 2:15s 3 bushels of Salt 3 £
5
15
0
one old Corn fan & Some flax
1
15
0
To Cask 40£ one Pillion 1£
41
0
0
Three pails at [?]0s one Case of Draws 3:10s
4
0
0
one Brass kittle 8 £ Looking Glass 1-15s
9
15
0
one half bushel measure & 2 Tables
1
15
0

213
08
0
Jabez Puffer
577
8
0
Joseph Daby                                                                                 Total
790
10
0
Jesse Willis




Inventory of Estate of Ephraim Puffer, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 18232, filed by Mary Puffer in December 1756
The only modification to this inventory was the addition of a table format. Comments or corrections are welcomed. 

"Microfilmed" Letters Mailed Home During World War 2

The World War Two era letter I purchased on Ebay arrived.

Not having seen one of these letters in years, I had forgotten how small they actually were. The image used in this blog post has my car keys to provide a point of reference. Folded they are obviously smaller.

I knew the letters were censored, but I was unaware of how they were actually sent to the United States from Europe. The National Postal Museum has an article on their website that explains the process. Something comparable to microfilm was actually used.

So while that's Eddie's actual signature on the letter, it's not the same letter that he actually wrote. And, based upon the relative size of the letter received, the original letter was probably larger than the one that was actually mailed.

Whether this is an original or a derivative copy is a question for another day.


16 July 2014

Ephraim Puffer 1756 Inventory Transcription Part II

The second part of the transcription of the Ephraim Puffer estate from 1756.

Inventory of Estate of Ephraim Puffer, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 18232, filed by Mary Puffer in December 1756

one fire Lock
015
0
0
one Breaking hoe a broad hoe & one Steele Trap
003
0
0
Indoor moveables wearing apparel one pair of Boots & one pair of Shoes
005
10
6
Two Pair of Leather Breaches 2: 50s a pair
005
0
0
one Suit of wear apparel
014
10
0
one more Suit of Clothes at
005
0
0
one old Coat & Jacket
003
0
0
one Great Coat & a fine Shirt at
006
0
0
One Hat & Two woolling Shirts
004
0
0
[end of page]
577
2
0
One old Jacket& 4 old Caps
01
6
0
Five Pairs of Stockings 3 Tow Shirts
4
10
0
Two pair of Tow Breeches & one pair of mittens
0
10
0
one pair of Gloves
0
1
0
one Bed & beding
27
10
0
one Ditto
12
5
0
Ditto
17
5
0
Three bedsteads & 2 bed Cords
4
5
0
Three Handerchiefs & 11 Tow Sheets at 25s per Sheets
15
10
0
Three Cotton Sheets & 2 old woollen Sheets
7
7
6
Two old woolen Sheets one Suit of Curtains
4
5
0
Three Table Cloaths at 15s per Cloth
2
5
0
To Small Linnen
2
5
0

Inventory of Estate of Ephraim Puffer, Middlesex County, Mass.,
Probate file 18232, filed by Mary Puffer in December 1756

The only modification to this inventory was the addition of a table format. Comments or corrections are welcomed.