28 April 2011

The Long Form Versus the Short Form

Years ago, I got an exact certified photocopy of my birth certificate from the vital records office in the county where I was born. It had a copy of my mother's signature on it, along with the signature of the attending physician. I do not have my actual birth certificate. I have a certified copy of it (a reproduction). It is made "official," because it includes the raised seal, the date the certificate was issued, and the signature of the records official. The courthouse has the actual birth certificate.

After my oldest daughter was born, I went to the local vital records office and got an exact certified photocopy of her birth certificate. Again, I do not have the actual certificate. The actual birth certificate is in the records office. I have a certified copy of the actual certificate.

A few years ago, when I couldn't find the certified copy of my birth certificate and needed one, I had my mother obtain a copy for me. I was sorely disappointed. All I got was a "certificate of live birth." It was an EXTRACT from the actual birth certificate. The extract basically said I was born on a certain date in a certain place. My parents' names are on it, but the essence of the form is that it indicates my date and place of birth are contained in a record in the office that has their raised seal stamped on the "certificate of live birth."

A "certificate of live birth" is a fairly typical way in which to issue a "copy" of a birth certificate.

The genealogist in me would rather have the copy of the actual certificate, but for most other purposes, the "certificate of live birth" is just fine.

Genealogists would consider the actual copy of the birth certificate an image copy, a derivative typically considered to be the equivalent of the original. The "certification of live birth" would technically be a transcription. Transcriptions are not necessarily bad, just different.

There is nothing unusual about a "certificate of live birth." Millions of Americans have them.

And my birth announcement appears in the local newspaper, too.

27 April 2011

I'm My Own Cousin

Roolf Alberts Fecht, born 1710 Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany:
  1. Gerjet Albers Fecht, born 1747 Wiesens
  2. Tjark Gerjets Fecht, born 1803 Wiesens
  3. Elska Fecht Janssen, born 1829 Wiesens
  4. Jans Janssen, born 1856 Wiesens--died 1929 Basco, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
  5. Trientje Janssen Ufkes, born 1895 Basco--1986 Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
  6. John Henry Ufkes, born 1917 Basco--died 2003 Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, USA (my grandfather)

Roolf Alberts Fecht, born 1710 Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany:
  1. Albert Roolfs Fecht, born 1740 Wiesens
  2. Jacob Alberts Fecht, died 1843 Wiesens
  3. Hinrich Jacobs Fecht, born 1823 Wiesens--died 1912 Elvaston, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
  4. Anke Hinrichs Fecht Habben, born 1860 Wiesens--died 1939 Elvaston, Hancock County, Illinois
  5. Mimke Habben, born 1881 Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois--died 1969 Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois
  6. Dorothy Habben Ufkes, born 1924 Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois--died 2008 Florida (my grandmother)
I have numerous multiple descents from various Ostfriesen ancestors. In this case, I'm my own 7th cousin.

William Sartorius in the Army in 1902-Regular US Army Infantry Regimentsrmy

I'm fairly certain the William A. Sartorius (number 26) on this U.S. Returns from Regular Army Infantry Regiments, 1821-1916 is the William A. Sartorius who was born in Adams County, Illinois, in the 1870s. There is still some research to do. The top image is from the top of the page and the second one is the part that shows the Sartorius entry.
The heading says May of 1892, but it appears that the person who filled the form out simply didn't change the form which apparently was pre-printed for the 1800s and used into the 1900s. The stamp indicates a year of 1902--so it looks like these enlisted men had their terms of service expire in 1902.

Those interested can search these infantry regiment records at Ancestry.com.

This record indicates Sartorius was in the 12th US Infantry. I've got more research to do on William and we'll have updates as details are located. I know the William I'm looking for was in Canada in the 1920s and on and I have copies of his homestead records which are being written up for an issue of Casefile Clues.

19 April 2011

Revolutionary War Court Appearance

The devil is in the details.
Don't get me wrong--I really love Footnote, but it is irritating when promotional materials get factual details incorrect as this ad does for Footnote's Revolutionary War Collection of Materials.

This ad for Footnote's current offer indicates one of the documents as a "Revolutionary War Court Appearance." The referenced document is from testimony in a Revolutionary War Pension file--apparently in September of 1820.

