31 December 2011

Only 1 Genealogy Resolution for the New Year

Instead of making a long old list of genealogical goals for the new year, the completion of specific projects, how about simply resolving to write down the assumptions you have made about a person, family, time period, etc. before trying to work on any brick wall problem.

That might make the completion of your genealogy goals easier-regardless of what they are..

28 December 2011

A Professional Genealogist

I've been ignoring much of the conversation on the Association of Professional Genealogists' Mailing list lately. And I think it's going to stay that way.

I'm not even going to comment here on the discussion--blog readers most really likely don't care to read paragraph after paragraph on the topic. So I will keep it short.

I don't take research clients. I don't think that's a problem. And I don't think it makes me unprofessional.

I don't have a degree in history, sociology, political science, library science, etc. I don't think it's wrong that I have the "wrong" degree either.

There are quite a few people who subscribe to my free blogs and to Casefile Clues. Those people qualify as clients on some level. The numbers don't really matter. And while I don't have a degree as listed above, I did manage to stumble though college and complete an MS in mathematics 4.5 years out of high school. And I will say that I saw my fair share of "proof" and "proofs" in more math classes than I can easily recall. You didn't get through Real Analysis without the ability to clearly and completely organize your proof argument.

I'm going to stay out of the discussion about the future of the profession, professionalism, etc. I got stacks of actual work to do as a part of my genealogical "profession."

That probably makes a statement right there.

August 2012 Allen County Library Research Trip

We have released details of our August 2012 group research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, 1-5 August. Join us! Details are here http://www.casefileclues.com/acpl2012.htm

23 December 2011

January 2012 Genealogy Webinar Schedule Announced

Our series of January 2012 genealogy webinars have been announced:

  • Illinois Research
  • Using Archive.org
  • Newspaper Research
  • Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch.org
Sessions are an hour long and registrants who are unable to attend will receive complimentary download links. 
Details and registrations can be processed on our website at http://www.casefileclues.com/webinars_neill.htm. Registration is limited.

20 December 2011

1870 Census Search Fixed!

Regular readers know that I've been complaining about the advanced search based upon locations not working on Ancestry.com. I mentioned it a while back on my Genealogy Search Tip blog.

I received confirmation today that it is working--and tried it out myself by looking for people with the last name of Green in Linn County, Missouri. You can click here to take you directly to the search results

This is a big improvement and I'm glad this is now working--the ability to preform searches such as these significantly adds value to the Ancestry.com site. This is especially true for those of us who are looking for people in broader areas with unknown first names, in addition to other search needs.

A partial screen shot is shown below. Those who tried the search before it was fixed will remember that results were coming in from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Remember that sometimes when things aren't working, it is user error and sometimes it's not. Thanks to Ancestry.com for fixing the problem. 

We'll keep our eyes peeled for other search irregularities. It happens, but it is nice to know that when it does, some squeaking can get it fixed.

19 December 2011

Grandpa and Grandma Married 76 years

Notice of "Trautretter-Niell" Nuptials from the Mendon [Illinois] Dispatch
My grandparents (Cecil and Ida [Trautvetter] Neill) would have been married 76 years on 17 December 2011. The story was they eloped in Keithsburg, Illinois (the antithesis of a Gretna Green if ever there was one) and returned home to live with their parents until the spring when they would set up housekeeping in the spring of 1936.I'm not certain how long they lived near Stillwell as they also lived near Plymouth before moving to Carthage shortly before my father was born.

Grandma never told me why they went to Keithsburg to get married, only that Grandpa just got it in his head to go up there. That never made sense to me as from what I was told of my Grandpa Neill doing things on a whim wasn't quite his way. Grandma did tell me that they were chiavari'd by that night--but the newspaper only mentions a wedding  dinner.

Grandma told me that she and Grandpa split a bottle of pop and a Snickers bar to celebrate after the ceremony. Times were hard and they didn't have much money. To be honest I didn't even think Snickers bars existed in 1935, but Wikipedia indicates that they did.

It's hard to imagine Grandma as blond, but I'm certain she wasn't always gray-haired. They most likely took an old farm truck or car to Keithsburg. Driving from Loraine (where Grandma was living when she got married), to Keithsburg in 1935 in the middle of December must have been a fun trip.

What is "Reasonably Close?"

I've been thinking about what "reasonably close" means in terms of genealogical research. I have been working on a relative of my wife's in central Missouri: William Rhodus, born around 1830 in Kentucky. He has been located in 1870, 1880, and 1900 census records. I think I have him in the 1860 census as well and I think the match is "reasonably close." I used that phrase in Casefile Clues (William's mentioned in an upcoming issue), but I really am not certain exactly what that phrase means?

How many items about William Rhodus serve to distinguish him from other individuals, his name, his date of birth, his place of birth, his wife, etc.? And how many of those elements much match a potential candidate in order for the candidate to really be considered the William Rhodus and be "reasonably close."

Is it 3 out of 4 items? 5 out of 6 items? Over 75%? I'm not precisely certain and I'm not really certain that "reasonably close" can really  be defined. We'll be discussing more later as I think it is an important topic.

18 December 2011

Rev. O. R. Bouton Hitches a Couple in Macon County, Missouri

This post is more a series of "notes" to myself so that I don't lose these discoveries I made on this minister while using Google Books. Those who have never used the books at Google (http://books.google.com) are really missing out.

This minister married two of my wife's ancestors in Macon County, Missouri, in 1860. A little Googling for him brought several references, two of which are reproduced here. I also got his entire name after I Googled him, the license only listed his name as O. R. Bouton. It may look like nothing major, but there are some clues here that may explain a few things about the couple he married. Casefile Clues readers will get an additional update in an issue or two. These things were discovered while cleaning up footnotes for the present issue.


This clip comes from this book:

There is a mention of Boughton in a Boughton family history as well, which also mentions when he assumed the presidency of Macon College:

The complete Bouton history can be seen here: We'll have update after I draw some conclusions. I don't normally use blog posts as "scratchpads," but tonight it's the easiest place to put things before I get too distracted with them.

