26 July 2008

Davidson County Tennessee Land Abstracts

World Vital Records has placed some volumes of early land record abstracts from Davidson County, Tennessee on their webste.

The image shown in this post is for a relative of my wife. These volumes are searched with an OCR search, highlighting the name on the page as shown in the image.

Of course, these abstracts are not the complete record. They are an abstract of the names and other information in the deed. If you want to see the complete record with the metes and bounds description, the Family History Library has the records on microfilm.

This database is free on World Vital Records for the first seven days it is active.

24 July 2008

The "blank" Chicago city directory on Footnote.com

The last city directory in the "browse section" of Footnote for the Chicago city directories indicates it is [blank]. It appears to be at least two years of directories combined, perhaps more. I panned through several pages and the print looks different, seeming to indicate at least two directories have been combined in one entry. I did notice the following title pages (or at least what I thought were title pages:

Is anyone familiar enough with the Chicago city directories to know what years are in this "blank" set?

23 July 2008

A Little More Framework in the Chicago City Directories

I've been doing a little more work on the family of Thomas and Elizabeth Frame in the Chicago City directories on Footnote.com.
Elizabeth is listed as "Mrs. Elizabeth Frame" who boards at 89 Cottage Grove Av. in 1869--see image. Thomas is not listed (and he's not in the 1870 Chicago census either).

Backtracking to 1868, Thomas appears, listed as a painter with a residence of 118 W Randolph.

Thomas nor Elizabeth appears in 1867 and this appears to be consisent with their 1870 census entry in Chicago, which indicates they had a child born in Pennsylvania ca. 1867.
There are no entries for Thomas or Elizabeth in the 1870 or 1871 directories. Thomas does appear as a painter again in 1872 apparently living between Barry and Cushing streets.

I need to follow through this family until their death in the 1910s. Also I need to map out these locations on contemporary maps. Mapquest is out of the question for these addresses that are prior to the renumbering and renaming that took place in the early 1900s.


All the current online city directories at Footnote.com can be searched here. You can browse the Chicago ones by year from 1843-1909. Feel free to post searching suggestions for the city directories here. You can see what other city directories Footnote.com has as well besides Chicago.You can also get a free trial with footnote.com if you do not already have a subscription.

Suggestions for Footnote.com

It's been a few months since I've actively searched on Footnote.com. They have added new databases, some of which I have been blogging about [note: I only blog about what I actually use--so take a look for yourself to see what they have for your time periods and areas of interest].

I like their search interface, but I do have three suggestions:
  • Let us use wildcards--it is a pain in the rear to search for all the variants of Trautvetter--especially those that are "near misses" on the OCR searches.
  • Let us use a soundex search.
  • Let me "flag" those results I have seen before. This would save me time and help me find new things instead of things I have already found earlier.

Don't get me wrong, I like the site. But these options would give me more flexibility.

Chicago City Directories on Footnote.com

I've been working with the Chicago city directories online at Footnote.com. Footnote currently has Chicago directories online from 1843-1909.

All the current online city directories at Footnote.com can be searched here.

Or you can browse by year from 1843-1909. Personally this is the approach I am using as the last name I am looking for is "Frame." I get too much "stuff" that I do not want searching for just this word alone.

This is the screen that is shown in the image. If you choose the desired year, a search box should show up on the bottom of the page where you can search that specific directory. The nice thing about browsing by year is that it allows you to either search just the specific year you have browsed to, or you can view image by image. The screen shown in this posting would allow the user to search all Chicago city directories at once.

The second screen image shows I have clicked on the 1866 directory and after some navigating on the page section (notice I am at set 289 - 300 of 1612). I want page 415, which starts at T. M. Fox [the names might not be overly clear as I shrunk the image just a little bit to fit on this post--it is BIGGER when you actually search them yourself].

Turns out, good old Thomas Frame was not in Chicago in 1866.

However, skipping to 1880 (only to find him for an illustration)---I know I need to go year by year. I did find two Thomas Frames. The image from the directory is shown in this post.

This is really fun. And for those who want to go "page by page," like I do, don't complain about how long it takes. It takes a while to roll through the microfilm too. The only thing is that this works best on a high speed connection.

Feel free to post searching suggestions for the city directories here. You can see what other city directories Footnote.com has as well besides Chicago.

You can get a free trial with footnote.com if you do not already have a subscription.