18 April 2011

My Blogs, Blogging Philosophy, Etc.

Sometimes I think I have too many blogs.

I have Genealogy Tip of the Day, where each day a research tip is posted. These usually come from actual research I'm doing or questions people ask about the newsletter, when I lecture, etc. These tips focus on records interpretation, genealogical problem-solving, etc. and not on computer use.

I also have Research Tip of the Day, where each day a search tip for using online databases, websites, etc. is posted.

Daily Genealogy Transcriber publishes a signature or name from a document, posted as a "can you read it" type scenario. Usually the next day I post the answer to what the name actually was.

These three really don't take all that much time and are actually kind of fun. The tips are meant to be short, quick, and easy to follow. Nothing intense and no 1,000 word case studies or really intricate problems or suggestions. They are meant to be a quick read.

There is the blog for Casefile Clues, the weekly newsletter I write. There I usually blog about upcoming articles, research problems, methodology, etc. all of which support the newsletter.

Then there is this blog, Rootdig, which has changed since I started it several years ago.

Rootdig really talks about genealogy in general, things that irritate me, problems I see in databases and websites and things of that type. Sometimes I'll just dump some interesting documents I've found into the website.

I've pretty much given up on using the websites and blogs to generate any significant income. All my blogs/sites except for Casefile Clues have advertising. However, I quit trying to maximize the income from the ads on my other sites. I stopped trying to promote sales, etc. from vendors and put up more generic ads that don't have to be pulled when the sales are over. The ads partially cover some costs, but the income is minimal. Attempts to drive enough traffic to make any significant income took up entirely too much time, time away from genealogy, research and writing. I was not interested in working to optimize search engine traffic, and marketing really is not one of my interests. Consequently while I have the ads and they do generate revenue, I'm certainly not making any sort of real profit on the sites.

Personally I was never comfortable writing about something just to promote a sale, a site or a link which is what I felt I had to do to generate enough web traffic to make any sort of real income from the ads. I like to write about things I was actually researching, not just something I found on a database in an attempt to promote a sale or promotion. And so I stopped concentrating on generating traffic to my ads. The ads were left up because it was easier than removing them and they do generate enough income to pay for the occasional death certificate or movie rental.

I find it easier to concentrate on writing and research and blogging about things I'm currently working on. If that generates traffic and followers, then so be it. I've decided I'm just going to put on the blogs what interests me and if that interests others, then fine.

I thought this was going to turn into a post on how to allocate professional time, make your professional reputation from your blog, etc. etc. I decided writing about that doesn't really interest me either.

15 April 2011

Illinois Marriage Records Index On FamilySearch

FamilySearch added Illinois Marriages 1810-1934 to their list of databases. Currently it only contains Adams, Alexander, Bond, Boone, Brown, Champaign, Christian, Clark and Clay Counties.

Personally very good for me as Adams is one of two counties where most of my family lived!

12 April 2011

They Were Sailors Who Deserted

Stories of relatives who "left the German army" are common--proving them is usually a bit more difficult. A search of

This is an incomplete post. The first image above is from the Bremer Musterungslisten der Schiffe, 1815-1917 for Jurgen Ehmen. This is from a muster list and is only part of the entry. The entry indicates Jurgen was born in 1832 in Wris[s]e, which is where Jurgen Ehmen, first cousin of my great-great-grandfather was born.

A search of deserters in Seemansamt Bremen, Deserteurlisten, 1855-1874 indicated Jurgen was listed there as well, apparently having deserted in August of 1860. Not only was Jurgen on that list, his brother Joh. Luken was as well. Jurgen was born in 1832 and Joh. was born in 1838. The rest of the entry I need to translate.
We'll have an update as new information is located--possibly a Casefile Clues article if there is enough information to warrant.

11 April 2011

UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 on Ancestry.com

Virgil A. Rampley, private, arrived in Liverpool, England in September of 1918 on the S.S. Lancashire. He lists an address of West Point, Illinois, and indicates a next of kin as his mother Nancy J. Rampley. I noticed several other Hancock County boys on the ship as well. I included the heading of the manifest page here as well. The entire manifest can be viewed at Ancestry.com. Virgil is a brother to Fannie Rampley Neill, my great-grandmother.