17 December 2011

Images are Sometimes Tied to the Wrong Database

There are not many individuals in Ancestry.com's database with the name of Jurgen Goldenstein. One of them is my uncle (brother to Tjode [Goldenstein] Habben, 1882-1954, my great-grandmother). The other one is likely a cousin.

A search of Ancestry.com indicated several hits in military records for Jurgen which was not surprising. One struck my attention because Jurgen was born in 1903/1904. The reference indicated Jurgen had a muster date of December 1913 in the Marines. I knew my uncle was in the Marines, but the muster year of 1913 would have to imply there was yet another Jurgen.

Alas, there was not. When I viewed the "original image" the heading still said 1913, but it was clear that the records that I was viewing were from later than that as events taking place in 1934, 1937, and 1938 are mentioned. It is not clear from the way Ancestry.com has linked the images, just what roll of microfilm this record is from. I'm guessing it really is for my uncle, but I'll have to do a little digging to make certain. This is the time frame when uncle Jurgen served, but I'll have to correlate everything to make certain this isn't another Jurgen. I really doubt that is the case. 

I've submitted the error report to Ancestry.com, but heaven only knows how long it will take for it to be fixed. Double check and even when Ancestry.com indicates the source of the image that can be incorrect.

Original Image?
Ancestry.com's results screen has a link for "View Original Image." I'm not certain that term is really correct, but that's a blog post for another day.

Save $3 on Pre-1850 Census Webinar Recording

I had great fun with the pre-1850 census presentation yesterday. Anything where numbers are analyzed is always good. Today if you use the coupon code "census" at checkout, you can get $3 off the download version of presentation and handout (Pre-1850 census presentation only). You can order here http://rootdig.blogspot.com/p/webinars.html Don't be intimidated by pre-1850 census records...

16 December 2011

What Type of Minister Is This In 1850

I know the "MEC" stands for Methodist Episcopal Church. I'm trying to decide what that letter in front of the word "Minister" is and what it stands for.
This is part of the 1850 census enumeration of John Rhodus in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. He may have a connection to a William Rhodus on whom I'm been working, but I'm curious about the occupation he has in 1850. The complete image is below.

My Death Benefit Location Comments are Being Shared

I've complained about how Ancestry.com's trees merge the last benefit from the SSDI into the person's death place when integrating the SSDI entry into an online tree at Ancestry.com. My original blog post is here--nothing has changed since it was posted.

I took the simple tact that it was accurate.

The "team" thought it would be helpful to have the death benefit location be put as the death location to "help" researchers.

My comments have been passed on to the folks who work on the development of the trees.

It would be helpful to have the information import accurately.

If I want someone to think for me, I'll start following politics.

Sarah and Susannah-Two 18th Century Virginia Women and Their Property

Sarah and Susannah-Two 18th Century Virginia Women and Their Property -(NEW!)-This presentation discusses the will of a 18th century Virginia woman and how another family "moved" a widow's life estate from one county to another. Priced at $8.50 for immediate download. Includes recording and PDF of handout. 

Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records-Recorded Webinar

Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records -(NEW!)-This presentation discusses how to analyze pre-1850 census records in order to determine the family structure that is suggested by those records. Enumerations for one household between 1810 and 1840 are analyzed in order to determine the number of children, ranges on their years of birth, and ranges on years of birth for the oldest male and oldest female in the household. Priced at $8.50 for immediate download. Includes recording and PDF of handout. 

15 December 2011

Pre-1850 Census and 18th Century Virginia Women Webinars

We have two webinars tomorrow-16 Dec-sign up for both today for only $10. Registrants after 6 AM tomorrow CST will get recorded version--not live.http://www.casefileclues.com/webinars_neill.htm

Topics-pre-1850 census and two 18th century Virginia women.

Bedspread Bear

This is a bear that was made about 7 or 8 years ago from a chenille bedspread that belonged to my Grandmother Ida (Trautvetter) Neill (1910-1994). I want to say that Grandma always had that spread on the bed in the west bedroom of her house, but I can't remember to be honest.

What I do know is that my mother saved the bedspread from a fate that often awaits bedspreads on farms in the Midwest: my dad has used it to cover a tractor in the shed.

14 December 2011

Ancestry.com's SSDI Won't Give Social Security Numbers of People Not Dead Ten Years

It's old news now, but this is posted on the search page of the Social Security Death Index at Ancestry.com:

"Why can’t I see the Social Security Number? If the Social Security Number is not visible on the record index it is because Ancestry.com does not provide this number in the Social Security Death Index for any person that has passed away within the past 10 years."

Others have commented, so I won't repeat that here, but I don't think really does one whit to stop identity theft.

Upcoming Events for December and Recorded Sessions

Here's a list of upcoming online events for December:

Death Benefit Location is Not Death Location

I'm in a discussion with Ancestry.com over the fact that the trees automatically import the last residence location from the Social Security Death index into the death place of the individual.

I was asked for my suggestion as to how should the death benefit location be handled. Seems pretty easy to me--the last residence location should be labeled as the last residence location because that is what it is.

It doesn't matter if the majority of times it is the same as the death location.

If I were to follow this logic, then for all those ancestors for whom I have an infant christening record, I should just use the location of the church as the place of birth.

I don't think so.  

13 December 2011

Recording of Using "Old Search" at Ancestry.com

We've uploaded our recorded webinar and PDF handout for "Using the Old Search at Ancestry.com" which was completed today. Your order can be processed here for only $2.25.We discuss toggling back and forth between new and old search and some of the features of the old search and reasons why I continue to use it.

The webinar doesn't show my face--instead you hear my voice and see the screen as I perform searches. Fortunately the computer and internet were working well for me today. Obviously to do the searches yourself, you'll need your own Ancestry.com account. We kept the price low on this one to make it affordable for those who've been confused about "old search."

Registered attendees for today's webinar who missed it can get the download at no charge--just email me.

Ancestry.com Not Displaying Some Social Security Numbers on SSDI

Ancestry.com (as of 10:53 AM CST today) is displaying some Social Security numbers in its death index, but not all.

