Casefile Clues

30 January 2011

Where I Should Focus For My Missing Census People

Everyone has people they cannot find in various census records. I have them as well.

  • Ira Sargent (or William Ira Sargent) in 1870. This Canada native cannot be found in the 1870 census. He should be in the United States. Based upon what I know about him he should be in Iowa, Missouri, or Illinois. At this point in time, I have his names and documentable information on his parents, siblings, wife, and children. I know where he was in 1850, 1860, 1880, 1900, and 1910. While I'd like to find his 1870 census enumeration, it probably isn't going to tell me too much. At this stage, I'm not certain how much more time I should spend on it. I wrote an entire Casefile Clues article about how my search was formulated, and that was educational for me and hopefully for my readers as well. But I just don't think after using those search techniques it is worth any additional time.
  • John Ufkes in 1870. This German can't be located in 1870 either. It is the first census for him in the United States since he immigrated in the 1860s. John is fairly well documented--I know where and when he was born, who his parents were, when and where he immigrated, married, who his children were, etc. While it would be neat to locate him, I'm not certain additional time is warranted at this juncture. While any document could always tell me something I do not know there is only so much time in the day. I also wrote about the search for John in 1870 as he only has potentially three first and four last names. Conducting the search efficiently was a challenge and it made for an interesting article for Casefile Clues (and actually an entire lecture) on census searching.
  • Peter Bieger in 1850. Peter cannot be located in 1850, despite organized searches. He likely is in either Hamilton County, Ohio, or Hancock County, Illinois--and possibly any point in between. I'm still searching for him. What makes him different? In 1850, Peter has only been in the United States between 5 and 10 years, and his likely Germanic origins are unknown. His enumeration in 1850 may shed light on his origins or at least what he was doing before he purchased a general store/tavern in Illinois in 1852. Peter died in 1855, complicating the search. Because little is known about Peter, his 1850 census record has the potential to be more enlightening than the other two listed here. The next issue of Casefile Clues will discuss how the search for Peter was organized, how results were organized, and how search locations were determined.

In upcoming posts, we'll discuss others I cannot locate and how they fit into my research priorities.

I also think it is important to let people know that all of us have missing people somewhere.

29 January 2011

Ancestry's Not Always Wrong


The temptation is always to think that Ancestry.com is wrong. That's not the way it is.
The image on this post comes from the 1870 Census for Hancock County, Illinois. For some reason, some of the townships are listed in the census with their Congressional township numbers instead of their civil township names--like the one where this ancestor was located--Township 3 North Range 8 West--Walker Township.
The screen shot clearly indicates this township as 3N 9W. The family should have been in Walker Township in 1870 as the father purchsed a farm there in the 1860s and did not sell it until the 1870s.
Ancestry in its headings, indicates it is Township 3N R 8W--the enumerator indicates it is 3N 9W. When I viewed the pages before and after, those pages were titled by the enumerator correctly and the other information on the pages matched. It looks like one error by the enumerator.
Always look before and after and do not assume Ancestry.com made a mistake.
Those with an Ancestry.com membership can view the entire image here on Ancestry.com's site.
The real question is how to cite this census for the issue of Casefile Clues in which it will be referenced.

26 January 2011

Landing in Vancouver-Crossing in Vermont?


Mark me down as confused. I'm still confused about why the St. Albans district went all the way to Vancouver, but I understand things better than I did. Just goes to show you that Ancestry.com isn't always incorrect.
This is part of a screen shot for a manifest of the Empress of Canada which landed in Vancouver in May of 1934.
I wrote about this a few weeks ago when I noticed that the "record" on Ancestry.com did not indicate the National Archives Microfilm Publication number from which the image was from--I was completing citations for an issue of Casefile Clues. I subsequently received the film number from Ancestry.com and was told that an update was in the works to include the film number. And they have updated the database.
Now when I search for this individual, May Cintura Drolette, it tells me that the source is:
  • Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949; Record Group: 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Microfilm Serial: M1465; Microfilm Roll: 9; Line: 3.

