31 October 2007

Separating Delayed Twins

I'm not certain why, but the page of three Chicago birth certificates is one of the most popular on my site.

One of the certificates is shown in this posting, for Lillian Apgar, born 2 March 1910 in Chicago with her birth being registered on 3 March 1931. Her sister's birth certificate was a delayed one as well. Her other sisters's birth was never recorded and the younger brother is the only child whose certificate was recorded shortly after the actual birth.
There's an article I posted on my site some time ago analyzing these three certificates and summarizing why I think daughter 3 never had a certificate.
My wife is a descendant of this family and I would love to hear from anyone else researching the family. Of course, she descends from the one who has no birth certificate.

How was Habben read on the 1867 manifest?

The name was read as "Walelsen." The image in this post shows how the last name appears on the actual record.

Our earlier post today regarding the Habben family's manifest from 1867 indicated I was having difficulty finding the same entry on Ancestry.com in their index. After some creative searching, I discovered the name was read by the indexers at Ancestry as "Walelsen." I can see it now that I know what they thougth it was. Of course, it looks like "Habben" to me, but that's because I already know what it is.

Compiled Virginia Civil War Confederate Records

Footnote has completed digitizing the Compiled Service Records for Virginia during the American Civil War.

The image shown here is one of the cards for John W. Sledd which indicates he spent some time at the hospital in Richmond.

This image has been reduced for faster loading, but the actual images on footnote are high quality and print nicely.

These records are currently searchable by name of soldier on Footnote.com.

Finding a manifest a second time

This is part of the 21 Oct 1867 arrival manifest for the Union which landed in New York City.

The names are intended to be:
  • Mimke Habben
  • Antje Habben
  • Trientje Habben
  • L[ubbe] Habben
  • Jasper Habben
  • H.
  • John
  • M.
  • J.
  • Ger.
  • Inft.

The names are a little "off" from what they actually are, but they are very close considering.

I actually located the reference several years ago using the Germans to America series--which included the last name spelled as "Habben." I am trying to find the family in Ancestry.com's indexes and so far have struck out. I'll keep trying and post a followup message on how these names appear in their database.

Taking Notes When Photographing Stones

I wish I had taken better notes when I was taking photographs of tombstones a few years ago at the Buckeye Cemetery in southern Hancock County, Illinois.
I can read most of the inscription just fine:
daughter of
J. & E.
Aug 24 1855
16 Yrs ?? ds.
Can't read the number of days and think it might be a "9." I probably could have read it at the cemetery when I was there.

Leaving out the details on a death certificate

You have to love a death certificate like this one from Mercer County, Illinois. The place of birth for Sarah Smith is listed as "Franklin County." No state is given. One might think it is Franklin County, Illinois, but it is not. The actual county is in Ohio.
Sarah was actually the daughter of Archibald and Lucinda (Wickiser) Kile who migrated to Mercer County, Illinois in the late 1840s.

Can You Read it? (not one of mine...)

Nancy from the Gen-Newbie mailing list was having difficulty reading the back of this photograph, so I offered to post it here for her.

Anyone able to read it or having a guess can post a reply below.


30 October 2007

Getting Ready for San Antonio

I am in the final stages of getting ready for the workshop I'll be presenting for the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society this upcoming weekend. More information can be found on the society's website.

I'll be presenting on World War 1 and 2, Female Ancestors, Brick Walls, and Newspapers. Readers of the blog or the Ancestry World Journal columns are welcome to come up and introduce themselves after the workshop.

Picture of Nancy Newman Rampley (1846-1923)

I don't really have a favorite ancestor, but one has to admire Nancy. Her Civil War widow's pension application was rejected at least four times after her husband's death and she kept reapplying--until they sent a special examiner to take special testimony in her case. She eventually got her pension in the early 1900s.
She even wrote her congressman when her raise in her pension was slow in coming after it had been voted in by Congress.
Nancy was born near Milroy, Rush County, Indiana 8 July 1846, the daughter of William and Rebecca (Tinsley) Newman. She married Riley Rampley in 1867 at her parent's home near Breckenridge, Hancock County, Illinois. She died in West Point, Illinois in 1923 and is buried with Riley in the Buckeye Cemetery in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
Nancy is my great-great-grandmother.

Trautvetter Portraits

The image to the left is a photograph of oil portraits paited of George (1798-1871) and Sophia Derle Trautvetter (1808-1877). George was a native of Bad Salzungen, Thuringen, Germany and Sophia was born nearby.
They immigrated to Rocky Run Township, Hancock County, Illinois in 1853. George returned to Germany and is buried there. Sophia is buried in the Bethany Cemetery Cemetery in Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois, next to her son John Michael.
George and Sophia are my 3rd great-grandparents.