I haven't played with it enough yet, but I'm guessing there is some sort of year cut off. I noted the following:

  • Dorothy Ufkes, died September 2008--no number
  • John Ufkes, died December 2003--no number
  • Grace Johnson, died June 2000--number shown
  • Ida Neill, died July 1994-number shown
  • Tena Ufkes, died November 1986--number shown
  • Cecil Neill, died December 1968--number shown
I'm guessing, based on my UNSCIENTIFIC sampling (these are my children's great and great-great-grandparents) that the "cutoff" is between June of 2000 and December 2003. 

I'd do more experimenting, but other duties call. 

But it appears that we are definitely seeing change in what information is being presented from the SSDI from the Ancestry.com family.

SSDI gone from Rootsweb....

They pulled the SSDI from Rootsweb, citing "sensitivities" of the nature of the data.

The SSDI is still free at FamilySearch.

The SSDI is still free at GenealogyBank.

Interesting turn of events. Too much work today for an opinion. But if banks and insurance companies aren't swift enough to make certain applicants are not DEAD, well.....

12 December 2011

Old Search Webinar on Ancestry.com

We've talked about the "old search" on Ancestry.com. That blog post shows you how to get it on your own Ancestry.com site (assuming you have a personal Ancestry.com account).

I like the old search and tomorrow (Tuesday 13, December-at 1:30 PM--PACIFIC) afternoon is free on my schedule, so I've decided to set up a demonstration of what the old search will do, how to use it and some neat aspects of it. There's a reason why some of us like it. And the price of $1.50 can't be beat (we do have to pay the webinar hosting service something--they don't let us do these things for free). We will go through examples of using the old search--demonstration is the best way.

You can register and reserve your seat here for only $1.50. Confirmations with website link will be sent Tuesday morning.

Join us...and learn how to use the old search before it is too late!

Register for All 8 Genealogy Fundamental Webinars in December

We are excited about our short, twenty minute Genealogy Fudamental webinars. Individual registrations are $1.99 each.

Register via this link to get all 8 fundamental webinars for $15. If there are ones you cannot attend, you'll get the handout and a link to download the recording. Grow your genealogical research skills this year!

Topics and dates are below. Visit our website to register for individual sessions separately.

18 Dec 2011
2:00 PM CST
Elements of a Deed  (Federal Land States--basically Northwest Territory and west)
Each part of two land records in a federal land state will be discussed (a warrantee deed and a quit claim deed), focusing on the purpose of each part, interpretation, and analysis. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
18 Dec 2011
4:00 PM CST
An Early 19th Century Will (from Maryland)
We will look at a will from Maryland in the early 1800s, discussing the interpretation of bequests, transcription, and terminology consideration. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
19 Dec 2011
6:00 PM CST
The 1930 Census
This presentation discusses how to interpret each item in the 1930 census, using 3 families as examples. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
19 Dec 2011
7:30 PM CST
The 1850 Census
This presentation discusses how to interpret each item in the 1850 census, using 3 families as examples Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
20 Dec 2011
6:00 PM CST
The 1880 Census
This presentation discusses how to interpret each item in the 1880 census, using 3 families as examples Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
20 Dec 2011
7:30 PM CST
An Early 20th Century Death Certificate
We will analyze each piece of information on this record, discuss which pieces are primary, secondary and most likely to be correct. Multiple documents will be discussed. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
21 Dec 2011
10:00 AM CST
Highlights of Union Civil War Pensions
We will look at items commonly in a Civil War pension file for a US veteran. Examples will come from typical files, not unusual ones. Learn what to typically expect in one of these files. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.
21 Dec 2011
Noon CST
What’s in a Federal Land Cash Sale File
Ever wonder what is in the cash sale land file? Is it worth ordering from the National Archives? We will look at three examples to give you an idea of what you can expect. Next research steps will be discussed along with citation models.

 Visit our website to register for individual sessions separately.
For anyone who is wondering, the purpose of this genealogical blog really is fairly clear: whatever crosses my research path that I feel worth mentioning, along with my opinion where I feel appropriate.

I'll only be mentioning websites, databases, etc. that I use in my own research. You won't see Hungarian, Russina, or Eastern European things mentioned here usually as my children have no ancestry from that region.

We'll mention things that I find irritating, enlightening, maddening, or interesting. That's a somewhat eclectic combination. My other blogs are pretty much opinion free--this one is not. Rootdig has no sponsors, although we do have some advertising. But, I'm not beholden' to anyone and you'll find no recycled press releases here either.

I don't jump on the latest bandwagon, am not always impressed with the latest gadgets, and don't get all goo-goo eyed over the latest bauble. I don't include "genealogy news," unless I think it impacts me or my research--there are other genealogy news websites.

And when I write something negative about something, I usually don't get emails--which either means no one who disagrees with me read it or thinks I generate enough traffic to worry about. Either way is fine with me!

Back to work.

What Ancestry.com Can Give Genealogists for Christmas--THE OLD SEARCH

I've decided what Ancestry.com can give genealogists for Christmas--keeping the "old search."

Readers of my Genealogy Search Tip of the Day blog know that "new" search on Ancestry.com does not search based upon location correctly for advanced searches. Ancestry.com admitted it does not work and several users confirmed my results--despite emails insisting that it did work.

I gave up and went back to the old search. The old search works. It does what it is supposed to. This is the screen for my search for people with the last name of Green living in Linn County, Missouri, using the old search.

Guess what I got? Results from Pennsylvania? Kentucky? NO!

I got results from Linn County, Missouri, and ONLY Linn County, Missouri. Only 45 results!

This was what I needed from my search and results that the "new" search (I won't use the word "improved" as a modifier because it's not appropriate). Getting the results I requested is necessary for my analysis. Interestingly enough, one of the names is "Aloony," which I hope is not someone's attempt to make a comment about me (grin!).

I was a little happy about getting the results I searched for.

