29 December 2009

What's that Father's Occupation?

These are the parents of the Elizabeth Schulmeyer who was born in Beberstedt, Germany in 1840. The image in this screen shot is part of her baptismal record.
Any thoughts on her father's occupation?
How I located Elizabeth's birth record will be discussed in an upcoming issue of my weekly how-to newsletter "Casefile Clues." Subscribe now and get in on the search.

Casefile Clues Back Issue and Subscription Combo Discount

From now through 1 January 2010, I am offering a discount on a combination subscription and back issues to Casefile Clues, my weekly genealogy how-to newsletter. Rootdig.com readers can get all the back issues of Casefile Clues and an annual subscription for only $23.

Credit card payments are processed through PayPal. If you want to send a check or money order, please email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com and I'll send you a paper form to print out and send in.

Writing Casefile Clues every week has been great fun. I've written followups on some families readers of my Ancestry.com columns were familiar with and have been working up some new ones as well.

Recent topics have included:
Volume 1, Number 1--"Lessons from an Estate Record"
Volume 1, Number 2--"Passport Records"
Volume 1, Number 3--"Preemption Claim"
Volume 1, Number 4--"Multiple Parents"
Volume 1, Number 5--"Finding a Chicago Christening"
Volume 1, Number 6--"The Civil War Pension File of Riley Rampley"
Volume 1, Number 7--"Looking for Ira's Lucretia"
Volume 1, Number 8--"Platting out Thomas Sledd's Heirs"
Volume 1, Number 9--"Finding and Analyzing Pre-1850 Census Records"
Volume 1, Number 10--"Getting from One Ira to Another"
Volume 1, Number 11- "The Homestead Application of the Heirs of Rolf Habben"
Volume 1, Number 12-"Is the Wrong Name Correct?"
Volume 1, Number 13-"Brick Walls from A to Z"
Volume 1, Number 14-"Jumpstarting Your Research"
Volume 1, Number 15-"Finding Geske and her Girls"
Volume 1, Number 16-"A Lot on Barbara's Lots"
Volume 1, Number 17-"Starting to Get Help from a Professional"
Volume 1, Number 18-"Analyzing a Biography"
Volume 1, Number 19-"Public Sale"
Volume 1, Number 20-"Charting an 1870 Census Search"

More information is on the Casefile Clues website. Join us!

22 December 2009

2010 Family History Library Research Trip

The early registration period for my 5th annual Family History Library trip this coming May has ended. However, you can still register for our trip and get in on the research excitement.

More information on our trip is available at http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html.

Regisration with a credit card can be made via this link.

After you make payment, please print out the registration brochure on our website http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html.

Questions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

21 December 2009

Need a gift for that genealogist?

It is not too late to give a gift of Casefile Clues as a Holiday present to that genealogist in your family or that researcher whose been very helpful on the email list, bulletin board, etc.

More information on a gift subscription is available here http://www.casefileclues.com/2009/12/give-casefile-clues-for-holidays.html

There is more about Casefile Clues here http://www.casefileclues.com/2009/12/about-casefile-clues.html

Remember, no stamps, nothing to mail, a few minutes and you are done. And your subscription will keep on giving all year! And at $15 a year, the price is not too bad either!

Cleveland County Oklahoma July 2010

I will be presenting at the annual seminar for the Cleveland County, Oklahoma, Genealogical Society on 24 July 2010. The seminar will be in the Norman, Oklahoma area.

More details will be announced as they are developed. If you'd like me to present at your conference or workshop, please contact me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com and we'll set it up.

18 December 2009

Cyndislist Now has page for Antartica

I made a little joke to Cyndi Howells of www.cyndislist.com telling her there was an entire continent for which she had no page on her site.

In an effort to keep me quiet (which is not often successful, by the way), Cyndi has added the following page to her site:

Your relatives can't get more Southern than that!

17 December 2009

Experimenting with Nebraska State Census

I've been working with the Nebraska State Census at Ancestry.com, hoping to find some various family members who were there by 1885.

What I really need to do is determine who might have been there in 1885 as that is the year of the bulk of the records in Ancestry.com's database. The "Source Information" from the Ancestry.com site is:
  • Nebraska. Cass County. “County Census, 1876-1882.” Microfilm RG220, 9 rolls. Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln.
  • Nebraska. Lancaster County. “County Census, 1860-1880.” Microfilm RG207, 4 rolls. Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln.
  • Schedules of the Nebraska State Census of 1885. NARA Microfilm Publication M352, 56 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration

Always read the description before searching any online database.

Does it Look Like Ehrman to You-Part 2

In an attempt to provide perspective on the handwriting, I've made a link here to the actual census page at Ancestry.com for the complete census page referred to in my post "Does it Look Like Ehrman to You?" The intent of my post was to remind site readers that Soundex searches do not always work (Ehrman and Ehmen-the actual name-are not Soundex equivalent). The name sort of looks like Ehrman, especially if one does not know the last names in the area.

16 December 2009

Happy Anniversary a Day Early

My Grandpa and Grandma Neill were married on 17 December 1935--74 years ago tomorrow. Grandma never gave me a straight answer as to why they went to Keithsburg, Illinois, to get married. At the time they were married, Grandma lived with her mother and brother (Uncle Pete) in Loraine and Grandpa was living with his parents near Stillwell. It was a little bit of a drive in an unheated automobile on what probably was a cold Illinois winter day. To top it off, Keithsburg was not the county seat and they would have had to go to Aledo just to get the license.

It's hard to imagine Grandma with blond hair--she was always gray from my memory. Grandma always said that after the wedding Uncle Ralph chivareed them...I'm not certain if that's exactly what the wedding dinner refers to or not.

This announcement comes from the Mendon [Illinois] Post-Dispatch, December of 1935, but unfortunately I didn't include the exact date of the paper on the scan. I'm not even going to count the number of typographical errors in this clipping.

15 December 2009

Early Deadline for 2010 Family History Library Trip

Today is the early registration deadline for my 5th annual Salt Lake City Family History Library research trip.

Spend a week in Salt Lake and learn about your ancestors with help and guidance as needed. I provide consultation and one on one help with trip participants. Our numbers are kept low so that everyone gets individual help as needed.

More information on our trip is located on our site at http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html

Questions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

14 December 2009

Does it look like Ehrman to you?

This is part of the 1885 Willow Island Precinct, Dawson County, Nebraska census which Ancestry.com recently released on their website.

I'm 99% certain this head of household is J. T. Ehmen (actually Jurgen Tonjes Ehmen), a distant relative.

Ancestry saw the last name as Ehrman (very reasonable). Problem is that this variant is not caught by a soundex search on Ehmen (because a consonant has been altered in the "first part" of the last name) and it can't be found by a wildcard search on Ancestry.com either because it would require a wildcard search like "Eh*" which is not allowed on Ancestry.com.