What I'd Like From Ancestry.com

I'll be honest--I don't personally get all that excited about being able to interact with other users of data at Ancestry.com. I've sent emails to MANY others who've saved the same images or records that I have. I hear back from very few of those researchers. I have had some success with seeing other records that have been linked to that same record. However, those always have to be checked as some researchers really just grab "close" matches and assume they are the same person.

What I would REALLY like to see at Ancestry.com is a way to really work effectively with the search results. Now there just is NO real way to work with and analyze the results, particularly eliminating the false matches or the results I have eliminated. Here are some options that I would like to see explored:
  • The ability to tag matches as ones that are negatives with perhaps a box or some set of options for me to indicate to myself why I think it's a negative match. If options are not possible, at least a comment box where I could type a short note ("wife wrong name," "wrong kids," etc.). I don't think I want others to see my notes.
  • The ability to download results (not images, just an excel type file) so that they can be manipulated in some type of spreadsheet or database. I'm not asking to be able to download all entries in the 1850 Ohio Census, but a limited number of matches to my search so that those results can be analyzed.
The way the site is now, when there is someone I cannot easily find it takes FOREVER to wade through the hits. If search terms are changed or altered, it is exceedingly difficult to go through those results as well.

When someone is easy to find, Ancestry.com is great. When they are not easy to find, it's not always so easy to use.

Some names are so mispelled, etc. that fancy search algorithms are not going to find them and some wading through results is necessary. It is just that the way I interact with the negative results now is cumbersome and slow.

Faster searches, corrected names (when corrected by someone who really has not researched the family), enhanced social "interaction" with users, enhanced interaction with other databases and images, and "improved" search algorithms isn't going to help me find Peter Bieger in the 1850 census.

I need a way to really interact with my search results and right now it simply isn't there.

19 January 2011

1934 Border Crossing--From What Microfilm?

UPDATE: 20 Jan 2011-This is on microfilm serial # is M1465, Roll #9.
-------original post---------------
May Cintura Drolette appears on a manifest for the Empress of Canada in May of 1934. The screen shot in this post is from the results screen at Ancestry.com.

In using this manifest image for an issue of Casefile Clues, I was trying to cite the microfilm publication for this entry. I had a little problem and perhaps was overlooking something. I wanted to include the microfilm publication number in my citation, but was unable to find it.

Viewing "full source" citations did not help me either (that text is at the very end of this post).

I created a citation based upon how I located the entry--the deadline was looming and there was not time to wait for an answer. However, I'm still curious about the microfilm publication number.

A screen shot of part of the image from the manifest is also included. The manifest indicates the ship arrived on 23 May 1934. Usually the roll number is contained in what Ancestry.com calls the "record" (the first screen shot).

Drollette crossed the Pacific several times and she and her husband--who worked in Hong Kong and Peking--have been discussed in several issues of Casefile Clues.

The list of full source citation from Ancestry.com is here:


Full Source Citations

Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954. NARA microfilm publication M1464, 639 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifest of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949. NARA microfilm publication M1465, 25 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, New York, 1902-1954. NARA microfilm publication M1480, 165 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Soundex Card Manifests of Alien and Citizen Arrivals at Hogansburg, Malone, Morristown, Nyando, Ogdensburg, Rooseveltown and Waddington, New York, July 1929-April 1956. NARA microfilm publication M1482, 3 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien Arrivals at Calais, Maine, ca. 1906-1952. NARA microfilm publication M2042, 5 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien Arrivals at Jackman, Maine, ca. 1909-1953. NARA microfilm publication M2046, 3 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien and Citizen Arrivals at Fort Fairfield, Maine, ca. 1909-April 1953. NARA microfilm publication M2064, 1 roll. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien Arrivals at Van Buren, Maine, ca. 1906-1952. NARA microfilm publication M2065, 1 roll. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Alphabetical Manifest Cards of Alien Arrivals at Vanceboro, Maine, ca. 1906-December 24, 1952. NARA microfilm publication M2071, 13 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien and Citizen Arrivals at Babb, Montana, June 1928-October, 1956. NARA microfilm publication A3386, 3 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien Arrivals at International Falls, Baudette, Duluth, Mineral Center, Pigeon River, Pine Creek, Roseau, and Warroad, Minnesota, January 1907-December 1952. NARA microfilm publication A3400, 2 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Eastport, Fort Kent, Lubec, and Madawaska, Maine, ca. 1906-December 1952. NARA microfilm publication A3401, 2 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Newport, Vermont, ca. 1906-June 1924. NARA microfilm publication A3402, 8 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien and Selected U.S. Citizen Arrivals at Anacortes, Danville, Ferry, Laurier, Lynden, Marcus, Metaline Falls, Northport, Oroville, Port Angeles, and Sumas, Washington, May 1917-November 1956. NARA microfilm publication A3403, 14 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Bangor and Houlton, Maine, ca. 1906-1953. NARA microfilm publication A3428, 3 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG85; National Archives, Washing