If you like the "old" search--let Ancestry.com know loud and clear! Heck you can even email them a link to this post if you want. The address for this post is:http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-ancestrycom-can-give-genealogists.html

Genealogy Search Tip of the Day has a post on how to get to the old search. Feel free to share it with others.

Thanks to Linda M who reminded me that the old search works just fine. And my apologies to my high school English teacher for all the exclamation marks (she told me once that excessive use of them was immature--which I think it is). I rarely use them at all, but will in this post to accentuate the fact that I'm pleased the old search does what it is SUPPOSED to do.

11 December 2011

It's Not Working and There's No Books

Ancestry.com's exact advanced searches still do not work ( at least for 1870--just checked).

This blogger finds it ironic that FamilySearch's denial of book vendors for RootsTech raises a huge furor while there is little concern that the search interface at Ancestry.com is working incorrectly for some searches. RootsTech is FamilySearch's conference and (whether I agree with the decision or not), they can decide to run it how they see fit. Those that do not like it can choose not to attend.

However, Ancestry.com's exact advanced searches USED to work and now don't. To me, that's a more irritating problem because the search interface implies that certain search parameters can be set and the user can expect them to be matched. Book vendors I can find. Books I can order. Searches that don't work they way they are supposed to ARE a problem.

Just my two cents.

Genealogy Fundamental Webinars

Necessity is often the mother of invention.

Hosting our genealogy webinars is not free and requires a monthly account regardless of how many times it is used. The holidays are not good time to get extensive work done, especially work that requires extensive preparation.  Several years ago, I prepared a series of genealogy fundamental items, using course materials I developed years ago as a starting point.

We've decided to use these fundamental materials to create a series of short (20 minutes long) sessions on a variety of specific document types. We won't discuss how the items were located, rather on how the information they contain, what it means, how to interpret it, where to go next, and how to cite. That's enough and that's enough for these short sessions.

They are geared towards genealogists without a lot of experience or those who wish to return to some basic skill development.

More details, including topics, can be seen our our website. Our registration fee is only $1.99 per session.

Casefile Clues for the Holidays!

Give yourself or that genealogy friend the gift that lasts all year--Casefile Clues. It is the perfect gift for that hard to buy for genealogist.

If you are giving a friend a gift subscription, please indicate their name/email address in the comments/notations field when making your order--or simply email me that information at mjnrootdig@gmail.com after your order has been processed.

Thanks....and Happy Holidays!

10 December 2011

Genealogy Transcriber

I've gotten a couple of emails about the Daily Genealogy Transcriber, so I thought I'd mention it here as this blog is where I normally post opinions and other ilk of that genre.

My original purpose behind the Daily Genealogy Transcriber was to help genealogists see how indexers and transcribers may make "mistakes." It really was not intended to be a guide to complete, entirely accurate transcription. Most of us deal with misreadings, errors, and honest mistakes by indexers every day (and thanks to them for indexing things for us!). Because of that, seeing how things can be read incorrectly, I think is an advantage to any genealogist who uses digital indexes to records.

Because of that, I often do not post the entire image--sometimes I do, but not always. The idea is to see how things get read "cold." That can't always be done if one has the entire series of records.

If the document or record is on your family, should you use other entries to help interpret the entry? Yes. Should you use other documents and sources to help you in your interpretation? Yes.

But at Transcriber, we're trying to help genealogists see how "errors" get in digital indexes and those indexers often do not have other documents on the family to help them in their analysis.

You can look at today's entry here.

09 December 2011

Naturalization Records in US pre-1920 Webinar Recording

United States Naturalization (NEW!) Records pre-1920 - This presentation is an overview of naturalization records in the United States prior to 1920, focusing on locating and understanding the records. Women's citizenship and derivative citizenship are also included. The recorded webinar and handout can be ordered for immediate download for $8.50.

If you paid to attend and were unable, please email me for the complimentary download link.

Married to An Alien

From the Ancestry Daily News, 11/28/2001

Married to An Alien

A lady born in New York State is listed as an alien--why?!?

The problem centers around the history of women in regards to naturalization. I must admit the census entry confused me. The wife was a native of the state of New York State and was listed in the 1920 census as an unnaturalized alien. There is an "x" in the box for her year of immigration to the United States.

All other records clearly indicated the individual in question, Mary Verikios, had been born in New York State. While looking at other individuals on the same census page, I noted that a female neighbor born in Wisconsin was also listed as an alien with no date of naturalization or immigration. The commonality was that both ladies were married to men who were immigrant aliens. This connection warranted further study. It turned out that for these two ladies (and thousands of others), their choice of a husband impacted their citizenship.

The census entries for both women indicate they were probably married around 1910. I learned that under the law in effect at that time, both women would have lost their citizenship upon their marriage to an alien. To further compound the problem, courts during this era and for some time before frequently held that women derived their citizenship status from that of their husband. There were exceptions (single women filing homestead claims were sometimes naturalized whether they were a widow or had never been married).
The history of naturalization in the United States is somewhat complex. The complexity is aggravated for women by the fact that the laws regarding naturalization and females were ambiguous, especially before 1907. For a significant portion of American history, a woman's citizenship status was derived from the status of her husband. In many cases immigrant women were naturalized "by default" upon their marriage to a citizen or upon their foreign-born husband obtaining citizenship. This derivative type of citizenship is the reason there are few naturalization records for immigrant women for most of American history. For those who were "naturalized by marriage" there generally is no mention of them in any records before 27 September 1906, when Congress standardized the naturalization process and required names of spouse and children on naturalization paperwork. Also, until women received the right to vote, there was little reason for many to bother with the expense and procedure of naturalization. However, there are occasionally naturalization records for women in the 1880s, 1890s and later. Many of the children "naturalized by default" via their father's naturalization, but not listed specifically, later went through the naturalization process themselves.

