28 April 2006

Bureau County Genealogical Society meeting

Thanks to the group from Bureau County (Illinois) for inviting me to speak at their monthly meeting. I always enjoy my trips to Princeton and the society has a very active group with a nice downtown facility. Those with Bureau County roots may wish to check out the society's website; their membership is over 400!

27 April 2006

Birth Certificate Spellings

One always has to keep in mind the creative spellings that were used, especially when the families did not speak English. My great-grandfather Frederich Ufkes is listed as Elineny Ufcuss on his birth certificate. And no, nothing close to "Elineny" was ever used as a nickname for him.

Ohio Gene. Conference-Toledo

I'll be giving two lectures on Saturday at the annual Ohio Genealogical Society Conference in Toledo.
  • Where did the Farm go?
  • Math for Genealogists
If you'll be attending, be certain to say hi.


25 April 2006

Find Glenn Miller in 1930

Our latest census contest:

Glenn Miller in 1930.

Click on the link and please follow the directions if you want to try and win. If you can't find him, that's ok, but please don't send me suggestions...and yes his first name is not Glenn.


Tennessee Genealogical Society

We had a great time in Memphis at the recent Tennessee Genealogical Society's Spring workshop. The handout for our Tight Budget lecture has been posted online. The group was very hospitable and my daughter enjoyed everyone of the Brownie Bites the ladies in the kitchen gave her! Thanks again for having me as your speaker.


Do You Ear?

This has been one of the most popular articles on our site. Think about how that word got into the ear of the censustaker or records clerk. It makes all the difference.



1841 UK Census

Ancestry.com has the 1841 UK Census online—16 million names from England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. The 1841-1901 UK Census Collection is now complete. It appears they have cleaned up some images as well. I'll be spending too much time looking for the Frames and Watson's from County Cumberland.

We've posted some 1841-1871 samples here. The 1841 image was taken from a microfilm copy. What I just saw at Ancestry.com was MUCH cleaner. The darkness on the left hand side that made reading difficult was essentially gone.

A World Deluxe Membership is needed to see the images (Monthly or Annual), or else get a 14-day free trial. Remember to write down day 13 if you take the trial and decide then to keep or cancel. Don't call the day AFTER to cancel. ;-)


20 April 2006

Lessons from Searching for the Rich and Famous

Over the past several years, we've located hundreds of the famous and infamous in US census records. An article discussing my experiences and lesssons learned has been posted on our site. In most cases, looking for the well-known is not all that different from locating the not-so-well-known.



17 April 2006

Famous Contest Announcement

Our first contest is to find Hank Williams, Sr. in 1930. First correct submission wins a current edition of Family Tree Maker.
More details are on our site at:
As of 1:00 CST 19 April 2006 we had no winner.
Good Luck!

16 April 2006

Jackie Kennedy in 1930

She's living in NYC with her parents, but interestingly enough she and her mother are enumerated with the father/husband, John Bouvier, but they are un-named. Very interesting, but made finding them a little more difficult than usual.

The image on our site was reduced in quality to save space, but one can still get the idea.



14 April 2006

John Tyler in 1860 Census

We have added President John Tyler to our rich and famous census page for 1860. The image can be viewed for free here:

Famous Census Search Contest

In the next week, we will be restarting our "find the famous person in the census contest," complete with prizes. Information will be posted on our Contest page



Dizzy Gillespie in the Census

We have added Dizzy Gillespie in the 1920 and 1930 census to our "famous census" website:


The handwriting on these was not all that easy to read.


13 April 2006

Genealogy research trips May 2006

There is still time to join either one of our genealogy research trips in May 2006.
More information is available on our website by visiting the links above.


Pre-1850 Census Entries

Once your census work gets to before 1850 it is a different world...only heads of household are enumerated. The analysis is different than it is for census enumerations that list everyone by name. This series of four articles discusses one individual's 1810-1850 census entries, indicating what the tick marks

mean and what they do not mean.



12 April 2006

Queen Victoria in the Censu

Even the Queen does not avoid the census taker. Surfers can see Queen Victoria in the 1851-1881 census on our site located here:


10 April 2006

Famous Ship Manifests

One of our "diversions" here is to locate various famous people in actual documents. We've posted about 30 images on our site, a sampling

Joan Fontaine in 1934
Errol Flynn in 1938
Errol Flynn in 1940
Errol Flynn in 1941
Oscar Hammerstein in 1930
Ernest Hemingway in 1941
Joseph P. Kennedy in 1913
Mary Pickford in 1930
Knute Rockne in 1927

Our main entry pages for this set is at:


Hiring a Professional Genealogist

Before you decide to hire someone to research part of your family for you, there are several things to consider:

  • What you really want
  • How much you can afford?
  • What you already have
  • How likely it is that your "problem" really has an answer

A few years ago, we posted a series of articles to our site about my experience with a professional genealogist. Those who are considering hiring someone to help them with part of their research may wish to take a look at this series



09 April 2006

WWI Draft Card Harry Houdini

I'm not certain who exactly was responsible, but illusionist Harry Houdini is listed as Harry "Handcuff" Houdini on his World War I Draft Card. He even signed that on his card. His World War I draft card is one of over thirty draft cards of notables we have posted to our website. They are all free to view and offer an interesting perspective on history.