16 January 2011

Uncle Bertus Witnesses a Patent Application

I've mentioned the US Patents database at Google before (http://patents.google.com/). I made at least one very minor discovery today on this database and I'm thinking that the search or something has been tweaked since I looked at it several years ago.


One of the names I search for in virtually every database is Ufkes. It is my mother's maiden name and there were only two pre-1900 immigrant families with that last name that settled in the United States and that last name is pretty unusual.


I know I searched the patent database for Ufkes before and didn't find anything. Today I did .

B[ertus]. J. Ufkes witnessed a patent applied for by Anders O. Hammer of Williams, Montana.




The application was filed 22 April 1916. If I hadn't know that Bertus was in Montana at that time, the patent, even though it was not issued in his name, would have been a clue.

Has Anyone Seen Irene?


Cleveland Police were looking for "Irene" in September of 1915 according to this article from the Mansfield [Ohio] News.
Basil Hurford was injured on the streets of Cleveland bleeding from the neck, calling out for Irene.
What the paper didn't say (at least not in this writeup) was that Hurford already had a wife, Orena "Belle" Cintura Crowl.
Research was really focused on Belle for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues and connecting her with her family of origin took going through several steps.
Burford was her second husband. It is not known what exactly happened to her first husband, but that was not crucial to the research that was actually being conducted. Belle is a sister of the wife of my aunt's uncle.
Sometimes one has to stay focused.
And one also needs to remember that the newspaper does not always give all the details.
There's more to Basil's story and it is not all happy. We'll post updates as time allows .

12 January 2011

Starting My List for Salt Lake

Readers of the blog know that I'll be in Salt Lake for a week in May leading my group trip. I usually have time for some of my own research, particularly things in the nature of a "quick lookup." Now is the time when I start making my list.

I recently discovered a naturalization for Thomas Frame in Cook County, Illinois, in 1873. Ordering film at my local FHL is not an option for me as there's just never time to go. Doing some online searches for ways to access the record remotely, it seems like it will be cheaper to put it on my list of things to get while in Salt Lake. I'm also looking at the www.familysearch.org site and seeing if there are any indexed records on the site where images are not currently loaded. From my own research there are some Illinois death certificates that I need and perhaps some state census records from a variety of states.

I'm also looking at some upcoming topics for Casefile Clues to determine if there are materials for the newsletter that I can get while in Salt Lake. Preparing for a trip to Salt Lake should never be done at the last minute.

I next need to determine a place where I can post an "in-progress" copy of my to-do list.

Naturalizing After the Fire



I'll be honest. This is one record for which I never really thought to look.

This index card is from the "Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950" which was recently posted on FamilySearch. Thomas Frame was an English immigrant who probably arrived in the 1860s.

My reasons for not looking are not all that great, but they point to some common mistakes genealogists make, so I'll mention them here:

  • Lack of a time-frame or chronology. I assumed Thomas naturalized before the fire and so a record would not exist.
  • I've already traced Thomas to his English origins, so further work in records where he settled is not necessary.
  • The naturalization records probably won't tell me too much for this time period.

The last reason is actually probably still true. But I think I'm going to go ahead and get them. I was wrong about there being no record, so I could be wrong about the record being of little informative value.