How was it found? Luck.

The same census page also contains the 1885 enumeration for Fred Gerdes, my uncle by marriage. I was scanning the entire census page, as I always do, and there was Jurgen Tonjes Ehmen. The Gerdes and Ehmen family have no relationship to each other at all. Fred's sister-in-law married Jurgen's nephew and THAT couple are my great-great-grandparents.

The reminder is that people move in groups and stay within their own ethnic circle. Relationships can be confusing when people are double and triple related, but at least when you find one relative, you've often found more!

13 December 2009

Salt Lake City Family History Library Research Trip

In answer to several questions I have had today:

There may be a page with a bad link that I haven't caught yet. Please accept my apologies for the error.

We'd love to have you join us in 2010!

Thanks! Michael

12 December 2009

Testing a Google Map in a Blog Post

Just a little test of one of the google maps I'm working on for Casefile Clues.

View DeMar Apgar Locations in a larger map

How Common is that Name?

These christening entries from Beberstedt, Germany range from 17 July 1840 to 3 October 1840 (note that the dates are given in numeric form, day month).

The item worth noting is that of these five entries, three have fathers whose last name is Schollmeyer (the 1st, 2nd, and 5th eitries). The 3rd entry has a mother whose maiden name was Schollmeyer. The town is full of them.

Remember that names that may be unusual in one area may be very common in another. Be careful before you assume the first Elizabeth Schollmeyer you find is yours. There may be more than one and they may be born in the same year or even in the same month.

Elizabeth Schollmeyer born 1840 Beberstedt

This is part of the christening entry for Elizabeth Schollmeyer born on 3/10 1840 (3 October 1840) in Beberstedt, Germany, to Andreas Schollmeyer and Brigette Schilling. I made the scan a few years ago at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Circumstantial evidence in the United States where Elizabeth settled indicated her father's name was Andrew/Andreas and this birth date was consistent with information on Elizabeth in the United States. The cross below Elizabeth's name indicated one of the infants christened died shortly after the christening. In reviewing the scan, my concern was that if referred to Elizabeth, which would have been a problem.

Fortunately I scanned the entire page (not shown here) and there was an entry clearly in the far right hand column indicating that the child christened after Elizabeth was the one who died as an infant, not Elizabeth. Just another reminder to scan the whole page. Now to analyze all the other entries I scanned for children of Andreas and Brigette.

11 December 2009

Don't Cut Yourself Short

Out of context is never a good thing.

A couple of quick suggestions based upon my experiences scanning things at the Family History Library while on my annual group trip.

The first image here is from the christening entry of Thomas Frame in Carlisle, England. It shows a mistake not to make while making digital copies: taking ONLY what you want. There is no perspective on this at all. What year is it? The date may be difficult to read, what did the entry right before this one have for a year? What are the headings for? (note, I also made two scans of this record, the other one was done to lighten up the right hand side of the image.)

A better approach is to take a digital scan of the entire page, which is shown in the second image. This helps me to keep track of the actual source and gives me the location and the year of the entry, which is missing in the little snippet I made which only included Thomas' christening.

I also like to make a scan of the "title page" of the film as well after I've made the scans of the records in that series. This helps to keep me organized and know where the information was located.
I typically scan quite a few documents while in Salt Lake and this helps me to remember what is what. Usually what I do while there are "quick lookups" and things can run together very quickly.
Thomas Frame as shown in these posts is my wife's great-great-grandfather.

Trautvetter-Haase Marriage 1868

I made a copy of this on paper from microfilm years ago, but last year on my trip to Salt Lake, I made a digital copy directly from the microfilm which I really find preferable. Last year while with my group in Salt Lake, I made several hundred scans of documents and not one paper copy. It was a good decision.
I've been reveiewing John lately. He was one of those ancestors on whom I thought I knew everything. As I have now completely researched his land transactions and those of his parents, I've noticed a few things about the family that I had not noticed before, some of which are genealogically relevant and some of which are merely interesting. I'm working up the land records, with a few other necessary materials included, for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.
Unfortunately the Family History Library in Salt Lake has not mircofilmed church records in Wildprechtroda and Helmershausen where the Trautvetter family hails from in Thuringen.

Communion in Tioga, Illinois, 1867

This list of communicants from 1867 is shorter than some of the other lists at the Tioga Evangelical Church in Tioga, Illinois [now Bethany United Church of Christ]. Number 9 is my great-great-grandmother. Number 6, "Vater Trautfelder," probably is John George Trautvetter, as three of his sons also lived in the vicinity and at the time of this were in their late twenties. John George had two brothers in the area as well who could have attended the same church, but those siblings had no children, so it seems likely that the reference to "vater" would be to the one with children.
I really need to review the material I copied when I was at the Family History Library. I made copies of stuff and think I promptly forgot I even made the copies.

Church Donations in 1908

In wrapping up some loose ends for my group trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake this coming May, I've been reviewing some scans of the materials I made on one of my previous group trips.

This comes from the church secretary's book from the Tioga Evangelical Church in Tioga, Illinois in 1908 (now Bethany United Church of Christ). Several donations of $1.00 are shown in this image, including one from John M. Trautvetter, my great-great-grandfather.
Records of these donations at the very least give the user knowledge of when a person was last known to be living, if other records are not available. Of course, some individuals are not even named--note Mrs. Kammerer[?] and Mrs. Altheide. But at least it may be a start.
On my next trip to Salt Lake, I'll have to search for church records somewhat earlier in Kentucky and Indiana.

10 December 2009

Nebraska State Census at Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com has released a new (or improved) Nebraska State Census--I have a hard time keeping track-it 1860-1885.

If it was there before, I missed it. I already had this entry shown in this post, my great-great-grandparents on their homestead in Dawson County, Nebraska in 1885. The names are supposed to be:
  • Frank Goldenstein
  • Annie Goldenstein
  • Tjoda Goldenstein--actually Tjode (my great-grandmother)
  • Renhert Goldenstein--actually Bernard
With this now online, I have quite a few aunts/uncles, etc. that I'll need to search. Most I never really even bothered to find in the state census before, but now perhaps I'll make some new discoveries.

New 1860 and 1870 Census Indexes at Ancestry

Ancestry.com has announced new census indexes for 1860 and 1870. I'm hoping they locate a few individuals I just cannot find and for whom I have exhausted all manual approaches except searching the entire United States page by page.

I'm give the new indexes a try and will see what I can locate. I'm hoping, but I'm not holding my breath.

