30 August 2009

The Drouin Collection at Ancestry.com

I don't normally post "news" here, but I haven't seen this too much on other sites.

Interesting news about the Drouin Collection at Ancestry.com http://genealogie.planete.qc.ca/blog/view/id_4074/name_Pegase/title_Institut-Drouin-Contre-Ancestry-Ca/ I must have been under a rock to have missed this.

(Have google or babelfish translate it for you.)

Casefile Clues "Fan Page" on Facebook

Casefile Clues continues to pick up fans on Facebook. The link, which hopefully works is

If that doesn't work, Facebook members should be able to search for it. I'm using it and www.casefileclues.com to communicate with readers, but sometimes there are almost too many ways to communicate and writing doesn't get done when I'm sitting here making blog posts.

I encourage readers and fans to interact via the "fan page" as they have time. And of course, sharing information about the newsletter with others really helps too.

Subscribers who want to know when the weekly newsletter has gone out should check www.casefileclues.com first as I always post a blog entry there when the newsletter goes out. And for those who are new, newsletters usually go out late in the evening on Sunday. Always check your spam folder first. If it's not there, send me an email mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Topic suggestions are always welcomed. I only write about work I've done (or am doing) on my children's ancestry. Their background is pretty varied, so chances are there is something I can put together, that while it may not apply directly to your problem, should give you some insight.

Thanks guys.

28 August 2009

SSDI Meme followup

Blaine Bettinger had a followup(http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/note.php?note_id=136361127376&ref=nf) to my How Many Ancestors do you have in the SSDI post.

My earliest ancestral birth in the SSDI is Fannie Rampley Neill, born 1883. I knew three of my grand parents and one great-grandparent in the SSDI. My grandfather Neill died when I was 6 months old and my great-grandfather Habben died when I was 8 months.

My wife's earliest birthdate in the SSDI is 1884. Her grandfather Mortier died before she was born and she was a toddler when her grandfather Lake died. The others she remembers.

Finding a Chicago Christening...

I'm working on the "Casefile Clues" column to be sent out on Sunday. It discusses the process I used to find the christening of my wife's grandmother in Chicago. It was a somewhat drawn out process, but it turns out it is closest thing to a primary document I have for her birth. Those who want to know why this Catholic baptism is the "closest thing" to a primary document and not a primary document will have to stay tuned to "Casefile Clues."

27 August 2009

My in-laws in the SSDI

My wife only had six ancestors in the SSDI:

1) Wilbur Johnson (1912-1991)--death place listed as "HC"
2) Grace Johnson (nee Mortier), 1913-2000
3) Ola Lake (1906-1969)
4) Anna Lake (nee Apgar), 1913-1987
5) Henry Mortier, 1885-1966
6) Caroline Mortier (nee Freund), 1884-1981--spelled "Coroline" in SSDI.

Her parents are living as well.

Have You Searched for All Your Ancestors in the SSDI?

I did a little searching and reminded myself that I have seven ancestors listed in the Social Security Death Index:

1) Cecil Neill (1903-1968)
2) Ida Neill (nee Trautvetter) 1910-1994
3) John Ufkes (1917-2003)
4) Dorothy Ufkes (nee Habben) 1924-2008
5) Fannie Neill (nee Rampley) 1883-1965
6) Mimke Habben (1881-1969)
7) Tena (Trientje) Ufkes (nee Janssen) 1895-1986

My parents are still living--so they are not in there.

Just a little something to entertain myself. You can search it for yourself at http://ssdi.rootsweb.com

In the SSDI when I least expected it

I was just playing around today and found my great-grandma Neill in the Social Security Death Index. She died in 1965 and I never really thought to even look for her in the index. I don't need her SS5 form, it costs $27 and I have no doubts as to who her parents are and all that. However it makes the point that you never know if someone is in an index until you really look. I incorrectly assumed all my farming ancestors from her generation were not in the SSDI.

