31 January 2013

New on FamilySearch as of 31 January 2013

New on FamilySearch as of 31 January 2013:

A Rood is Not A Rod With an Extra "o"

Measurements can get genealogists into trouble.

A rood is a old English unit of area measure--equal to 1/4 of an acre.

A rod is a unit of linear measure--equal to 16 1/2 feet.

Occasionally, one will see the word "rod" used where "rood" is intended. Rod is linear measure (length) and rood is area measure.

Quarters are Nicer than Thirtysixths

[note: as of 11:50 AM CST 31 January 2013--Ancestry.com is aware of the editorial mistake a correction is in the work queue.]

This is part of the description for the Wisconsin, Homestead and Cash Entry Patents, Pre-1908 which appears on Ancestry.com. The quote comes from a discussion of property descriptions in Wisconsin.

 The section is the one-mile-square portion (approximately 640 acres) of a township. That was also generally divided into 36 equal squares (each of which might be divided another 36 times)


In Federal land states, theoretical townships (Congressional Townships) are squares 6 miles on a side and usually broken up into 36 sections, each one mile on a side. Sections are theoretically 640 acres. Sections are typically broken up into quartersections--1/4 mile on a side and theoretically containing 160 acres of property. Of course today, property can be virtually any shape or size depending upon how it has been bought, sold, and inherited over time.

This map shows a section broken up into the four quarter sections--labeled NW, SW, and SE. The NE quarter is shown in this image as being broken up into four more quarters.

During settlement, it was common for tracts to be broken up into quarters once (resulting in quarter sections containing 160 acres) or twice (resulting in parcels of 40 acres).

I'm not certain where they got the "divided another 36 times" statement. Quarters and quarters of quarters are easier to mark off given the dimensions of a section--80 chains (the "Ch. in the image) on a side. A section is also 320 rod on a side if that unit of measure is used. Those numbers are easily divisible by 2, 4, 8, and 16--all numbers resulting from halving property various ways and numbers of times. Dividing a section into 36 equally sized pieces may have been done in some cases, but that number of pieces was usually reserved for a township of 36 square miles, not a section of 1 square mile.

I'm hoping the Ancestry.com description above is simply the result of an editorial error or oversight. But the mathematician in me and the farm kid in me (I knew what a plat book was by time I was in junior high) just could not resist a post on this subject.

30 January 2013

Google Books Doesn't Link Right to World Cat

Readers and a few private comments indicated that the Locomotive Engineers Journal from 1950 that I was trying to locate was on WorldCat, just that Google didn't link to it correctly.

The Locomotive Engineer Journal is on WorldCat. There are several libraries that have it, including one in the town where I work. Before I actually make a trip, I am waiting for a response to an email to make certain the library has the specific year I need (1950). The library's catalog entry for the publication made me wonder if they actually had a run that covered the time period in question.

Always confirm that a library has the material before making a trip. In my case, it's a short trip, but a trip nonetheless.

And if the "automatic" links to WorldCat fail to locate the item of interest, manually search on WorldCat. I was a little too quick on the draw this time.

New Continental Europe Material At FamilySearch

New for Continental Europe at FamilySearch since our last update:

World Cat Can't Find What Google Books Did

This screen shot is from a search of Google Books for "james mundy peoria." This was an attempt to locate material on my uncle who lived in Peoria, Illinois, from approximately 1900 until his death in the early 1950s.

I have census and other information on James--what I'm after is a copy of the reference shown in the search of Google Books as shown above. Only a snippet of the item can be seen as it's not out of copyright as it was published in 1950.

Clicking on the link to find the the item "in a libary" did not work either. We're working on locating a copy of the reference and will have a blog post as soon as I've been able to locate an actual copy of the material.

Liddle Dies in 1911--Getting A Date

Date: Sunday, September 3, 1911  

Paper: Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA)  --obtained 

on Genealogybank
It has been a while since we have mentioned the Liddles. This death notice for William B. Liddle was located in a Philadelphia newspaper from 1911. I was hoping to obtain more information on William than this death notice provides, but at least I have an approximate date of death--August of 1911. That will allow me to search unindexed records that are organized by date. I'm trying to locate places of birth for William B. Liddle and his father.

Charles B. Liddle was the father of Charles A. Liddle, a railroad company executive in Chicago in the early 20th century. In a roundabout way, I'm hoping that there is a connection between this Liddle family and the actual family I'm working on.

