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.
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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.