29 October 2007

Annual ACPL Research Trip May 2008

We have set the dates for the annual Family History Research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana:

28 May - 1 June 2008

In the next few weeks, we will be posting our brochure which will contain fees and other registration information. We always have a great time at the library and get a good amount of research accomplished as well.

Folks joining us from the St. Louis area can ride the bus to Ft. Wayne. Those joining us from other areas, pay a lower fee and make their own transportation arrangements.

More information is available at http://www.rootdig.com/acpltrip.html
Our trip blog is at http://www.rootdig.com/labels/acpltrip.html

We'd love to have you join us.

Census Searching Reminders

All of us at one point in time or another have difficulty locating someone in a census. Juliana Smith just posted my article on Ancestry's blog with a list of census searching reminders. Feel free to post your own suggestions at the bottom of the post.

The article can be viewed here on Ancestry.com's blog.

27 October 2007

Minor Naturalizations and Smith Article

We discussed minor naturalizations today in the workshop in St. Charles. This is the link to the article that was not in the handout:


This is the link to the article by Marian Smith on Women and Naturalization that we also discussed:


Article On Levi Rhodes discussed in St. Charles

We discussed at the St. Charles workshop today an article on tracking Levi Rhodes from Tennessee into Missouri. The article unfortunately did not make the handout. The article is online here:


There is also a four part series here on analyzing pre-1850 census records:


23 October 2007

US Civil War Pensions to be digitized

For Immediate Release October 23, 2007

National Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU)Announce Digitizing Partnership

Washington, D.C.

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Wayne Metcalfe, vice president of the Genealogical Society of Utah,today announced a five-year partnership agreement to digitize case files of approved pension applications of widows of Civil War Union soldiers from the National Archives.

GSU has many years of experience microfilming historical records at the National Archives and throughout the world and in recent years has moved to providing digital capture and publishing services. Digitization makes possible unprecedented access to the unique historic documents in the custody of the National Archives.This partnership will begin with a pilot project to digitize, index,and make available the first 3,150 of the pension files.

Upon successful completion of the pilot, GSU, doing business as FamilySearch, in conjunction with
Footnote.com, intends to digitize and index all 1,280,000 Civil War and later widows' files in the series. These records, of great interest to genealogists and others, are currently available only at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.The widows' pension application files, a rich source of information about ordinary American citizens of the time, include supporting documents such as affidavits, depositions of witnesses, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, and pages from family bibles."

"For a number of years we have had a very productive relationship with FamilySearch," said Professor Allen Weinstein. "This agreement expands our relationship to enable online access to some of the most popular and voluminous records in our holdings. It is an exciting step forward for our institutions and for the American people," he added."There is an unbelievable treasure trove of genealogical information housed in the records of the National Archives; the vast majority of which genealogy enthusiasts have never seen," said Wayne Metcalfe."The growing digital collection and indices that will stem from this relationship will be a priceless resource for countless family historians and researchers."

FamilySearch will make the digitized materials available for free through
http://www.familysearch.org/ and in 4500 family history centers worldwide, or on a subscription-based website operated by a third party,subject to National Archives approval. They will also be available at no charge in National Archives' research rooms in Washington, DC, and regional facilities across the country. In addition, FamilySearch will donate to the National Archives a copy of all the digital images and the associated indexes and other metadata that they create.This agreement is one of a series of agreements that the National Archives has reached or will reach with partners to digitize portions of its holdings.

Michael's Comment:
I've known this was coming for several months---needless to say I am extremely excited that these fragile records will be preserved and that a public announcement can be made!

22 October 2007

Mapping the Sledds in Kentucky

The first image in this post in a plat of an estate division from Nicholas County, Kentucky in the 1830s for the estate of Thomas Sledd. Several things worthy of note here:

  • Thomas Sledd's estate was actually probated in Bourbon County, shortly after his death in 1814.

  • This plat is actually upside down (which I learned when I used DeedMapper to plat the properties out using the legal descriptions)

  • This document was recorded in Nicholas County, Kentucky.

This image was made from a microfilm scan I made while at the Family History Library last May on our annual trip. I have only reproduced the part of the deeds that show the map.

Thomas Sledd was my 5th great-grandfather, his daughter Belinda (Melinda) married Augusta Newman in 1815 and is my 4th great-grandmother.