09 December 2009

Alternate Names Can Appear Anywhere

This is one of the pages from the guardianship of Silas and Laura Barcus from Champaign County, Illinois, in the 1870s. This statement from the guardian dated 1877 indicates that Laura was also known as Ellen.

One never knows where these alternate names will appear.

And just as a note, in this case, the guardian of the children's estate was not their physical guardian. That is always something to keep in mind.

Philip Trautvetter Divorce

It has been a while since I've updated the blog with information on Philip Troutfetter.

Philip was married for a brief time.

According to the complaint filed by Violet Troutfetter in January of 1901, Violet and Philip Troutfetter were married on 17 February 1897 in Denver, Colorado. On our about 14 April 1898, Philip left Violet. The last she heard that Philip was in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The case was heard at the March 1901 term of the El Paso County Colorado Court. The 6 man jury found that Troutfetter "has wilfully deserted and absented himself from this plaintiff." He was not found guilty of cruelty. The divorce decree was dated 16 April 1901.

I'm working on a larger update to the Philip Troutfetter story. Those who have read the blog in the past will remember that his divorce is one of the minor events in his life. Troutfetter bounced over the western hemisphere before he was arrested in Boston a few years after his divorce.

Price Change for Back Issues of Casefile Clues

Effective Saturday, the charge for back issues 1-10 will go up to $5.50. PayPal is taking more of a "ding" out of it than I thought. You can purchase them here: http://www.casefileclues.com/2009/10/back-issues-1-10.html

Back issues of Casefile Clues are grouped in sets of ten. The next set will be 11-20. The price of back issue sets will remain at $5.50.

07 December 2009

Clark Sargent's Cash Entry File

This is an image of one of the documents in the Cash Entry Land File for Clark Sargent, my potential ancestor who purchased federal property in Winnebago County, Illinois in 1846. I was hoping he died before the patent was issued and that there would be something in the file on his heirs, but no luck.
Cash entry files do not typically contain vast amounts of genealogical information, but they can place a person in a specific place at a specific point in time. This one indicates that Clark Sargent was "of" Winnebago County, Illinois on 25 May 1846. There are times when knowing a person was in a specific place at a specific point in time is helpful. Particularly when there are multiple individuals with the same name.
I'm still hoping to get a little more information about Clark's land at the Winnebago County Courthouse. Perhaps it will shed light on his children---at least that is what I am hoping. I would love to have a "brick wall busting update" on Clark and Ira Sargent for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

04 December 2009

Subscribe to Casefile Clues

I am getting ready to send out issue 19 of Casefile Clues--it doesn't seem possible that I've been writing the newsletter on my own for that long. We've made improvements such as:
  • inclusion of citations
  • creation of PDF version
  • inclusion of illustrations

Casefile clues focuses on records, methods, and analysis. Request a sample by sending an email to samples@casefileclues.com.

Interested? You can subscribe for just 3 months for $6 or an entire year for $15. The price is reasonable and we'll do our best to jumpstart your research.

  • 3 months for $6--a quarterly subscription--this is the credit card option. Email me for alternate payment options.
  • 1 year for $15--this is the credit card option. Email me for alternate payment options.

Don't take my word for it. Read reviews and discussions from a variety of bloggers:


We'd love to have you subscribe to Casefile Clues.

NARA Changes--Call to Action

Changes are potentially afoot at the National Archives--ones that will negatively impact genealogists and family historians. I have recently been using NARA files more than ever for Casefile Clues and these changes are very disconcerting.


Angela McGhie, President, National Capital Area Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists, has allowed me to post a sample letter and more information here.

"Proposed renovations at the National Archives will affect all researchers. As you have probably heard, if the proposed changes materialize, much of the research space at the National Archives inWashington, D.C. will be converted to offices, exhibits, and otheruses, and research services will have to be reconfigured in a much smaller area. To assure that research resources are enhanced, rather than diminished, we again appeal—urgently--for your help.

There is an extremely important congressional subcommittee hearing later this month. The hearing of the Subcommittee on InformationPolicy, Census, and National Archives, which oversees NARA, will examine the National Archives mission. The proposed changes at Archives-1 will be discussed. The new Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will testify."


More information, including a sample letter can be downloaded from any of the files below--Word version, PDF version, or RTF version. Please keep letter to the point and personalize it. Angela has allowed me to post versions of her letter and more information here:

Spread the word!

This post can be linked to directly at:


Early Registration Deadline for 2010 Family History Library Trip

The early registration deadline of 15 December is fast approaching for my 5th annual genealogy research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. We spend an entire week in Salt Lake, right next door to the Family History Library.

Registration gets you:
  • help with pre-trip planning
  • morning lectures (optional)
  • onsite help (twenty minute consultations as can be scheduled and "drop in" help as needed).

We always have a great time and make great discoveries. More information on the trip is available on our site http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html. Many like to go with a group, especially if they have never been before or don't have anyone "from home" going with them. You don't have to have a roommate.

Registration is $200 until 15 December and does not include, travel, hotel, or expenses.

02 December 2009

Cook County Marriages with Spades

The first image in this post (with the two spades) is the marriage license for Albert Haakman and Eleanor Frame from Cook County, Illinois in 1908. It was found on FamilySearch's pilot site by searching for Frame marriages in the Cook County marriage listing and looking at desired entries. When I originally located this entry, I got so sidetracked on the "spots" that I neglected to see an additional index entry on Family Search for this samecouple.

Note that this marriage has the license number of 49807 in the upper right hand corner.

In preparing for this post, I did another search on the http://pilot.familysearch.com site for the Eleanor Frame and Albert Haakman marriage. This time because my search was specific it was easier to see that there were two entries in the Pilot site for this marriage--something in my obsession with the "spots" I had not noticed (one usually doesn't expect to find two marriage index entries for the same couple).

The names and all the details (at least on the search results) appeared to be the same.

However, when I clicked on "record details" (which appears on the far
right of the screen and is not shown in the image with this post), I noticed there was a slight different. The reference numbers which LDS assigns to each record were different. These reference numbers (in the case of the Cook County marriage records) are actually the license number. So there
were two license numbers for the
Frame-Haakman marriage.

The second license looks just like the first one, except that the original number of 49807 has been crossed out and replaced with 498907.

Note that this version of the license has none of the spades.

The Family History Library Card Catalog entry for these marriage records makes the comment that "Spade marks on licenses indicate numbering problem."

In an effort to dig down to the bottom of the spade issue, Cynthia at http://www.chicagogenealogy.com sent me the entry from the Cook County marriage index for the Frame-Haakman marriage. Their index entry for the Frame-Haakman marriage indicates that the license number is actually supposed to be 498907. The license image with this number does not have the spade marks.