Working With Chicago City Directories on Footnote

The image here is from the 1879 Chicago City Directory which is available on Footnote.com.
The desired person here is Thomas Frame. I'm having a little difficulty finding him by searches. Looking for "Frame" brings up numerous hits that I do not want. I am having more luck browsing the images and finding Thomas manually.
Thomas and his wife Elizabeth were English immigrants to Chicago and I am hoping to use the city directories on Footnote.com to track their residence in the city in off-census years and to perhaps pinpoint their arrival in Chicago. I know they arrived before the fire, but do not have a specific year.

Utah Genealogical Association 13 September 2009

I will be making four presentations at the Utah Genealogical Association's Fall 2008 Conference at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Lectures are:
  • Finding UFO Ancestors: Unidentified Family of Origin
  • Re-stacking Blocks: Organizing Your Data
  • Pig Blood in the Snow: Using Court Records to Solve Problems
  • 100 Acres, a Mortgage and Three Sisters

More information is on the Association's website. I love to meet blog or article readers, feel free to come up and introduce yourself. I'm also scheduling speaking engagements for 2009 as well.

21 July 2008

Navigating Ancestry.com

We've made some minor changes to our set of "quicklinks" to Ancestry.com. Anyone with suggestions for additions, etc. can contact me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com. As with many of our pages, we are focusing on content and "getting there," not wasting time on making it "pretty."

Suggestions are welcome and can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

1861 UK Census at Ancestry.com and Family Search

It always pays to know about about all possible ways to access a certain set of data. Not all search interfaces are created equally. The 1861 UK Census is a case in point.

The screen shown first in this post is the search box from the 1861 English Census at Ancestry.com. Of course, to use this you either have to have a subscription to Ancestry's UK Census images of your own or use a subscription at a library.

The nice thing about Ancestry's 1861 English Census search is that it does allow you to search on a variety of search terms besides just the name. Personally, when I was looking for my wife's Spanish born English ancestor, the place of birth was helpful.

The search interface at FamilySearch.org does not allow for quite as many search parameters. However, it is free--a huge plus for many.
A screen shot of the search interface for 1861 at FamilySearch labs is shown second in this post.

There are some advantages to using Family Search as well. Personally I like to use both sites because of the differences in the search interfaces.

Ancestry's New 1900 Census Images and Search

Improved 1900 Census images at Ancestry.com.

The image on this post is one of the new 1900 census images on Ancestry.com (clicking on the image will bring up a larger version). These images have been shared with Ancestry.com by the Family History Library--they are (or will be) on the FamilySearch website.

The images are sharp--this one is from St. Albans Township, Hancock County, Illinois, and is for my 2nd great-grandfather, Samuel Neill (notice that they got "Neill" spelled correctly this time). It is time for me to go back and review other 1900 enumerations that were difficult to read and view them again. Maybe I'll notice something I did not before.

From Ancestry's press release:

"The first census exchanged is the 1900 U. S. Census. FamilySearch completed a 1900 index in addition to Ancestry.com’s original. In the new index, FamilySearch added several new fields of searchable data, such as birth month and birth year, so individuals can search for ancestors more easily. The two indexes will be merged into an enhanced index, available on both sites. The new 1900 census images are now available on Ancestry.com.

The enhanced 1900 index will be available for free for a limited time at Ancestry.com and ongoing at FamilySearch.org"

The enhanced census images at Ancestry.com are nice for those who already have access to the site. And improved census images are always good to have, especially for those images that have previously been difficult to read.

Those wanting to search the new the 1900 U. S. Census can do so by clicking on the link in this sentence.

14 July 2008

Headstones for Veterans Database at Ancestry.com

Juliana Smith at Ancestry.com's blog posted a "Tip from the Pros" from me that focused on databases (or books) that have titles that are not completely accurate. This card for a War of 1812 veteran appears in a Civil War database.
It pays to look around and browse, sometimes even if you think you are in the wrong place.
Those interested in the tip can view it on the Ancestry.com blog.
In this case, I think the stone is actually gone now. Fortunately the Greenmound cemetery in Keithsburg is far removed from the Mississippi River.

Formerly Pea Soup 1870 Census

The microfilmed copy of part of the 1870 Census for Northeast Township, Adams County, Illinois, is like looking at pea soup fog. One cannot make out anything.

FamilySearch now has added their own 1870 census images to compliment those at Ancestry.com. This image (the one with the grayer background) comes from FamilySearch.

The image from Ancestry in the 1870 census is also shows on this post.
Both are significantly better over the microfilm, which I gave up reading many years ago.
Family Search's image and indexes will be free when they are posted in their entirely. Ancestry's require a subscription. However, one may read names differently or "catch" someone the other does not.