Another helpful scan I made was the "title" page from the microfilm. I then saved that image along with the scan from the deed books so I could track my source. And we all know how important that is.

In a future post, we'll talk about how DeedMapper was used to plat the properties out "correctly."

19 October 2007

Getting Ready for Saratoga Springs, New York

I'm in the last steps of preparing to leave for a genealogy workshop in Saratoga Springs, New York, sponsored by Heritage Hunters. This will be my first trip to the area, but like most, it will be a short one (my Sunday morning flight leaves at 6:00 a.m.). I am looking forward to the trip and meeting with the group.

If any regular blog readers or Ancestry.com readers are in attendance, please come up at some point and introduce yourself. We will be talking about planning research trips, researching newspapers, problem-solving, and more.

18 October 2007

Georgia Death Cerficiates online

Georgia recently uploaded an index of it's death certificates from 1919-1927. There are many search options, including first and last name.

The nice thing is that if one does an "advanced" search, one can search all the name fields, including those of the parents. This made it easier for me to track the movements of some extended members of the Rampley family, including Rachel, whose son's Samuel Mosley's death certificate from 1921 is partially shown on the left.

I'll be spending more time with advanced search. Feel free to post your tips for using the site here as well.

17 October 2007

The Church in Wiesens

Doris Reuter has an excellent site for those with Ostfriesen ancestors. It is in German, but the pictures are wonderful.

I found the church in Wiesens, where 3 of my great-great-grandparents were born and christened:
  • Jann M. Habben (1859-1939)
  • Anke Fecht Habben (1860-1941)
  • Jans Jurgens Janssen (1856-1929)

The Habbens died in Elvaston and Janssen died near Basco, both in Hancock County, Illinois.

Found some neat pictures of the church in Etzel, where two of my third great-grandparents were born:

  • Bernard Dirks (1825-1913)
  • Heipke Mueller Dirks (1832-1924)

Those two died near Coatsburg, in Adams County, Illinois.

There's lots more--which happens when you are one-half Ostfriesen, but I'll end the posting with just these two. The site is fairly easy to navigate and provides good geographic information as well for Ostfriesen genealogists.

The Ostfriesens are one of my favorite groups to research, but I am a little bit biased ;-)

Get it RIGHT, CNN!

CNN is reporting the amazing, surprising, totally knock me on the floor fact that two unsuspecting Americans are related after tracing their ancestry back to the 17th century. Hold the presses on that one.

At any rate, CNN also apparently thinks Mareen Duvall is a female, referring to her as "she" in the article. Both Cheney and Obama are descendants of Mareen Duvall, a French Huguenot who settled in Maryland. Duvall was a male. Minor little detail there.

Cheney apparently is also descended from Maryland immigrant Richard Cheney.

Oh wow. My Thomas Chaney (1750s-1856 Bedford County Pennsylvania) is supposedly descended from the same Richard.

The Bedford County history says my Thomas Chaney was a noted hunter in early years. There is no record of my Thomas accidentally shooting any humans though.

11 October 2007

"The Gipper" dug up for a DNA test

CNN and several news outlets are reporting that former Notre Dame athlete George Gipp, who inspired the rallying cry "Win one for the Gipper," was exhumed recently for DNA tests. Gipp died in 1920.

A relative of Gipp's requested the test, but reasons were not immediately clear.

Kinda makes me think about being cremated ;-)

10 October 2007

Editing the census...

The entry for two-year old Noe Gorsuch in Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio, contains an editorial comment apparently made after the returns were submitted. Someone has written in a very small hand "Noah?" by the name, apparently wondering if the intent was Noah Gorsuch instead of Noe. This child appears in household entry 669 for Thomas Gorsuch.

Interestingly enough, entry for household 667 in the same township also contains a Noe and this entry has no such comment wondering if the child was really Noah.

Reminder for Genealogy Users of Ebay

Many genealogists use ebay to make a variety of purchaes. Keep in mind when buying books that you may be bidding on a book that is still in print. Find out what the publisher is charging for the book before you bid. I have seen several occasions where a bidder ends up paying MORE for the book on ebay than they would have had they purchased the book directly from the publisher.

I ususally try and find the book for sale somewhere else online and then use that to base my bid--assuming of course that the book is still in print.

Save your extra genealogy money for copies ;-)

08 October 2007

More Revolutionary Pensions At Footnote.com

Footnote.com is now indicating that they have digitized 86% of the Revolutionary War Pensions from the National Archives. I've already found a few relatives in this wonderful database, but I'm still waiting for Tennessee...but most states have already been added.

Those wanting to see samples can view pages from the file of Elam Blain here.