New on FamilySearch 30 January 2013

New on FamilySearch 30 January 2013:

29 January 2013

Webinar on Using Bureau of Land Management Tract Books

I've been writing recently about the BLM Tract Books that have recently been made available online at FamilySearch.

These wonderful books are not indexed by name, but it is possible to make use of them. If you'd like to see how to locate materials in these items yourself, consider joining me on 31 January for this webinar.

31 January 2013
2:30 CST
Using BLM Tract Books atFamilySearch
We will discuss how to use the BLM tract books at FamilySearchusing several patents obtained from the BLM site. Search strategies and records interpretation are a key part of this presentation.

Get it Down to the Ground While You Can

I'm a big believer in printing and saving digital images to your own digital media, computer, or other storage device the moment that image appears on your screen.

You may not be able to navigate your way back to the image--even the best researchers are occasionally unable to "get back" to where they were or remember how they found something. It's even more difficult when we are researching at 3 in the morning on our fifteenth (or twentieth) cup of coffee.

Sometimes free access goes away. Images of some Chicago, Illinois, area records that were on FamilySearch are no longer on FamilySearch. This blog post on ChicagoGenealogy.com. The images may come back for free or they may now. Who knows?

In the real world, clouds go away.

There's always the chance that data you relied on "always being free in the cloud" will no longer be freely available to you.

Don't rely on what's in the cloud always being there. Get it down to the ground on your own media while you can.

Updates to FamilySearch 29 January 2013

The following are noted as being updated databases on FamilySearch as of 29 January 2013:

28 January 2013

The Neighbor's Incomplete Claim

I've been using the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books that have recently been made available in digital form on the FamilySearch website. Those who completed the homestead process and actually obtained land are somewhat easier to locate records on because there will be local land records in the county in which the land was located.

The individual who completed the homestead process received a patent (first deed) for the land that would have been recorded in the county land records office. There also may be a deed where the homestead sold the land or where it was transferred to his heirs. There may also be real property tax records providing more information about the land or it may be mentioned in probate or estate settlement records.

That's not the case with homestead claims that were cancelled or were not successfully completed by the homesteader. There will be no local land records because the person who did not complete the claim did not get the land.

But there will be records of that cancelled claim.

The image in this post is part of the Bureau of Land Management Tract Book for township 14-11 in Dawson County, Nebraska. The entries are for various parts of section 25. The legal descriptions have been clipped from the image--as have details about whether the claim was finally patented or cancelled .The two claimant names that I have underlined in red were never completed.

And yet they are of interest to me. I'm not certain who the two women are, but I have a good hunch.

These records are not indexed by name. You have to know where the property is located.

I found these two women while looking for my great-great-grandfather Focke Goldenstein who also homesteaded in this same township. Two of Goldenstein's cousins (Willm and Jurgen Ehmen) also initiated claims in the same township. Goldenstein and the Ehmens had an aunt whose husband's last name was Albers.

When the records arrive from my contact at the National Archives, we will have an update.

There are not as many records in an incomplete claim, but there may be some materials in the cancelled claim that will help me to determine who these two woman are.

25 January 2013

My Cousin Knows the Scoop

Apparently Focke J. Goldenstein did not know that his cousin was not supposed to provide testimony in his 1880 era homestead application. Apparently the government wanted an explanation. When you are applying for free government land, you usually find ways to comply with their requirements.

Focke's workaround was to make out an affidavit as to why William Ehmen provided testimony in his pension claim.

"...Deponent further stays that William Ehmen is a cousin his and that he did not know that the relationship would make any difference or he would have brot[sic] one of the others named but that William Ehmen Knew more about his improvements then any one Else and when he found out it made a difference he Could not get one of the others..."

One never knows what tidbits may appear in a homestead appliation-especially to clear up any irregularities with the documentation. I already knew that Ehmen was Goldenstein's first cousin (their fathers were brothers), but if I had not this statement would have been even more helpful.

This homestead claim is for Focke J. Goldenstein who settled in Dawson County, Nebraska.  A more complete reference is provided in the image below.

The Nebraska Homestead Records are currently being made available on Fold3.com. Please note that as of this writing, the digitization is  not complete and abandoned claims are not included.

I have several family memers who homesteaded in Dawson County, Nebraska, during the 1870-1890 time period. Goldenstein and his wife Anna homesteaded in Dawson County in the 1880s and my great-grandmother Tjode (Goldenstein) Habben was born there in 1882.