A little bit of history is necessary (thanks to Cynthia at http://www.chicagogenealogy.com). The first license post-fire in Chicago was license number 1/2 (yes that's a half--as in "better half") to John G. Blaine and Alice R. Miller on 10 October 1871. The number sequence just kept on going year after year, which makes it possible, using the numbers from the microfilm film notes of the Family History Library Card Catalog, to estimate when a marriage took place using only the number. The license on the "spaded" image is dated 49807, which would be an entry from late 1880. The correct number for the Frame-Haakman marriage is 49807.

Another license between James Bell and Clementine Dorsey is incorrectly numbered 49806 and appears next to the Frame-Haakman marriage (it is mentioned in our earlier post). It too appears in the FamilySearch index twice, once with reference number 49806 with corresponding image that has spades. It appears in the FamilySearch index again under reference number 498906. The image corresponding to that ent
ry (partially shown in this post) has no spades and has the incorrect number crossed off and the correct number written on it as well.

Spades aside, it appears that if you do find a spaded entry in the images on FamilySearch's pilot site for these records, you should search for the marriage in the index again and you might find another copy with the correct license number and no spades on the license image.

Thanks again to Cynthia at Chicago Genealogy for her help with this post.

30 November 2009

Recent Casefile Clues Topics

In response to our Cyber-Monday discount ($12 for a year of weekly issues), I've listed topics from recent issues of Casefile Clues. Subscribers will receive issues 11-18 complimentary with their subscription which will begin with issue 19.
Recent issues of Casefile Clues have included:

11- "The Homestead Application of the Heirs of Rolf Habben"

This column discussed the homestead claim of the deceased claimant's heirs. Included is a discussion what types of records are typically in a homestead file, why the copies look so strange, and what other documents should be researched as a followup.

12-"Is the Wrong Name Correct?"

This column discussed a name that appeared on the surface to be incorrect. A 1910 Chicago census enumeration seemingly had the wrong last name for a household member. Further research hints that the individual unofficially changed his name ca. 1909.

13-"Brick Walls from A to Z"

This column was a quick run-down of suggestions for breaking brick walls. It was a reprint of an earlier column of Michael's from several years ago. We don't often use older material (this has been the only time, but deadlines got the best of me and this was a very popular piece).

14-"Jumpstarting Your Research"

Just a few ideas to get you brainstorming.

15-"Finding Geske and her Girls"

Losing a an ancestor on the other side of the pond and finding her in the United States. This required using a variety of records and techniques to find this 1880 era immigrant when her "new" married name was unknown.

16-"A Lot on Barbara's Lots"

A 1900 era probate failed to mention how an estate's real property was disposed of. Finding those deeds revealed quite a bit of genealogical information, even though the actual amount of property and its value was relatively small.

17-"Starting to Get Help from a Professional"

My initial column in an ongoing series on working with a professional, focusing on being focused, deciding what to research, why certain things are researched, and staying within a budget.

18-"Analyzing a Biography"

This column encourages readers to go back and fully analyze all those county "mug book" biographies they have. Several techniques for analysis are included through an extended example. I even made a major discovery just in completing the analysis on this 19th century biography.

Our discount runs until midnight tonight. After that the regular price returns.

Cyber Monday Sale Wraps up today

Our Cyber-Monday sale on Casefile Clues wraps up today at midnight!

Response has been good and there is still time to subscribe to my weekly how-to genealogy newsletter at the discounted rate of $12 a year. Readers who would like to give Casefile Clues as a gift can do so by including that information (name, email) in the instructions section of the payment page.

There are several interesting things coming up in Casefile Clues, including discussion and analysis of new information in several families we've been following over the last few months. And of course, there's always citations and a discussion of what didn't work, and why certain techniques and approaches were tried.

28 November 2009

US IRS Tax Assessment Lists at Ancestry.com

I've been using the U. S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists at Ancestry.com lately, hoping to use the experience as the basis for a Casefile Clues article. That is going to have to wait however as I don't think the database is all that easy to use.

To make effective use of this database, one has to use the guides to learn the district number for the desired part of the state one needs. This can be found using the microfilm guide compiled by NARA for the state in question. Searchers cannot simply search based by county.

I wrote an article on using the lists a year ago for the Ancestry.com blog: http://blogs.ancestry.com/circle/?p=2760

It needs updating for those individuals whose names are not unusual and are city dwellers. I'm trying to use the database to find some Watsons in Pennsylvania and there are several. When I've had time to sit down and work it out, we'll blog about it.

One thing about the title here that is somewhat misleading, the majority of thse records are in the 1860s. The VAST majority. The title says 1862-1918, but don't let that lead you astray.

27 November 2009

My wife's ancestors in 1940

In the spirit of an earlier post, I'm speculating on where various ancestors of my wife were enumerated in the 1940 census. My wife's:

  • Father-can't enumerate he who is not yet born.
  • Mother-with her parents, probably in Marcelline, Linn County, Missouri.
  • Wilbur and Grace (Mortier) Johnson [paternal grandparents]--city of Rock Island, Illinois.
  • Ola and Anna (Apgar) Lake [maternal grandparents]--Marcelline, Linn County, Missouri.
  • Joseph and Eva (Trask) Johnson [great-grandparents] --city of Rock Island, Illinois (probably)
  • Henry and Caroline (Freund) Mortier [great-grandparents]--city of Rock Island, Illinois
  • Marie (Desmarais) Apgar Verikios Williams [great-grandmother]--Chicago, Illinois
  • Samuel Otto Johnson [great-grandfather]--Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois
  • Jennie (Kile-Smith) Trask [great-grandmother]--Galesburg or Peoria, Illinois

We'll have wait for the census to be released to find out if I was right or not.

25 November 2009

Cyber Monday Sale On Casefile Clues

From now until 11:59 on 30 November, we're offering a year of Casefile Clues for $12. That's a $1 a month, only 25 cents per issue.

There is more information on the Casefile Clues website.

The image says "Black Monday," but it's actually Cyber Monday. I can't keep all these marketing things straight.

Chicago City Directories at Footnote

I've been working on the Chicago city directories at Footnote.com. Footnote.com's collection is incomplete, but it is a start and easier than using the microfilm.

The image shown in this post comes from the 1872 Chicago City Directory for Thomas Frame.

We'll discuss searching these directories at Footnote and interesting discoverings made about Thomas Frame in an upcoming edition of Casefile Clues.

Where were they in 1940?

The 2010 Census is coming and before I know it the 1940 census will be released. It got me to thinking about where my ancestors will be in the 1940 census when it comes out. I'm pretty certain of their locations as most of my families during this era did not move very much.