You can find your own ancestors in the Revolutionary War pension files at Footnote.com

06 October 2007

World Vital Records

Just in case you were not aware...World Vital Records is having a special offer through October 8th.
This current offer at World Vital Records includes two years of membership and a copy of RootsMagic for $49.95. World Vital Records has added some census images and is working on adding more of these materials to their site--indexes are forthcoming as well. They are adding a variety of databases to their site and their data may complement nicely other databases to which you subscribe or those to which you have access at your local library.

Those unaware of the materials World Vital Records offers can get a listing all databases on their site.

Disappearing Ancestors in Census Records

My "Tip from the Pro" which appeared in last week's Ancestry World Journal.

Disappearing Ancestors in Census Records

You have found your ancestor in the 1820 and 1830 censuses, but he
cannot be located in the 1840 census. What can you do? There are
several approaches, but one idea is to locate his 1820 and 1830
neighbors in the 1840 census and see if your ancestor is nearby with
his name woefully misspelled or written in a barely legible fashion.
It is possible that your ancestor moved out of state; locating those
1820 and 1830 neighbors in that "new" location may allow you to find
your ancestor living there among them.

Of course, it is always possible that your ancestor is dead in 1840
and not enumerated at all. And there is always the chance that if he
is living with one of his grown children in 1840 that the grown child
is listed as the head of the household. In this case, the ancestor is
there, but just one of the "tic" marks for an older family member.

Early Bird Registration Discount on Salt Lake Research Trip

We are offering a $50 early bird registration discount on our research
trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, in May of 2008. Regular price is $250,
but early registrants can sign up for $200. Trip planning begins with
registrants as soon as deposit and registration form is received.
Planning for a week at the Family History Library is something best
done slowly over time, not at the last minute. This is especially true
for those who have never been to the library before. Organization of
your research materials takes some time as does adequate planning.

The registration price includes my help and consultations (both before
the trip and at the library), help with using online databases at the
library, morning presentations, and Sunday morning brunch. For more
information on the trip our website


has more information.
Or I can be reached at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

03 October 2007

George Drollette--Secretary to US Chinese Ambassador

As mentioned in an earlier post, I requested papesr from George Drollette from the National Archives. The package arrived this week and most of the information in the package consisted of letters of recommendation for Drollette to become Edwin H. Conger's secretary while Conger was Ambassador to China. There are also recommendations for a promotion for Drollette, but it is unclear if Drollette ever received the promotion. I need to determine if there are other records besides the ones I received from the Archives.

Drollette's wife wrote several letters in support of his promotion. Apparently he was in China for at least three years without his wife and child. His child, Elmore Drollette, appears in the 1910 census with his maternal grandparents in Indiana.

More work needs to be done. We'll post additional details as we get them.

Librarian Position at the Allen County Public Library

There is a genealogical library position open at the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Keep in mind that while the ACPL may be a dream location for many, working there is a job and has certain requirements.

From the website posting:

"...you must possess an ALA-accredited master of library science degree with knowledge of genealogical librarianship acquired through appropriate undergraduate or graduate course work in history, archives, and genealogy. Previous genealogical research experience and one year’s library experience are desired..."

Those who are interested can visit the Library's job openings page directly:

World Vital Records adds US Census Records

World Vital Records has announced the addition of census images to their pay-for site.

Census images 1790-1880 are currently on the site and indexes are apparently in the works. According to the site, images are free for ten days after their intial release. World Vital Records will be adding the census images through 1930, including indexes. This is a nice option for those who need the census records and not some of the other records that are on other online sites. A subscription to World Vital Records is currently $49.95 a year. Might be time to ask Santa for an early present.

01 October 2007

Auction Houses that won't sell

The headline appeared on a news website:

"Auction houses that won't sell"

Does it mean auction houses have things they will not sell or does it mean you can auction your own home if your own home does not sell?

The latter was the intent.

Make certain your genealogical writing is clear as well. If something can be interpreted in more than one way, rephrasing is probably necessary. Creating ambuigity is never a good thing for the genealogist.

Back from Las Vegas

I enjoyed my time in Las Vegas presenting for the Clark County Genealogical Society's conference this past weekend. I had a great time and the group from Clark County was really nice to work with.

Some of the links mentioned in the lectures will be listed here again for those who were unable to get them during the presentations:

European Research:


Other Links:




For those that asked about our research trip to Salt Lake City, Utah next May--there is more information here and an update is in the works.

Thanks to Henry for my tour of the Hoover Dam. That was quite a spectacle as well.