Partial 1870 Census Index Online at FamilySearch Labs

I got all excited until I read the fine print. The subject lines on many of the emails floating around about this topic aren't exactly precise.

FamilySearch is adding the 1870 Census to its website. Cool. Right now, though, it is incomplete. I got all exited a little too early.

From Tom Kemp's GenealogyBank Blog:

"The 1870 census is available in two formats:

Indexed and Searchable - search every name in the census for these States:
at the time of this writing only for the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Dakota Territory, Delaware,District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.

Browsable - lets you look at the images of each page in the census --at this writing available for all states except Kentucky, Vermont and Virginia. "

I'll take a look at the 1870 Adams County, Illinois Census for Northeast Township. It is VERY difficult to read on the microfilm. Ancestry improved the images, but they are still a little gray. I'm waiting for the index to be complete--maybe then I can find my Johann/John/Jann Ufkes who proves to be elusive in 1870! It always is great to have separate indexes to the same record---sometimes someone else reads something differently.

07 July 2008

More "Ancestry Family Tree" attaching

The "hints" in your tree at Ancestry.com can be helpful. The screen shot to the right shows the three hints that appeared for my grandpa Neill's brother, Ralph, born in 1905. The SSDI reference was dead on and the 1910 census record was the right one too, even though it is indexed as "Mill" instead of "Neill"
Bear in mind when attaching these to your tree make certain you choose "alternate" fact where appropriate and always view the advanced options as mentioned in our preceding post.
I normally don't attach from the trees, but that is just my personal preference.

Ancestry "My Family Tree" sources

I've been experimenting with the "Your Family Tree" section of the Ancestry.com site. Ancestry will give you hints in the hopes that you have overlooked records and will allow you to attach images (and source information) directly to your database. This is nice.

But be careful.

I was attaching a 1900 census citation to Samuel Neill--the basic screen that came up is shown here. Note the "show advanced options" link in the upper right hand corner.

When I clicked on it, the next screen appeared. The way it originally appeared, the 1900 census entry was "checked" as "add source" to the date and place of birth. However, the census enumeration was not as precise as the birthdate and place it was sourcing. The "add source" box comes up checked by default, meaning if you don't think to view it you may accidentally indicate the census says something it does not.

My best option here would have been to check the "add as alternate" fact. While technically not inconsistent with the information I originally had, I do NOT want to indicate the census said something it did not. Adding an alternate fact would allow me to use the census as a source for Samuel's birth and track EXACTLY what it said.
I wish this screen came up by default.

Cook County Vital Records Online

I've been reading other blog entries on this index at the Cook County Illinois County Clerk's Office. So far I have not seen comments about what is in the database.

There is nowhere on the site that I could find where one could see what years were in the database. My search for the last name of Jones in the years 1910 to 1915 resulted in only the handful of hits shown here. This seems a little on the low side to me.

A search of Smith birth from 1915 to 1920 yielded over 1000 entries. A search of Smith from 1910 to 1915 yielded less than 20.

I'm appreciative of having the index online for free, but am frustrated with being unable to find out just what is in the index. Comments to this are welcome.

04 July 2008

Cook County, Illinois, Vital Records

Cook County, Illinois' vital records office has put free online indexes to its vital records. The site is http://www.cookcountygenealogy.com/.

This is a great help to researchers. The website indicates that the database is "being updated" and to check back. It would be nice to know what time spans or years are currently covered in the index. Not knowing precisely what years are being searched is frustrating. It is very helpful to have the index at my fingertips.

Soundex options for searching are available. There is soundex "box" to check as there are on many sites. Instead the researcher should put the soundex code in the search box in place of the last name. To get the soundex code for a surname, visit the Rootsweb site.

Search the index, but before you pay the $15 per certificate fee, visit these two sites for their rates:

Their fees were less than $15 at the time of this writing.

03 July 2008

Ancestry's Redesigned Pages

Ancestry.com redesigned some of their pages. I'm not certain what my opinion is, but if it keeps them getting subscribers and digitizing more things, then that's a good thing. Finding things on Ancestry.com occasionally frustrates me, I did like the census links on the main page.

So I did what I did before...made a really cheesy page with links to Ancestry.com databases that I use the most often. It is NOT fancy, it is not eye appealing, but it gets me where I want to go without going through the navigational structure. Saving time is my goal...not getting an award for web design or being "pretty." I'll add more links to it, but only to things I actually use. You can partially customize links on the Ancestry.com page, but I have too many things I use on a regular basis to make that practical. And besides, I like CONTROL. And making my own pages gives me that. Consider doing it for yourself.

No more real opinion on the pages---there's work to be done.