  • Me--I was so not here in 1940.
  • My parents--they weren't around in 1940 either.
  • Cecil and Ida (Trautvetter) Neill [my paternal grandparents]--Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
  • John Ufkes [my maternal grandfather]--Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
  • Dorothy Habben [my maternal grandmother]--Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
  • Charles and Fannie (Rampley) Neill [paternal great-grandparents]--St. Albans Township, Hancock County, Illinois--maybe in West Point or maybe on the farm, not certain.
  • Fred and Tena (Johnson/Janssen) Ufkes [my maternal great-grandparents]--Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
  • Mimke and Tjode (Goldenstein) Habben [my maternal great-grandparents]--Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois.
  • Anke/Anna (Fecht) Habben [my maternal great-great-grandmother]--Elvaston, Hancock County, Illinois.

I'll work on my in-laws later. My own family as recently as 1940 I can pretty much do off the top of my head.

23 November 2009

Spots on the License

One of the marriage licenses in this post is 49807 from Cook County, Illinois, for Albert Haakman and Eleanor M. Frame. I'm not certain what the spots on the license actually are, but they are several licenses before and after the one shown here.

Eleanor Frame is a first cousin of my wife's grandmother. I've been working on the Frames for an upcoming issue of "Casefile Clues."

A few others in this same series also had spots as well. I have posted 49808 and 49806 as well (numbers in upper right hand corner). They won't show in the "right order," but all three are here.

Joining Us in Salt Lake 2010

Plans are still underway for my 5th annual research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City: 27 May through 3 June 2010

Trip includes:

Pre-trip planning via a private website for those who wish to participate

Availability to ask questions of Michael and other group members before we leave

Help preparing for time in library

Morning presentations

1 on 1 consultations with Michael (both 30 minute scheduled sessions and drop in questions) as needed. More than one 30 minute consultation if time allows.

Early registration ends 15 December. More information is available at


21 November 2009

Signatures on Releases of Mortgages

This is the 1879 signature of Conrad Haase, my step-3rd-great-grandfather. It was contained on a mortgage made out by his step-daughter and son-in-law, Frances and John Michael Trautvetter. Their mortgage was dated 1 Feb 1870 and was paid off in 1879. Frances would have been nineteen when she signed the mortgage, John would have been thirty. Tracking John's deeds, especially those when he purchased the property and mortgaged part of it from his in-laws, has been particularly interesting and I've learned a few things when I thought I already pretty much knew everything.
Down the road this will appear in Casefile Clues.

19 November 2009

Tina Sansone at Bellaonline on Casefile Clues

Tina Sansone at BellaOnline wrote about her experiences with US passport applications after reading about them in Casefile Clues. You can read the review for yourself on her genealogy page at BellaOnline.

Thanks, Tina, for the review. I appreciate it.

Several months ago, I wasn't certain I would have enough material to write weekly a column of this type. I've got a topic list through the first of the year and usually when I write one an idea for another pops into my head.

Remember, whether you subscribe to Casefile Clues or not, writing about your genealogy and organizing the information you have is an excellent use of your time.

18 November 2009

Deadline for Salt Lake City Research Trip Approaching

The early bird deadline is fast approaching for our 2010 trip to Salt Lake City's Family History Library this May/June. Register now while the price is low. For more information on our weeklong trip to Salt Lake, visit: http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html

Genealogy Computing Workshops Galesburg-IL, March-April 2010

Carl Sandburg College has announced its annual spring series of genealogy computing worshops.

Topics include:
  • Using Ancestry.com 26 March 2010
  • Using Familysearch.org 27 March 2010
  • Using Family Tree Maker -2 days-4 and 9 April 2010
  • More Problem-Solving- 16 April 2010
  • Searching Free Online Scanned Books - 30 April 2010

We've brought our prices back to old levels--$35 a day. Handouts are included, lunch is on your own, or you can brown bag it.

Sessions are held in state of the art computer facilities and each attendee will have their own computer to use. Registration is limited, but you do not need to live in the Carl Sandburg district to enroll.

Galesburg is easily accessible via interstate. The college has no housing, but there are several motels within a mile of the college. Questions about the workshops can be sent to me at either mneill@sandburg.edu or mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

More information (including registration details) is available at http://www.rootdig.com/sandburg.html.

Give Casefile Clues for the Holidays

Need that perfect gift for your genealogy friend? Give the genealogy gift that keeps on giving, every week for an entire year.

Gift subscriptions to my weekly newsletter Casefile Clues are $15 per year--you can give as many as you want. There is no wrapping necessary.

Here is how it works:

If you don't see the instructions section, do not worry. When you order a gift subscription, Paypal will tell me that YOU ordered a GIFT subscription and it tells me you ordered it (including giving me your email). If there are no instructions, I will contact you and get those details from you manually. It is that easy. You can specify when you want the subscription to start.

If you do not specify when the subscription starts, it will start the week of December 25.

If there are questions about giving gift subscriptions, just ask me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

A subscription to Casefile Clues is the perfect genealogy gift for your genealogy friend who has helped you out, given you advice, etc. Every issue is packed with methodology and research suggestions. And at $15 a year, the price isn't too bad either.

17 November 2009

X Marks the Spot

At the time her will was signed, Barbara Haase made "her mark."

Readers should note that simply making a "mark" does not mean the person was illiterate. They might have been unable to sign or perhaps were told to "make their mark." That's one reason why documents such as this have witnesses.
Barbara could sign her name--she did so on documents in the 1850s and 1860s in a lovely German script. Not certain why she made three marks--although she did have three husbands (or two or four, depends upon how you count).
Issue 16 of Casefile Clues discusses how Barbara's town lot was settled up after her demise-several interesting lessons there.

15 November 2009

Google Maps for Barbara Haase

This is a rough Google Map showing what I think is the location of Barbara Haase's lot in the town of Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois. As time goes on, I'm using Google Maps more and more to plat out things. Keep in mind that Google Maps are modern and that most genealogists need maps contemporary to the research problem. Modern maps are still very helpful though, particularly when locating cemeteries and other potential sources of records.
I'm still working on a few details to make certain I have the right location, but I'm pretty certain this is accurate.
This week's edition of Casefile Clues discusses land transactions for the lot after Barbara's death.

13 November 2009

Took me a while to read this from the 1863 US Federal Tax lists

It took me quite a while to figure out what this word was on John Lake's 1863 federal tax asssessment. The item he was taxed on (the actual heading it "occupation or article") is the one on the list between the line that starts with 13 and the line that starts with 18.
I'm pretty certain it says "stallion."
The tax due was $10.83--this would have been a nice piece of change in 1863.

12 November 2009

Famous Census Search Contest Returns!

Our famous census search contest has returned--complete with prizes.
Check out our companion website at Casefile Clues for details.

11 November 2009

World War 2 Old Men's Draft Registration Card

It's worth noting that some of the "military" records are for men who never saw service--draft registrations come to mind very quickly.