07 April 2011

Civil War Draft Registration Riley Rampley

This is part of the Civil War Draft Registration for Riley Rampley which was recently released on Ancestry.com as their the in their collection of Civil War materials.The entry for Riley indicates he was living in Walker [Township] Hancock County, Illinois. His age, and that of his brother John, are left off the registration. In fact several registrations further down on the page also contain no age listed. Riley was white and listed as a farmer. The second half of the page indicates that Riley and his brother, as well as several others on the page, had already enlisted.

I'm not certain why the Rampley's registration is incomplete, but it is.

06 April 2011

Civil War Draft Records on Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com released the US Civil War draft records and their index recently. Neat database--so far no major discoveries.
So far, I've found five ancestors:
  • Michael Trautvetter in Rocky Run Township, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Riley Rampley, in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois (he actually served)
  • Ulfert Behrens in Northeast Township, Adams County, Illinois
  • Bernard Dirks in Honey Creek Township, Adams County, Illinois
  • Henry A. Sartorius in Clayton Township, Adams County, Illinois
Can't find the ever elusive Ira Sargent yet, but that's no big surprise. Given what I know, he's probably hiding out somewhere in Missouri.

Hopefully I'll get a few images up here in a day or two.

05 April 2011

Map Database Error At Ancestry.com

I have emailed Ancestry.com about this before, but it seems to get lost in the queue. There are errors in the locations of plat maps in the database that is queried when using the "Indexed County Land Ownership Maps, 1860-1918" at Ancestry.com. In working on an article for Casefile Clues, I wanted a few images to use as illustrations. I searched for the last name of Fecht nationwide. Several results came up--including several that Ancestry.com indicates are in Bear Creek Township, Iroquois County, Illinois. The map they are using is for Hancock County, not Iroquois County. The first screen shot is from my results page. Clicking on the first entry for G Fecht, I obtained the following screen:

It's difficult to see in the image in the post (click on it for a larger shot), but Ancestry.com's indicating this is from Iroquois County when the image clearly states Hancock. I suspected the error based upon the name I searched for and the name of the township, but would the "unsuspecting" genealogist--I'm not certain.

I love having these things indexed, don't get me wrong. It would be nice however, if the correct county were tied to the database entry.

Of course, this does give me a nice citation issue to discuss for the newsletter, but that really is not the point.

Update: the 1916 Hancock County, Illinois atlas is listed Jersey County......

04 April 2011

Let's Get It Right--Chris Rodda on Michele Bachmann

I'm no fan of Michele Bachman and I'm apparently no fan of Chris Rodda's mathematics either.

Rodda in an op-ed piece from 3 April discusses Bachman's claims about her Bachman's Iowa connections. Now, it does appear that Bachman got some details about where her ancestors settled incorrect and Rodda is right to nail her on that. However, Rodda claims that Bachman simply can't have great-great-great-grandparents who settled in Iowa in the 1850s.

Rodda states: " simply because it would be mathematically impossible for a woman in her mid-fifties to be the 7th generation descended from people who immigrated in the 1850s unless each of their direct ancestors from every generation had had a child when they were still a child themselves. "

The article later states that the immigrants in question were Bachman's great-great-great-grandparents. Counting the immigrants as generation 1, Bachman would be the 6th generation. Counting the children of the immigrants as 1, Bachman would be the 5th generation. So something is not right--Bachman is either the great-great-great-granddaughter of the immigrants mentioned in the article or she is the 7th generation, but not both.

Despite the error in how many generations there are from Bachman, the claim is still very possible given Bachman's age. Bachman is only twelve years older than me--she was born in 1956. I have several great-great-great-grandparents who settled in Illinois in the 1850s and there were no successive generations of children begetting children either.

Here's one set of great-great-great-grandparents who came to Illinois in 1850:

1) Peter Bieger, born about 1825 in Germany-immigrated to Illinois in 1850
2) Franciska Bieger Trautvetter, born 1851 in Hancock County, Illinois
3) George Trautvetter, born 1869 in Hancock County, Illinois
4) Ida Trautvetter Neill, born 1910 in Hancock County, Illinois
5) My father, most certainly born well after my grandmother reached the age of majority
6) Yours truly, born in 1968, well after my mother reached the age of majority.