Immigrant Trunk

I was fortunate enough to obtain the trunk my great-great-grandfather's sister used on her voyage to the United States ca. 1870.

Her destination was Keokuk Junction, "Ills" [Illinois]. The railroad stop is now the village of Golden, Adams County, Illinois.

Altje Goldenstein Schuster was a sister to my ancestor Foche Goldenstein who also immigrated to Adams County, Illinois about the same time.

There is a little more about the trunk on our site here:


07 April 2006

Researching Female Ancestors

Half of our ancestors are female. However for many reasons, tracing this half of our ancestry is many times problematic. There are several articles on our site that focus on the maternal sides of your family tree. Research walls tend to center on
  • women's legal rights
  • inheritance
  • last name changing

There are other issues to be certain, but usually when there is a "brick wall" with a female ancestor, at least one of these issues either plays a role or helps in finding the solution.

Our articles on female ancestors are indexed at:



06 April 2006

1930 census Roy Rogers

Fans already know that Roy's real name was Leonard Sly. But did you know that for some reason in the 1930 census he was enumerated as Leonard Schlei? They must have thought he was German or something ;-)

The image can be viewed for free at:


Missouri Death Index

The Missouri State Archives has posted a death index online for the years 1910-1950


images from 1910-1920 are currently available and more will be added on an ongoing basis. There are quite a few people I need to look for ;-)


04 April 2006

Genealogy Computer Workshops-Dearborn, Michigan June 2006

I am presenting two days of genealogy computer workshops at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, MI in June 2006. You need not live in the college district to register. More information has been posted on our site at: http://www.rootdig.com/michigan.html


1930 Census Harper Lee and Truman Capote

These two authors are neighbors in 1930, listed as children on the same census page.


Makes one aware of how small the world actually is.

Vital Records Cheaply

Vital records are the mainstay of late nineteenth century family history research and all of twentieth century research. Yet if the genealogist is not careful, they can easily pay more for these records than necessary.

Generally speaking, the best approach to try is:

Family History Library (time coverage won't always be complete, but they are a good place to start)
County Offices (Recorder, Clerk, or whomever records vital records at the local level).--there records should be complete for the time span when records were maintained.
State Archives--they may have older records.
State Department of Health (State Department of Vital Records, etc.)--they may have some records, but perhaps not always the oldest ones.

Prices can vary from one state to another. Family History Library may be the least expensive option. State Department of Health usually is the most expensive. There are places that will charge you $50 and more for a record. These options listed above are always more than that. Order the record from the Family History Library (if they have the records) or from one of the "official" agencies listed above.

Samples of vital records on our site:
I've gotten copies of hundreds of vital records during my family history searches. I've always used one of the places above--or in a couple of cases had a private researcher do it for me as a part of a larger project. If you think the price is high, post a message about vital records in that county or state before you order to the appropriate mailing list at Rootsweb or the message boards at Ancestry.com. Someone probably can give you specific directions or suggestions.


Tombstones and Cemeteries

Tombstones are a wonderful source of genealogical information. As spring kicks into full gear, cemetery expeditions are made by many family historians. Digital pictures are the way to go, in my opinion, but occasionally rubbings may be necessary. We've taken pictures, made rubbings, etc. during our many excursions to cemeteries. There are many sample pictures and articles about cemetery searching on our site--along with suggestions for getting information when you live a distance from a cemetery. Consider posting a question about the cemetery you are interested in to the appropriate county mailing list at Rootsweb or the message boards at Ancestry.com

Our articles on tombstones (and lots of pictures) can be linked to from here.

03 April 2006

Finding Obituaries and Death Notices

Obituaries can come from a variety of sources. The shrunk on here comes from a Methodist newspaper based in St. Louis. When searching for obituaries, one needs to think of all the various locations where an ancestor lived and her affiliations to determine all the newspapers that might have published an obituary or death notice. An article on our site gives several suggestions for finding records of this type. We have a sample of a letter from a German language newspaper printed in the United States as well.


Baptismal Records

We've posted samples of Latin church records on our site--from Belgium in the late 1700s. They make an excellent point of locating records on the entire family as some are more readable than others. There is also a link to how the records were analyzed and used in my research. Those who want to view the actual images of the records can visit the page listed below which is on our site.