This card is for Frederick J. Ufkes, who registered for the "old men's draft" in 1944. The 48 year old is my great-grandfather.
So when you are looking at those military records, think about draft cards as well.
(this is for Nancy U--her Granddad).

Casefile Clues Fan page on Facebook

Casefile Clues has a fan page on Facebook. You don't have to be a subscriber to be a fan. We post news there about the newsletter and readers sometimes post comments and suggestions and the occasional error or typographical error.

I'm having a great deal of fun writing Casefile Clues and interacting with readers and fans, both on Facebook and our website http://www.casefileclues.com. Give it a try.

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day and I have to go back to the Civil War to find my first veteran ancestor. Riley Rampley enlisted in Co. D, 78th Illinois volunteer infantry along with a brother. He served during the major part of the war and was discharged at the end of the war.

Riley was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1835 and died in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1893.

His 207 page pension file gives quite a bit of information on him and his wife, Nancy.

Fortunately Riley came home or I wouldn't be writing this post. Some soldiers are not so lucky and we should be grateful for their service. Riley and two of his brothers were in the war at the same time. As a parent, that is hard to imagine.

Turned those names around

Hard to see in this image (click on it to view it larger), but this 1930 census enumeration for Panagiotis Verikios has his names as Verikios Panagiotis. It took me forever to find him as his names were enumerated backwards in the 1930 census.

I was reminded of this when a Casefile Clues reader located the husband of our subject Geske Fecht using the reverse name approach. He was actually Boede Heien, but they listed him in the coroner's report as Heien Boede.

5th annual research trip to Family History Library in Salt Lake

Details have all been set for my 5th annual group trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in May/June of 2010. Trip participants get:
  • help with pre-trip planning via secure website
  • ability to send Michael problems before the trip
  • morning optional lectures from 8 until 8:50
  • consulations with Michael (at least two 20 minute consultations at library and "on the fly" questions can be asked when I'm not in consultations).
  • small, limited number of participants so everyone is able to ask questions as needed.

Registration and more trip details are on our site at http://www.rootdig.com/slctrip.html

We'd love to have you join us. Register by 13 November and get free year of Casefile Clues, my weekly how-to newsletter.

Back Issues of Casefile Clues

It is hard to believe that I am working on issue 16 of Casefile Clues since we began self-distribution. It has been fun and a challenge and I appreciate the feedback I have gotten from readers.

Issues 1-10 can be purchased as a set for $4.30. You do not need a PayPal account, just a major credit card. If you'd rather pay another way, email me for information.

2 August 2009--Volume 1 Number 1--Lessons from an Estate Record
9 August 2009--Volume 1, Number 2--Passport Records
16 August 2009--Volume 1, Number 3--Preemption Claim
23 August 2009--Volume 1, Number 4--Multiple Parents
30 August 2009--Volume 1, Number 5--Finding a Chicago Christening
6 September 2009--Volume 1, Number 6--The Civil War Pension File of Riley Rampley
13 September 2009--Volume 1, Number 7--Looking for Ira's Lucretia
20 September 2009--Volume 1, Number 8--Platting out Thomas Sledd's Heirs
27 September 2009--Volume 1, Number 9--Finding and Analyzing Pre-1850 Census Records
4 October 2009--Volume 1, Number 10--Getting from One Ira to Another

If you are not a subscriber, you can subscribe here via our site. Newsletters are sent via email as a PDF attachment unless an intext email is requested.

05 November 2009

Gesche Just Keeps Appearing

It really pays to keep your eyes open and it also helps to be related to half the village.
While doing a little preliminary work on another Wiesens family, I scanned the names on the other christening entries and noticed that Gesche Garrelts Fecht appeared as a sponsor for Anke Alberts Schmidt in November of 1863 in Wiesens. She is listed as the wife of the laborer Jans Dirks Weerts of Wiesens. Gesche was the third wife of an ancestor of mine and mother of his two youngest children. I've been working on an article on her for Casefile Clues.
It wasn't a major breakthrough but does make a good point about keeping your eyes open.

04 November 2009

Need a Speaker in 2010 or 2011?

I am currently booking speaking engagements in 2010 and 2011. I have a variety of topics on which I can lecture, most focusing on methodology and analysis. New topics can be developed if there is adequate preparation time.

Presentations are engaging, enlightening, and entertaining while remaining informative. A letter from a recent conference chair with comments from attendees can be viewed here. I do not stand behind the lectern and read my handout. I enjoy sharing my research experiences with others in a way that motivates them to explore new sources, methods, and research procedures. Case studies are always presented in a way that enlightens about the resource and methods being used.

I'd love to present at your workshop, conference, or seminar.
I can be contacted at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Response to 2009 Illinois State Genealogical Society Conference

I received a nice letter from Ann L. Wells, 2009 Illinois State Genealogical Society Conference Chair, which I have reproduced here with her permission.

She passesd along the comments that were received regarding the recent Illinois State Genealogical Society Conference where I was the main presenter. The comments were positive and included:
  • very engaging
  • kept it interesting
  • good technicals
  • very dynamic with a great sense of humor

Those who want to read more can click on the image of the letter and read it for themselves.

It was a great conference and I'm grateful the committee asked me to present.

Michael's Weekly Column Casefile Clues

Based upon some emails I've received over the past few days, there is still some confusion about my weekly column and where it appears. Consequently, I'm posting this information again for those who might have missed it. If you know what Casefile Clues is already, you can quit reading.

Casefile Clues, Michael John Neill's weekly genealogy how-to column, is available exclusively through www.casefileclues.com. It is no longer distributed via Eastman's newsletter.

What is Casefile Clues?

Casefile Clues is Michael John Neill's weekly how-to genealogy column. Casefile Clues is not copied and pasted text from other articles or press-releases. Rather, it is fresh material drawn from Michael's own research experiences in nearly twenty states and seven foreign countries. Casefile Clues discusses the thought process of how to analyze and interpret documents; how to problem-solve; and how to decide "where to go next." Michael has been actively involved in genealogy research since the mid-1980s.

Columns are clear always have a lesson bigger than the family or area being discussed. Subscribe to Casefile Clues and see how reading short case studies can help you in your own research. Annual subscriptions are just $15, pretty reasonable when you consider that gets you one article every week for an entire year--especially when compared to the prices of other genealogical magazines. I have researched families in most Eastern states and several European countries. The content varies with respect to time periods and locations and I am always open to suggestions from readers. I don't always solve each of my brick walls; however, articles always discuss procedures and methods in an attempt to break them down.