So, go ahead and look. You never know what you may find. If this had been a brick wall ancestor, getting a copy of her SS5 form from the Social Security Administration might have been helpful. And I NEVER buy the certified copies of records from the link on this site. They are entirely too expensive.

26 August 2009

Casefile Clues now has "fan page" on Facebook

I have added a fan page on Facebook www.facebook.com for my column "Casefile Clues.

The link may be:


But I have difficulty sometimes linking to things on Facebook. I'd love to have readers and anyone else join the group. We've got some exciting and interesting things coming up in future issues and would love to have Rootdig.com readers and visitors be a part of the "Casefile Clues" group.

25 August 2009

Old How-to Columns

Posted links to 40 old articles on Casefile Clues here


I'm probably never going to get the old ads stripped off at the rate I am going, but the articles are there.

24 August 2009

Inconsistent Secondary Sources

The latest issue of Casefile Clues went out today (a little late). It discusses a 20th century problem in the Chicago area where the secondary sources are (surprise) inconsistent. The analysis and discussion is applicable to other time periods and sources as well. This is a family I have written on before, but one that just about every confusing thing that could happen did.

Those who subscribe by Tuesday night will be sent yesterday's issue as next week's piece is a follow up to it (where the location of the christening record is discussed). I can't believe it has been a month since I moved "Casefile Clues" to it's own site and began distributing it myself.

22 August 2009

Bureau of Land Managment Casefiles

One of the lectures I wish I had been able to attend at the BYU conference last month was on Bureau of Land Management records. Unfortunately I was talking at the same time as the lecture was being given.

Land records have long interested me and I've decided it is time to get some copies of files from BLM that I have been neglecting to obtain. A researcher I have do work for me at NARA has agreed to locate some more files and I'm preparing my order to send to her.

I've got a list.....
  • An ancestor and his brother who speculated in federal land in Indiana
  • The man who was a witness on a relative's preemption claim
  • A man who bought land for reasons that are not clear
  • A homestead claim that was completed by the children of the deceased homesteader
  • AND a BLM casefile on Philip Troutfetter--the man who was involved in just about everything.

We'll be blogging about these when they arrive as time allows and a few will be used in upcoming "Casefile Clues" articles. BLM land records are a very small proportion of all the land records available, but they are important nevertheless. Those who want to search the BLM patent database can do so here: http://www.glorecords.blm.gov.

16 August 2009

Casefile Clues Subscribers

I've had a few emails to Casefile Clues subscribers for the 16 August 2009 issue get bounced back with the latest edition of the newsletter. If you did not get your newsletter or an email from me, please let me know and I'll take care of it.

If you'd like to subscribe to "Casefile Clues," you can do so here.

13 August 2009

Genline Workshop 28-29 August 2009-Galesburg, Illinois

Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois, is sponsoring a two-day seminar on Using Genline for Swedish Genealogical Research at the college's Galesburg, Illinois campus on 28 and 29 August 2009. I will be making the presentations---my wife is 1/8th Swedish and I've done a fair amount of work on her family from Ostergotland.

This workshop, which has limited enrollment, will be held in a state of the art computer lab where each attendee will have access to Genline for the duration of the workshop. There will be hands-on use of the site and the data, along with time for attendees to use the site for their own research. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Lunch is not included.

More information is available at:


10 August 2009

Tweets from BYU Conference

It's been a little over a week since the BYU Family History Conference where I made several presentations. Mark Tucker over at ThinkGenealogy.com has posted his tweets he made during the conference.

His tweets aren't the usual drivel one finds on Twitter and it's nice to see what someone thinks are the main points of your lecture.