To reduce confusion, here is a brief chronology relevant to the problem at hand:
The Basic Naturalization Act was passed on 27 September 1906, which standardized the naturalization process throughout the United States. Records after this date are more consistent than those before. No longer could just any court perform a naturalization.
On 2 March 1907 an act was passed wherein a wife's citizenship status was determined by the status of her husband. Here is where the confusion begins to get worse. For women who immigrated after this act (and before later changes were enacted), there was no real change from before (unless their husband was already a U.S. citizen). However, it was different for U.S.-born citizen females who married an alien after this date. These women would lose their citizenship status upon marriage to an alien. Many of these women would later become citizens again upon their husband's naturalization. Women who married men who were racially ineligible to naturalize lost their ability to revert back to their pre-marriage citizenship status.
On 22 September 1922, Congress passed the Married Women's Act, also known as the Cable Act. Now the citizenship status of a woman and a man were separate. This law gave each woman her own citizenship status. This act was partially drawn in response to issues regarding women's citizenship that occurred after women were given the right to vote. From this date, no marriage to an alien has taken citizenship from any U.S.-born woman. Females who had lost their citizenship status via marriage to an alien could initiate their own naturalization proceedings.
This act effected U.S. citizen women whose marriage to an alien between the acts of 1907 and 1922 had caused them to lose their citizenship status. These women, if the marriage to the alien had ended in death or divorce, could regain their citizenship by filing an application with the local naturalization court and taking an oath of allegiance. Those women still married to their husband were not covered under the act and these individuals would have to go through the complete naturalization process.
In 1940, Congress allowed all women who lost their citizenship status between 1907 and 1922 to repatriate by filling an application with the local naturalization court and taking an oath. The complete naturalization process was no longer necessary for any woman whose marriage between 1907 and 1922 caused her to lose her citizenship status.

How Does This Impace Marie?

Here's where it gets a little confusing.

Marie's husband, Peter Verikios, was naturalized in 1934. Marie and Peter divorced in 1940. Marie subsequently married another U.S. citizen a few years later. None of these events made a difference in Marie's status after she married Peter, for they all took place after the Cable Act of 1922, which separated a woman's citizenship status from that of her husband. Her marriage to Peter between 1907 and 1922 was the "problem" in regards to her citizenship status.

Where Should I Go?

It might be worth looking into possible records whereby Marie regained her citizenship status. Given the confusion that surrounded the citizenship status of women, there might be no record at all. In this case, since Marie's origins in New York State are somewhat foggy, accessing the records may shed some light on her life before she came to the Chicago area.

That one little "X" in the 1920 census really gave me a history lesson.

Smith, Marian L., "'Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married . . .' Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1840," National Archives and Records Administration Web Site: (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1998/summer/women-and-naturalization-1.html), originally published in 'Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration,' Summer 1998, vol. 30, no. 2

Szucs, Loretto D., They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records & Ethnic Origins, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ancestry, Inc., 1998. 

Every Little Detail

reprinted from the Ancestry Daily News 
  Michael John Neill - 6/15/2005

Every Little Detail
They say "the devil is in the details."While I'm never certain who this mysterious "they" is, one thing is for certain: The details can create headaches or opportunities, depending upon whether they are noticed and how they are interpreted.

Those Short Phrases

Three or four words "squeezed" in at the very bottom of a document may be the largest clue of all, even if the handwriting is microscopic. Mrs. Barbara Pickert marries in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1859. A slip of paper included in with the marriage indicates in tiny script at the very bottom of the page that Mrs. Pickert "has no lawful husband living."I almost ignored the reference. Barbara's first husband Peter Bieger (or Pickert) was known to have been dead by late 1855. It was initially thought that the reference was to him. The longer I thought the more odd it seemed that the phrase "no lawful husband living" was used when the shorter term of "widow" would have sufficed. Later research revealed that Barbara was apparently married for a short time in 1856 to a George Fennan who abandoned her--hence the phrase "no lawful husband living."

How Long Have I Known You?

There may be references in a record or document that have no bearing on the case, but that do have bearing on the family being researched. Court testimony from an 1877 court case indicated that Christian Williams had known my ancestor Mimke Habben for at least twenty years. Mimke immigrated to the United States in the 1860s. If I had not known where Mimke was from in Germany, my research should have concentrated on Christian. Since Christian had known my ancestor since at least 1857, they had known each other in Germany. Court testimony and military pension papers are great sources for finding references to individuals who have known your ancestor for a specified period of time.

What Does It Mean?

In a guardianship record from Kentucky in 1814, my ancestor is referred to as an infant. In 1815 she marries. Before anyone draws any inappropriate conclusions, it should be noted that the guardianship record is using the legal definition of infant. Consequently the 1814 reference to Melinda Sledd as an infant only indicates she is under the legal age of majority, not that she is a newborn. Viewed in this light her 1815 marriage to Augusta Newman is no longer viewed as suspect.

Are They Sharing Luggage?

When one of my ancestral families immigrated in 1853, the passenger manifest indicated that they and another couple were sharing a set of luggage. The clue was not obvious--just a bracket on the far right-hand side of the manifest indicating that three bags belonged to the families of George Trautvetter and George Mathis. I kept the Mathis family in mind as I researched and eventually discovered that George Mathis' wife was George Trautvetter's niece.

How Does One Notice These Clues?

Sometimes it can be difficult to pick up on subtle references or turns of a phrase. The way to avoid overlooking these clues is to make certain that:

  • You know the definitions of all words in the document.
  • You determine if any words have specific legal definitions different from the way the word is used outside the legal system.
There are additional things that can be done.

Obtain the Original Document

Transcriptions may occasionally leave out pertinent details. The Trautvetter and Mathis families located on the passenger lists were originally located in the series Germans to America. This finding aid, while a great help, did not include the notation that the two families were sharing luggage. Of course, this was a significant clue only discovered by viewing the actual manifest.

Type the Document

Transcribing a document, forces the transcriptionist (you) to look at every word more closely. It is easy to overlook clues when you are reading silently. I know of one genealogist who received a transcription of a document that had an error. She could not determine what the error was. When typing up the transcription as part of a report on the entire family, she realized how the likely error occurred and was able to make additional headway with her research. Reading the document over and over did not bring about the revelation.