For the past ten years, Michael has written over six hundred how-to genealogy columns for Ancestry.com and Dick Eastman. Now his columns are being distributed from his own site http://www.casefileclues.com/. Email addresses of subscribers are never sold or shared and the website and newsletter are free from advertisements. No advertisers means I am dependent upon readers to help "get the word out," which I truly appreciate. No advertisers also means that within the usual limits, I can say whatever I want and not be concerned with making an advertiser mad. There are no ads to pull. We would love to have you subscribe and see how Casefile Clues can give you ideas to grow your own family tree.

George V of Hanover

He was the last Hanoverian King and is listed as the sponsor of my uncle George Habben in 1862. Born George Frederick Alexander Charles Ernest Augustus on 27 May 1819 he died on 12 June 1878. There is more information on him in a biography at Wikipedia.com. He was a grandson of King George III of Great Britian and a first cousin of Queen Victoria, but that really has nothing to do with the Habben family as readers of Casefile Clues will later see.
An upcoming issue of "Casefile Clues " will explain (likely) why he was my relative's sponsor. I'm not 100% certain, but I have a pretty good theory. He lost Hanover to the Prussians in 1866 and that spurred significant emigration from Ostfriesland to the United States, including the parents of George Habben.
Actually, most of my Ostfriesen emigrants came in the 1866-1875 era. The Prussia takeover of Hanover (which included) Ostfriesland was no coincidence.

02 November 2009

If these are hints....

I actually like using the hints at Ancestry.com, especially when I'm using it for people I have already located in records and want to "tie" everything together.

However, in this case (and in others I won't post here), I just cannot figure this out. Keep in mind, I have no degree in computer programming, but I do have two mathematics degrees so I did have to take a just a little bit of logic.

The tree I entered included a Mary Liddell, born in 1820 in Haltwhistle, England to Robert and Jane Cowing Liddell. These are the suggestions I received for Robert:
  • Some dude "compiled" from member trees who was born in 1866 and died in 1622. What code allowed for that to be a compilation into one person?
  • Some dude born ca. 1862 who was living in 1901 (hence the census listing). Even if the age of Mary is off by 20 years (meaning she was born in 1840), her father would still have to be born in the early 1830s at least.
  • A third dude born in Pennsylvania about 1874.

If you want me to use the "leaves" and the matches at Ancestry.com seriously, you gotta do better than that. Did they accidentally program things in some funny modulo arithmetic or some number base I happened to miss?

Don't get me wrong, I like the actual records Ancestry.com has and their indexes, I use them on a very very regular basis and have made great inroads with their actual indexes (including breaking down on twenty year brick wall). But this automatically compiled stuff and generated list of "leaves" as matches leaves me cold and wishing for trees without leaves.

Give me trees and I'll work on connecting the leaves myself.

31 October 2009

Hannah Frame Vanderlinden Marriage Chicago 1887

This is the marriage license of Frank Vanderlinden and Hannah M. Frame of Kensington, Cook County, Illinois. They were married in 1887 by James M. Belding.
Some quick Google searches of Reverend Belding located the likely name of his search. I've taken to googling just about every minister listed on every marriage license I am working on just to see what I can located.
The marriage license itself was downloaded from the Familysearch site (http://pilot.familysearch.org).
We'll be mentioning this family again in an upcoming article of Casefile Clues. I am hoping that by using the name of the minister, I'll be able to locate church records or something on Thomas and Elizabeth Frame, parents of Hannah. Hannah's younger brother William, was my wife's great-grandfather.

28 October 2009

Google Is Not As Smart As It Thinks It Is

Google doesn't always find what you want. I searched for the Illinois State Archives at Google just now and this lovely map came up with the address and the phone number (which are correct).
The problem is that the link Google brought up (which is purple in the image) first (right next to the map) isn't the Illinois State Archives website. Google wants you to think that it is. It's a site with affiliate links (which are fine), but that doesn't get me where I wanted to go, which was the state archives site. And of course, many of the links take you to places other than what you were looking for in the first place.
Of course, as soon as I clicked I realized I was in the wrong place and went back to get to where I really wanted to go (one of the links UNDER the map). The thing is, I knew what I was looking for, new genealogists don't.
Google is not quite as smart as it thinks it is.
I'm not opposed to people making money, but this site came up first because they optimized their page for Google. It was NOT a fluke. They knew what they were doing.
Always pays to check before you click. And to think.

27 October 2009

10% Casefile Clues Discount

I'm announcing this here because for me Facebook has been acting up all day. We are having a 10% discount on Casefile Clues today until midnight tonight. Blog readers can take the discount here http://www.casefileclues.com/facebook.html whether they are FB fans or not.

26 October 2009

1892 Illinois Probate Guide

The things one finds on http://www.archive.org/ are absolutely amazing. I'm reading partrs of the 1892 edition of A Practical Treatise Upon the Jurisdiction of, and Practice in, the County and Probate Courtsof Illinois, Embracing A Collation of Statutes and Authorities Upon the Settlement of Estates of Deceased Persons; Correlative Relations of Guardian and Ward; ...."

by William Jones and Joseph Cunningham, Chicago, T. H. Flood, 1892.

Lots to learn in there for the genealogist and lots that makes sense once one reads it.

There will undoubtedly be references to this book in upcoming issues of Casefile Clues.

22 October 2009

Back Issues of Casefile Clues and Subscribing

An update on back issues of Casefile Clues.

Your subscription starts when you sign up. I'll usually send the issue that "just ran" when you sign up, unless it somehow slips my radar (you can always ask me if I forget). I've started grouping back issues in groups of 10 for those who weren't subscribers earlier. When you subscribe, I can send you every issue since the last set of back issues "cut off." That way if you get the back issues, you have as complete a set as you want and I'm not messing with selling individual back issues.

So anyone who subscribes now or in the near future can get issues 11 until when they started at no charge--just ask.Back issues 1-10 can be purchased with a credit card for $4.30. You do not need a PayPal account, just a major credit card. Those who wish to pay by check can email me for information at mjnrootdig@gmail.com. This allows me to make back issues available to those who want them keeping paperwork and procedure to a minimun.

To request a sample copy of Casefile Clues, send an email to samples@casefileclues.com.


21 October 2009

Are your sources really that specific?

The ability to merge sources (particularly census) into a tree at Ancestry.com is really a nice one.

However, one must be careful not to indicate that a source says something it does not. The reasons are pretty obvious--but here's an example with the names changed.

Thomas Smith was born in Harford County, Maryland, on 2 May 1865 and you have three primary sources to back it up. The 1880, 1900, 1910 and 1920 census all indicate he was born in Maryland. Let's say that they all point to a year of birth of 1865

Yet if you aren't careful when you tie the census record to his date and place of birth, you seemingly indicate that the census indicates he was born on 2 May 1865 in Harford County, Maryland. I've never seen a census between 1880 and 1920 that provides that specific of a place of birth.