07 August 2009

Louis and Ida (Trautvetter) Henerhoff children

This is but part of one page from the guardianship of the children of Louis and Ida Etta (Trautvetter) Henerhoff who died during the 1918 flu epidemic. Their guardianship was chock full of genealogical information, some of which I already knew. This guardianship is but one in a series of documents involving the farm of John Michael Trautvetter, father of Ida Etta.
The Henerhoffs will be featured in an upcoming "Casefile Clues" column which will analyze the several documents that explained the children's inheritance and how it impacted others in the family.
The children's guardian was their other grandfather, August Henerhoff. He died before the guardianship was over and that estate became intertwined in the guardianship as well. Before it was all said and done, the children were heirs of their parents and both their grandfathers.
This guardianship comes from the Guardianship Case Files in the Hancock County, Illinois, Circuit Clerk's Office and were obtained on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

A better scan from Haltwhistle marriages 1819

This scan comes from marriages in the Northumberland parish of Haltwhistle in 1819. I must have had the settings better on this one as the image is generally sharper and retains that sharpness when I zoom in.
I scanned the entire page when making the digital image, but the year of the record was only written on the very top of the page and that was cut off when I cropped the image to show the desired entry.
I still think it is really neat that at this point in time the marriage records included the signature of the bride and groom--Robert Liddell and Jane Cowing. Of course, the name was spelled Liddel on the document by the curate, Richard Grainger.
This scan was made on the newer machines in the Family History Libary. And hopefully if time allows, it will be part of an article for my weekly column "Casefile Clues."

Images from the new scanner at the Family History Library

This is a scan of a microfilmed image of a marriage from Haltwhistle in Northumberland, England, that I made last week at the Family History Library using their new scanners. I am going to have to become more familiar with the scanners as when I really zoom on these images they do not look as sharp as the old ones. I must have had something not set the correct way when I made these images. They will work just fine, but if they had things I wanted zoomed in, that would make it more difficult.
This is the 1839 marriage for James Watson and Mary Liddell. This family will be discussed in an upcoming "Casefile Clues" column.

05 August 2009

1930 Census Mary Trautvetter and her neice

I've been doing a little playing with Footnote.com this month while they are offering free access to their 1930 census. This entry is for a family that will appear in an upcoming "Casefile Clues" column.

Maxine's guardianship over ten years before this census was contested all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. There were so many documents in the file that I had to stop scanning them when I was in Salt Lake at the Family History Library due to time constraints. Mary Trautvetter is a first cousin to my great-grandfather, George Trautvetter (1869-1934).

04 August 2009

1930 Census Free for August 2009

For the month of August, Footnote.com is offering free access to their 1930 census. No credit card, just name and an email. Happy August!

02 August 2009

First Casefile Clues Subscription Column Posted

My first Casefile Clues column was just emailed to subscribers. The analysis of an 1877 probate file also discusses some concerns with using microfilmed or digital images so that family historians don't create additional confusion.

Subscription information for "Casefile Clues" can be found on the website. Subscribers within the next 24 hours will receive the issue that was just posted.

I'm very excited and looking forward to writing and adding more columns to the site.

The estate records list him as Mimken Habben, but his name was actually Mimka.

Using the New Microfilm Scanners at the Family History Library

My time at the Family History Library the other day was short and I was initially frustrated to find new microfilm scanners when I went to make my copies. The frustration was self-serving as I didn't have any time to waste and didn't want to have to learn something new.
It turned out that I was wrong.
The newer machines were not all that difficult for me to use and now I've had experience with them before my annual group research trip there next May. This image (not the source information) was made with the new scanners. After getting used to them, I liked them. I was able to easily make my copies and I think the images that I made were just excellent. It did take some getting used to rolling the microfilm reel using the mouse instead of using my hand, but it did work.
This image comes from the Castle Carrock Church in Cumberland, England.
I would recommend that those who have never used the machines include a little time to learn how the next time they are at the Family History Library. Printed paper copies can even be made from these machines and they give the user quite a bit of power. Those used to the older type of machines will be in for a change. Older machines are still there, but this is the wave of the future and really gives the user more options and control than we had before, not to mention ways to improve the image without printing 42,000 copies in the process.