Read the Document Out Loud

While this may not make you immediately popular with others in your household, it can make it easier to notice details based upon the way words could have sounded to your ancestor. Sometimes when we read something aloud or hear it read something "clicks" that did not click before.

Read the Document Backwards

Again this forces the reader to look at every word. While the document probably won't make too much sense this way, it may cause you to notice a word or phrase that you had previously overlooked. And that is the entire point.

Create a One-Page Summary of Your Problem

Those who go with me on my research trips are encouraged to submit a one-page problem for me to review. While the limitation to one page makes for less to read, it forces the genealogist to narrow their problem and determine what details are important. While there are situations where one page is not sufficient, the hope here is to make the person look at all the details and decide which details are crucial to the problem.
The mark, the twist of phrase, the scribbled reference at the bottom of the page--it may be meaningless, but maybe not. But if you never notice it and analyze it, you will never know!

08 December 2011

John Ehmen's Headstone in Camp Point, Illinois

I'm going to have to research John Ehmen a little more.

This is the Application for a Headstone for him that appears in a database recently released on the FamilySearch website.

This application is really interesting in that it provides his date and place of birth in the upper left hand corner and provides his death date and location as well. Of course, all that information is secondary, as is the fact that he was in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Why he was in Galesburg is a mystery at this point. I'll have to add that to the list. I'm thinking that this individual may be good fodder for an upcoming Casefile Clues article.

United States. Quartermaster General. Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Record Group 92, NARA publication M1916. United States. Federal Archives and Records Center. Washington D.C.

Released from the Chain Gang

I am usually on the lookout for signatures for Daily Genealogy Transcriber.

This is part of a World War II draft card from a databaseof cards for "young men" that was recently released on Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com refers to it as the U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1898-1929 database.

Part of the card I was going to use is shown here--apparently this person had just been released from the County Chain Gang.

It just goes to show that you never know what you will find. I decided not to post the whole name or the whole card--just in case the person was still alive. He was born in 1921 and a quick search of the SSDI failed to locate him.

07 December 2011

New, But HOW?

Can someone tell me "how" the 1880 United States Federal Census on Ancestry.com is "new?" The database and the images have been on the site for years. Is it "new" enough that I should try again for people I cannot locate? Is it newer or better images (the ones before were pretty good)? Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Ancestry.com, but this "new" stuff with NO explanation of "how" it is new is highly irritating.

I went to the blog for Ancestry.com and got no information there either. A sentimental post about Pearl Harbor (which was nice), but nothing about the 1880 United States Census being "new" or modified.

Who Are These People--Probably Near Basco, Hancock County, Illinois

[reposted 8 Feb 2010]

I only know the identity of one of the people in this photo.  It's not her parents. 

The young lady on the far right is Tena/Trientje Janssen Ufkes (1895-1986).

Tena was born in Bear Creek Township in February of 1895 and died in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1986.

I do not know who the others are in the picture. This photograph was one that my grandparents had. Tena's son John H. Ufkes (1917-2003), was my grandfather.

Any suggestions as to who the others are would be greatly appreciated.

06 December 2011

December Webinars-4 for $25

We have four webinars upcoming in December before we break for the holidays:

  • DeedMapper
  • Pre-1920 Naturalization Records
  • Analyzing pre-1850 American Census Records
  • Sarah and Susannah: Two 18thCentury Virginia Women and their property

If you'd like to sign up for all of them, you can do so at the total price of $25 (save $7--that's lucky!) by using this link on this page. The $25 for all four rate is NOT on the main webinar page. If you can't attend, have connectivity issues, or other problems, you can get the downloadable version of the webinar after it has been recorded and processed.

Signed up for an earlier one, but missed it? Email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com and we'll send you the download link at no charge. 

Palatines Indianapolis Genealogy Conference June 2012

I will be one of two featured speakers at the annual National Societies of Palatines to America conference in Indianapolis from 14-16 June 2012. I'm looking forward to making my presentations there and hope blog readers will join me if they live in the area and have an interest. You don't have to be a society member to attend the conference.

My topics are:

  • Crossing the Pond
  • Online Search Techniques
  • Germanic Research with Ancestry.com
  • German Genealogy Websites
  • Creating Your Own Blog
  • What's New for German Researchers on FamilySearch
  • Determining Your Own Migration Chain
Warren Bittner will also be presenting additional German topics. 

Mark your calendar now. I'm looking forward to meeting attendees and blog readers as well. 

Update on Non-Working Advanced Searches At Ancestry.com

I just tried it again and there is no change in the way advanced searches are not working at Ancestry.com as discussed earlier on my Search Tip of the Day blog.

I did receive an answer from Ancestry.com--one of their executives. The response was pleasant and indicated they were working on the problem, but my comments about beta testing, things being put out too quickly, the need for a little better testing, were not even mentioned, which makes me think that the process will not change.

I'll keep checking to see if the search has been fixed, but I am no longer holding my breath that it will be anything relatively quick.

Personally I still think there's too big of a rush to put out new things and not enough concentration on the "old-timers."

And I'm starting to think my complaints actually fell on deaf ears and that Rootdig.com doesn't generate enough traffic for Ancestry.com to even worry about.

Oh well. I'll still be researching my genealogy in thirty years. The executives at Ancestry.com will have moved onto other things long before that.

And that's the problem.

05 December 2011

Reposting Philip Troutfetter's Arrest

Troutfetter is Bagged in Boston

[reposted from 2008]

You have to love headlines.

This one comes from a 1902 Colorado's Gazette-Telegraph, which was located on GenealogyBank. Philip Troutfetter was said to have been involved in the Cuban postal frauds, but it appears that he only associated with one of the men involved and was not actually involved himself.

Source: Date: 1902-04-11;
Paper: Gazette-Telegraph

A second clipping from the Springfield Republican also mentions Troutfetter. We've blogged about Philip before, but occasionally run across a new clipping that mentions some snippet of his life I've not discovered elsewhere. He was never convicted and died at his parents' home in rural Kansas in the early 1900s.