Shouldn't you create a "new" place/date of birth that is 1865 in Maryland and tie the census source to that?

Or am I just a stick in the mud?

20 October 2009

Google Maps

I have been experimenting with Google Maps for the Casefile Clues column that I'm wrapping up.

This image includes some of the locations relevant to a 1910 census entry for my wife's great-great-grandfather Louis Demar. He was living 42 West 119th Street in 1910--which is one of the places shown on the map. The other places were important for other reasons and all play a role in completely and accurately analyzing this census entry.

15 October 2009

Issues 1-10 of Casefile Clues

Starting today, we are offering back issues of Casefile Clues in sets. First set will be issues 1-10 and we will continue in that fashion so that subscribers can get the ones they missed easily. Those who want set 1-10 can purchase it through https://www.paypal.com/cg...i-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8934803 or can email me directly for information.

Those who wish to subscribe to Casefile Clues can do so here.

13 October 2009

Which Copy Do You Have?

One of the necessary items of citing genealogical sources is what copy of a document was actually used.
The image shown here is a handwritten copy of the Declaration of Intent for Rolf Habben, made out in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1886. This image was made from a photocopy of the copy which was contained in the homestead file.
Rolf Habben had a handwritten copy of his declaration of intention.
At one point in time, Hancock County had the originals of these declarations of intent.
There was the "real deal" at the county courthouse, the copy Habben had, and the copy made from Habben's copy that was included as a part of his homestead file.
Then there is the photocopy I have (of the copy in the homestead file).
Then there's this image I made to post on the website.
Then there's the PDF file I made that contained a high quality scan of the entire homestead file (one of the documents in that file was the declaration of intent).
Which copy of a record do you have?
This copy was discussed in this week's edition of "Casefile Clues."

12 October 2009

Back issues of Casefile Clues

Reminder: 12 October is the deadline to subscribe to Casefile Clues and get all the back issues as a part of your Casefile Clues subscription. After 12 October, past issues will be bundled and sold in groups. Thanks for all your support. I appreciate it!

Subscription information is available at:

11 October 2009

Free Sample Issue of Casefile Clues

I am offering a free sample issue of my weekly newsletter Casefile Clues to anyone who requests it. Simply send me an email at mjnrootdig@gmail.com and one will be sent to you (as an attachment).

10 October 2009

Bigger Screenshot of Philip Troutfetter's Statement

For those who were helping me, I have clipped a larger part of the scan from Philip Troutfetter's homestead claim. The word in the red circle is the one I am trying to read.

Clicking on the image will pull up a larger view of it.

Offer on Back Issues of Casefile Clues

If you missed Friday's offer of subscribing to Casefile Clues and getting back issues 1-10 as a part of that, email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com sometime today (Saturday, 10 October) and we'll get it taken care of.

I forgot to post the offer on this blog yesterday.

09 October 2009

Can't Read it on a BLM Case File

Philip Troutfetter should be a case study in and of himself, perhaps even a whole book of case studies devoted to him.
The two images on this post come from his homestead/preemption claim filed in Colorado. It references earlier claims he had which were relinquished.

I have circled in red what I cannot read. The larger image (posted first) shows the entire "answer" and the second image shows zoomed in portion. Clicking on either image will bring it up larger in the browser.
It looke like "S ho," but I'm not certain what that means. I thought it might mean "standard homestead" but I'm not certain and that is only a guess. I'm requesting copies of the papers from the National Archives, but it will be a while before they arrive.

What is Casefile Clues?

For readers of this blog who don't know, Casefile Clues is my weekly genealogy how-to newsletter. Each week includes a case study, document analysis, or problem-solving article. Occasionally all three are combined, it just depends upon the family.

Casefile Clues is not a genealogy "news" letter. There's not news about new sites, new software, or what famous person has had their family researched. There are plenty of sites, blogs, and newsletters that provide that information.

Casefile Clues is intended to give you weekly reading to actually help you with your own genealogy. Case studies and families cover a variety of areas and time periods, all gleaned from research I have done on my children's ancestors which covers a fairly large range of geographic regions.

Columns are meant to be easy to read and easy to understand. That doesn't mean the problems are easy to solve. I just don't believe that reading about genealogy methodology has to be tedious.

Citation of sources is extremely important and every document is cited as close to the rules of Evidence Explained as I can get. Occasionally I will make a mistake and I encourage readers to bring that to my attention so if can be mentioned and corrected in the next possible issue.

We have beginners and advanced researchers reading Casefile Clues. My goal is to help everyone with their research.

Casefile Clues is only $15 a year and comes weekly in your email--either as PDF file or as an in email message.

More information about Casefile Clues is on our Casefile Clues site http://www.casefileclues.com
Subscription information is at http://www.casefileclues.com/subscribe.html. There are no ads on the www.casefileclues.com site and the newsletter is ad-free as well. That way, there are no advertisers to worry about making happy or irritating!

A PayPal account is not required to use a credit card. Those who wish to inquire about other payment options (check, money order, etc.) can contact me directly at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Any other questions about the newsletter can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com, including requests for a sample copy.


08 October 2009

Sample Copy of Casefile Clues

I am offering readers of the Rootdig.com blog a free copy of "Casefile Clues" as a sample--hopefully to encourage readers to subscribe.

Requests for a copy can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.


Patent Database at Ancestry.com 1790-1909

Ancestry.com recently (or at least I just noticed it) a US Patent Database from 1790-1909.

From the Ancestry.com site:
"This database contains invention patents granted from 1790-1909 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). "

While I haven't used the Ancestry.com database extensively, I think I'm going to stick with Google on this one. Google's patent database also starts in 1790 and contains information up to the last few months, according to its website. The Google site for patent also offers searches more flexibility and creativity in terms of searches than Ancestry.com does. The advanced Google search box appears in this blog post with a blue background on the top part of the image.

I am not a big fan of global searches on Ancestry.com. The only time I find a search of the entire site helpful is when the name is uncommon and I am clueless about the person and need a jump start on my research. Otherwise I like to know what I am searching (which probably stems from my control issues). Even names that I think may be uncommon come up too many times on global Ancestry.com searches and I WASTE too much time sifting through all the matches that I do not need.

I found some neat patents on Google just browsing to create this blog post.

A relative in Kansas made an adjustable shoe tree.

A closer relative in Hancock County, Illinois, made a hog feeder. Parts of Fred Trautvetter's patent are shown here as well.

Neat things on the patent database. I think I'll stick with Google's interface with these records. I can also download the patent as a PDF file too. Google will also let me create a direct link to the patent I located and send that in an email, or even post it here:
That link will take you directly to Trautvetter's feed trough patent for those who want to take a look.