We'll have an update here and may discuss Thomas in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Is there a misconception you need to go back and revisit?

11 January 2011

Recording Fees For Deeds


There are several reasons why deeds don't often tell genealogists as much as we would like, but here is a good one: money.

This image comes from the 1891 Illinois Revised Statutes and indicates that the current recording fee at that point in time was 8 cents for every one hundred words.

Chances are no one was going to pay extra to record words that were not necessary to be included in the document.

07 January 2011

Group Trip to Salt Lake Via Amtrak from Points East?

Readers know that every May I have a group trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. More information about the trip is located here.

What I'm wondering about is if anyone who lives east of Salt Lake and lives close enough to an Amtrak station would be interested in taking the train (California Zephyr) to Salt Lake. I've taken it to Utah from Galesburg, Illinois, and the ride through the mountains is beautiful. If those of us who could, took the train, we could meet on the train, do some preparing on the train, review your materials, etc. etc. all before we got to Salt Lake.

Let me know if you're interested. It's about a 30 hour ride for me to Salt Lake and I usually get a fair amount of work done on the train. If this sounds interesting to you, check out the website and email me at mjrnootdig@gmail.com.

05 January 2011

Paid Ezines

As with everything else, I'm behind on my reading.

Gary Mokotoff recently announced that his Jewish genealogy newsletter "Nu? What's New?" is converting to a fee-based ezine in 2011. Gary has published the newsletter for years for free. Dick Eastman commented on Gary's announcement recently in his newsletter as did DearMyrtle. Eastman writes the weekly Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

There may be other newsletters that are fee-based, but this makes at least three weekly genealogy newsletters (including my own Casefile Clues) that are now available as a fee-based service. Both Dick and DearMyrtle make some good points as to the reasons why and I'll chime in with a few of my own.

All three are independent of any major publisher or sponsor as DearMyrtle points out. And I'm partially guessing here, but I imagine that for the most part each one is pretty much entirely responsible for their own editorial decisions. I write what I want to write about in the way I want to write about it and I imagine that Eastman and Mokotoff pretty much do the same thing. I don't have any "higher level" editors I have to please or any VP in an office somewhere reviewing my content before it goes out.

Eastman focuses on technology as it relates to genealogy, Mokotoff focuses on Jewish genealogy research, and I concentrate on methods, sources, and citations. I don't write many pieces of a technical nature and Jewish research is not one of my concentrations. It is difficult for one person to write about "everything" and do it well. Each of us have low annual subscription rates, especially when you consider what one pays for bi-monthly magazines.

It is difficult to constantly crunch out free content on a regular basis as anyone who has done it on a regular basis can tell you. Writing and editing several thousand words a week takes time and is different from blogging (which I also d0). Eastman noted some of the expenses of running a newsletter in his post--all very true. Besides the expenses, there is also the time spent on tasks that have absolutely nothing to do with writing or editing. Casefile Clues is a little different from the other two newsletters in that each issue is released in PDF form. I personally have learned more about citations, formatting, layout, and design in the last year and a half than I ever thought I would.

I am certain that the three of us all appreciate the support we receive from readers and are also appreciative of those readers who let others know about our newsletters. Advertising is not cheap and we are very reliant on word of mouth. So if you subscribe to any of these three newsletters--let others know about it.

All three of us likely started our newsletters because we wanted to share information with others in our own way. Going solo is not easy either, but for me it allows me to write about what I want, using as many words as I want, without anyone telling me not to write about that, that "no one wants to read about my ancestors," "no one will read a three part series on land records," etc.

As DearMyrtle mentions (paraphrasing here) the trend towads paid newsletters is inevitable if we want to have people consistently sharing with us. This is true--time is money and I'm pretty certain none of us are getting rich . It takes a significant amount of traffic on a website to make enough money from advertising alone and it takes time spent on marketing (and not research and writing) to generate that level of traffic. Ever wonder why you see so many "how-to" websites with what looks like the same old "how-to" information? That's why--they are working on marketing and not on research.

The main websites for the three newsletters are (in alphabetical order):

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