The second clipping is from:

Date: 1900-07-26; 

Paper: Springfield [Mass] Republican

The original clippings appear on GenealogyBank.

104 Issues of Casefile Clues for $25

We are wrapping up our second year of Casefile Clues issues--104 issues of genealogical information, advice, methodology, and "how-to" information. Casefile Clues accepts no advertising, is not trying to sell you anything and concentrates on excellence in writing and research. Normally a year of Casefile Clues is $17, but we're offering our first two years of issues as a set of $25 total. Each issue averages 8 pages.

Purchase all year 1 and year 2 issues for $25. Issues delivered via email as PDF files.

Year 1 Issue Topics

Reposting as I messed up all the navigation on the blog:

Here are Year 1 issue titles (in reverse order)

  • 52--Benjamin Butler in 1880 and 1870--correlating an 1880 and 1870 census enumeration when the head of household has a different first name
  • 51--Clarifying Clara--a widow's War of 1812 Bounty Land application
  • 50--Special Examiner's Report--Discussion of testimony taken by a Special Examiner in a Union Civil War Pension File
  • 49--Levi Rhodes' War of 1812 Pension--A discussion and and an analysis of a War of 1812 pension issued in 1871.
  • 48--Determining Your Own Chain of Migration--Ways to determine the unique migration chain that your ancestor took
  • 47--Finding the Ellen--Finding someone in an 1870 census when she's a child and I don't have the names of the parents. Discusses proximity searches, eliminating false matches, etc.
  • 46--Ira Located--the correct marriage record for Ira Sargent was located. This issue includes the image and a complete transcription, an analysis, additional searches that were conducted, and where to go next.
  • 45--Organizing My Search for Ira--discusses brainstorming to locate the parents of Ira Sargent, how and why records were prioritized, and how records would be searched.
  • 44--Philip Troutfetter in the Special Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society--fraud, postal investigations, and abandoned wives--all from one relative.
  • 43--Unacquiring Property--ways your ancestor might have "disposed" of his real estate.
  • 42--Multiple Johns--two brothers with the exact same name--apparently.
  • 41--Brick Walls from A to Z--the title says it all--ideas for breaking those brick walls
  • 40--Finding John--analysis, including charts and maps, in an attempt to find a missing 1870 census enumeration.
  • 39--Multiple Marias--Analyzing more than one 1893 obituary for a Swiss immigrant in Iowa.
  • 38--From their Mouth to Your Screen. Discusses all the "filters" information passes through.
  • 37--Pullman Car Company Employment Records. Discusses several employment records from the Pullman Car Company in Chicago. Discusses William Apgar, Thomas Frame, Louis DeMar.
  • 36--Where are they in 1840? Analyzes an individual who is "missing" from an 1840 census. Includes a discussion of how he was "found" and how land records actually solved the problem. Discusses Abraham Wickiser.
  • 35--A 1910 Birth. Analyzes primary and secondary sources for a date and place of birth in 1910 and how differences might not be all that different. Discusses Ida Trautvetter.
  • 34--Ready to Go? Discusses some things to contemplate regarding your genealogy material before you die.
  • 33--Where there is a Will there is Confusion. Analyzes an early 19th century will from Maryland and what the different bequests likely mean and what potentially brought them about. Also discusses different ways some things can be interpreted. Discusses John DeMoss.
  • 32--When There is No Probate. Some things to think about when there is no probate file.
  • 31--Analyzing the Mortgage. Discusses an 1870 era mortgage in Illinois. Discusses John Ufkes and Rolf Habben.
  • 30--Behind the Scenes Chaos. Discusses the importance of thinking about what "caused" a record to be recorded.
  • 29--Un-American Activity. Discusses an invesigation by the fore-runner of the FBI into a German-American family in World War I. Discusses the Fecht family.
  • 28--Do You Ear What I Ear? Discusses things to remember about how things are heard.
  • 27--Analyzing Andrew Trask. Discusses work on an Mass. native (born ca. 1814) who lived in St. Louis, southern-Illinois, and western Illinois where he died in the 1880s. Focuses on analyzing and working on later records to discern patterns, etc. Discusses Andrew Trask.
  • 26--Using Google Books.
  • 25--Finding Valentine. Steps in locating a man whose only real mention is in an 1870 era estate settlement. Discusses how I organized my search for him.
  • 24--The Brick Wall is in Your Head. Talks about ways you may have made your own genealogical brick wall.
  • 23--You Ask and I Wonder. Things that pop in my head when a person asks a certain genealogical question.
  • 22--Crossing the Pond.
  • 21--One Clipping Leads to More.
  • 20--Organizing 1870 Census Search--thoughts on organizing online census searches.
  • 19--Public Sale--Analyzing an old sale bill.
  • 18--Analyzing the Biography--Charting and Organizing what You Know Using a Biography
  • 17--Working with the Professional. Getting started with the professional genealogist who is performing Chicago area work for me.
  • 16--A Lot from Barbara's Lot. Clues from a series of records on a small lot in a town in rural Illinois betwen 1856 and 1905.
  • 15--Finding Gesche's Girls. Tracking down an "evaporating" German native who "condensed" somewhere in the United States.
  • 14--Jumpstarting Your Research. Just some ideas to get you started.
  • 13--Brick Walls and the Census Taker
  • 12--The Heirs Complete the Homestead
  • 11--Is the Wrong Name Correct?
  • 10--Connecting the Iras. Working to determine if two men of the same name are the same man.
  • 09--Pre-1850 Census Analysis. Analzing pre-1850 census records for a family to determine the household structure. Discusses Thomas and Sarah Sledd.
  • 08--Platting Out Thomas Sledd's Heirs. Platting out the estate division of the Thomas Sledd estate in Kentucky in the 1830s. Discusses Thomas Sledd family.
  • 07--Looking for Ira's Lucretia. Working on my "brick wall" Ira through his sister Lucretia. mid-to-late nineteenth century work.
  • 06--The Civil War Pension file of Riley Rampley. An overview of a Union Civil War pension record.
  • 05--Finding a Chicago Christening. How a 1913 era Chicago christening record was found. Discusses Anna Apgar.
  • 04--Multiple Parents
  • 03--Preemption Claim. The Missouri pre-emption land claim of John Lake. Discusses John Lake.
  • 02--Passport Records. Discusses an early twentieth century passport application. Discusses Robert Frame.
  • 01--Lessons from an Estate Record. Analyzes an 1870 era Illinois set of estate records.