Several births in this lineage took place after the parent reached twenty-five years of age. I also descend from a set of great-great-great-great-great-grandparents who came to Illinois in the 1850s. That's EIGHT generations of children from them to me.

And the great-great-great-great-great-grandparents who came to Illinois in the 1850s:

1) Gerd Behrends, born in Germany in 1789, immigrated to Illinois in the 1850s
2) Ulfert Behrends, born in Germany in 1823, immigrated to Illinois in the 1850s
3) Trientje Behrends Sartorius, born Germany in 1843, immigrated to Illinois in the 1850s
4) Fredericka Sartorius Janssen, born in Adams County, Illinois in 1865
5) Tena Janssen Ufkes, born in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1895
6) John H. Ufkes, born in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1917
7) My mother, born well after my grandfather reached the age of majority
8) Yours truly, born in 1968, well after mother reached the age of majority

My mother would be the 7th generation from the 1850 era immigrants--their great-great-great-great-granddaughter. And no offense to my mother, but she was born a little before 1956.

I'll agree that it appears Bachmann has her geography off, but Rodda's genealogy math is off too.

02 April 2011

Images on Railway Map

This comes from a map on the Railroad Collection at the Library of Congress, Galbraith's railway mail service maps, published in Chicago in 1897 and drawn Frank H. Galbraith. I'm trying to figure out what each of the pictures is for the locations in Hancock County, Illinois. Most I have figured out, but there are a few I don't. Here are the ones I think I get:

  • Webster--Webster's dictionary (although that Webster had nothing to do with this Webster).

  • Burnside--the guy has sideburns

  • Plymouth--the Plymouth Rock rooster

  • Stillwell--a well

  • Warsaw--a saw

  • West Point--military cadets

  • Star--a star

  • Augusta--he's written "June July" above it

I don't get the woman's picture by St. Mary's--is it supposed to be "St. Mary?" The other one I don't get is the ball player near Adrian.

Law Summary From Map

One shouldn't get legal advice from a map, but this makes an excellent point that information can turn up in the most unexpected of places. This image comes from the "Rail road and county map of Illinois showing its internal improvements" published in 1854 in New York and digitized and available in the American Memory site at the Library of Congress website.

I did think it was interesting that the scroll of a pen could be used for the seal. The section on Wills mentions Beadle's American Lawyer, which I might want to see if Google Books has.

Starting out looking for a Civil War era map and have ideas on probate and court records--a person just never knows.

Going to Salt Lake's Family History Libray on Amtrak from Points East

This post is in answer to a question I had about the trip to Salt Lake.


This year the group is at the library from 18 May until 25 May. Instead of flying, I am taking Amtrak, leaving from Galesburg on May 16th and leaving for home early the morning of May 26th. The train does arrive in Salt Lake late, at 11 PM and leaves early in the morning, around 4 AM.

If you've ever wanted to go and take the train, but didn't want to go by yourself this would be a good opportunity to do so and not travel alone. It would also give time for last minute work on problems and organization and the scenery is wonderful.

There are more details on the trip at: http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2010/06/reserve-spot-in-my-2011-family-history.html Questions can be addressed to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com. Thanks.

01 April 2011

Married in 1834 and 1836

A search of the Ohio Marriages 1790-1950 on FamilySearch.com indicated two marriages between Jemima Rampley and Sanford Clark, both in Coshocton County. The dates are different and they are two years apart. The images appear to agree with the index dates as shown above, but I'll have to take a close look and see if there is anything unusual about either entry, comparing them to other entries on the same page.

It's possible there was a divorce or something else in between. Right now I'm not certain. We'll have images of the records to post later and research will progress from there.

Just do not always assume the index is wrong.

Ohio Marriages On Family Search

FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.com) has added some Ohio marriages to their index and image collection. I honestly haven't taken a look at what counties are included, but was happy to find this one from Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1830 for James and Elizabeth Chaney Rampley.