Year 2 Issues Of Casefile Clues

Topics from the first 51 issues of year 2 are shown below (order them here):
  • Volume 2-Number 1--Problem-Solving--a variety of techniques for breaking through those brick walls.
  • Volume 2-Number 2--A 1907 Committal--An insanity record.
  • Volume 2-Number 3--A 1921 Divorce--looking at a 1921 era divorce from Chicago
  • Volume 2-Number 4--Leaving John's Hands: Documenting Post-Death Land Transfers
  • Volume 2-Number 5--The Acquisition of John Michael Trautvetter's 228 Acres
  • Volume 2-Number 6--The Original Versus the Record Copy
  • Volume 2-Number 7--Multiple Marriage Mayhem:
    Starting the Search for Emma (Sargent) Pollard Ross Oades Pollard Snavly Olenbaugh
  • Volume 2-Number 8--A Handful of Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Volume 2-Number 9--Two-Thirds of an Acre from Uncle John: A Partition Suit Proves a Sibling Relationship
  • Volume 2-Number 10--A Minimal Estate Gives Some Direction: The 1886-1888 Probate of Benjamin Butler
  • Volume 2-Number 11--Signing What We Could Not Read--immigrants unable to read English sign a 1870 era document that is incorrect and a lawsuit results.
  • Volume 2-Number 12--Dad Raised my Daughter--A newspaper account of a court case in the 1880s discusses an early 1870 out-of-wedlock birth.
  • Volume 2-Number 13--Using the 1860 Census to Formulate a Passenger List Search Strategy
  • Volume 2-Number 14--Search Strategy for Benjmamin Butler in pre-1870 Census Records--this looks at ways to find the missing 1850 and 1860 census enumerations for man who "appears" in Iowa in 1870.
  • Volume 2-Number 15--Pre-1850 Census--analyzing 1810-1840 census entries for Thomas Chaney in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
  • Volume 2-Number 16--Names in the Probate--analyzing various names in a probate settlement from 1903. Nicknames and diminutives were part of the problem.
  • Volume 2-Number 17--Bridging a Twenty-Year Census Gap-1870 to 1860. Showing that an 1870 Iowa, 1880 Missouri, and an 1850 Michigan enumeration are for the same man.
  • Volume 2-Number 18--Four Passports and a Foreign Death: George Washington Drollette. Analyzes four early 20th century passports and a US State Department death report from 1933.
  • Volume 2-Number 19--Diplomatic Employment Applications. Analyzes and summaries letters of support for employment with the US State Department between 1901-1906.
  • Volume 2-Number 20--Just One Wife Who Shaves Her Age. Records hinted that a man might have had more than one wife. Despite age discrepancies and first name variations, we've likely proven that there was just one wife.
  • Volume 2-Number 21--1930 Census: Primary, Secondary, Original, Derivative, Direct and Indirect. You'll never look at a census entry the same way again-also shows how in this case, New York became Kentucky
  • Volume 2-Number 22--Finding the Biegers in 1850. Organizing our search and our negative search results in an attempt to find a German immigrant living in Cincinnati in 1850.
  • Volume 2-Number 23--Separating Two George Butlers--working on two men born in Michigan in the same year with a father of the same name.
  • Volume 2-Number 24-A Minor Naturalization
  • Volume 2-Number 25-Genealogical Potpourri
  • Volume 2-Number 26-Looking for Benjamin-Formulating a Census Search
  • Volume 2-Number 27-An 1849 Cash Land Sale
  • Volume 2-Number 28-From 1820-1870 Analyzing Enoch Tinsley's Census Entries
  • Volume 2-Number 29-Middle Name Issues: Finding Henry J. Fecht in 1870 and Passenger Lists
  • Volume 2-Number 30-The Master Reports--An Assignment of Homestead and Dower in the 1890s
  • Volume 2-Number 31-The Parents Sell 10 Acres-an 1880 era land transaction
  • Volume 2-Number 32-Clues from a Pig Murder--an 1820 era Kentucky Court Case
  • Volume 2-Number 33-Civil War Pension Application-Why My Name's Different
  • Volume 2-Number 34-Staying Focused on Divorces and a German Immigrant
  • Volume 2-Number 35-Strategies for a 1820 New York Birth
  • Volume 2-Number 36-First Appearing in an 1847 Marriage
  • Volume 2-Number 37-The Chattel Property Will from Maryland
  • Volume 2-Number 38-Emmar Osenbaugh Civil War Pension-Proving 6 Husbands(1st Part)
  • Volume 2-Number 39-1870-1880 Era Guardianship Proves All the Children
  • Volume 2-Number 40-Moving Mother-Transferring a Life Estate in 1769
  • Volume 2-Number 41-War of 1812 Bounty Land Application and Surrendered Warrant
  • Volume 2-Number 42--An 1875 Poor Farm Admission for the Smith Family
  • Volume 2-Number 43-An 1811 Tennessee Will
  • Volume 2-Number 44-More Problem-Solving
  • Volume 2-Number 45-Emmar Osenbaugh's Civil War Pension Part II
  • Volume 2-Number 46-Comments on 1856 Missouri Revised Statutes
  • Volume 2-Number 47-A Will Denied--and Why
  • Volume 2-Number 48-Blank Children and Three Completers on a Birth Record
  • Volume 2-Number 49-Petitioning to Administrate an Intestate Probate in 1869
  • Volume 2-Number 50-Fighting the Will of Trientje Sartorius
  • Volume 2-Number 51-With Little to Probate: The Estate of Wesley Jones
  • Volume 2-Number 52-Iam What I Am: An 1860 Census Enumeration