The Weekly Northwestern Miller

Obituaries are not limited to newspapers--this wonderful item on Lewis Demoss was obtained in The Northwestern Weekly Miller of 1 March 1889 (Volume 27, Number 9, page 261). The Northwestern Weekly Miller was published weekly in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was obtained digitally today on Google Books.

The notice contains a wonderful portrait of Lewis, along with a short obituary. No date of birth is given, but the notice does allow the reader to estimate his arrival in Ohio and does provide his year of marriage. Of course, the actual source of the information is now known, so the researcher should validate it as much as possible with information from other sources.

There may be additional materials on Demoss in Masonic records and it may be that local newspapers have obituaries containing even more details.

The notice indicates that Demoss was survived by several daughters. While the failure to list them may frustrate the researcher, it should be remembered that this was a publication geared towards those in the milling industry, not locals who might have been interested in knowing about Demoss' family.

Trade publications are an excellent source of information which are becoming more accessible via Google Books.

Demoss is a first cousin of James Rampley (1803-1884), my 3rd great-grandfather.

24 January 2013

Those Kiles on the Hill are Killing Me

It's not often you get "in-your-face" proof of alternate spellings, but this Bureau of Land Management Tract Book from Chillicothe's Military Lands (Volume 1-entry 6818) for James Kile indicates that he was also referred to as James Hill and James Kill. James made his initial purchase payment in 1818.

It's easy to see, given the handwriting of the time, how those alternate interpretations of the name might have happened.

And that gives me more alternate spellings to use in my searches. Kyle was one I always used, but I need to keep these in mind, especially during this time period of the early 19th century.

We Love Our Sanders' Patent Wheat Separator

"Love" may be too strong of a word, but it makes the point.

Newspapers have been running ads disguised as letters for a quite some time. This one from 1850 provides clues about a DeMoss relative from Ohio.

Date: Friday, November 22, 1850  

Paper: Daily Ohio Statesman (Columbus, OH) --obtained on 

It is not often that newspapers from the mid-19th century provide occupational clues for our ancestors.

A relative appears in an ad in a Columbus, Ohio, newspaper for wheat separators. The newspaper is not the first place I would look for information about an ancestor's occupation, but it goes to show that one never knows. The census is one of the few records during this time period that provides occupational information on rural residents and we will see what the 1850 and 1860 census has to say about Louis.

1850 Census

The 1850 United States Census enumeration indicates that Louis Demoss is a laborer. There are no other individuals with a name "close" to Lewis Demoss in Coshocton County. Roscoe (the location of the mill referenced in the newspaper clipping) is in Jackson Township. It looks like this is the Lewis referenced in the newspaper item.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Jackson, Coshocton, Ohio; Roll: M432_670;

 1860 Census

The 1860 United States Census enumeration indicates that Louis Demoss is a miller and still living in Jackson Township. He has aged the appropriate number of years from the 1850 enumeration and it seems reasonable that we have located the same person. The name of the wife is different; however, the daughter Lenora is still in the household and Emaline Demoss (a neighbor in 1850) is now listed with Louis.
Year: 1860; Census Place: Jackson, Coshocton, Ohio; Roll: M653_950

Was he really a laborer in 1850?

The 1850 census for Louis was taken on 7 August 1860 and the census date was actually 1 June 1850. It is possible that Louis did not work for the mill on either of those dates but was working for the mill on the date the newspaper was published?

No--that's not quite it either. The "letter" in the paper (actually an advertisement for the separator) was dated  8 April 1850. That is before the date of the census--regardless of which census date is used.

I am inclined to believe that the listing as a "laborer" is not incorrect in the 1850 census. "Laborer" covers a variety of things and his wife could have simply told the census taker that he "worked at the mill." Heaven only knows how some census takers interpreted phrases such as that.

What is clear is that I've got the same person--regardless of how "accurate" the occupation is in 1850.

Newspapers, such as those  Genealogybank.com  may provide a variety of clues.

An 1817 Ohio Purchase

There is something gratifying about finding your ancestor's name in a record, particularly one that is not indexed.

This image is part of the entry for Thomas J. Rampley from the Bureau of Land Management Tract books for Ohio. And while these books are not indexed by name, there is organization. It is just that the organization is by location and not by name. I knew that Thomas made an initial payment for property in Section 5 of township 5-7 in Coshocton County, Ohio. The location was the information that allowed me to locate this reference. The tract books cannot easily be searched by name only.

Bureau of Land Management Tract Books , Ohio, Volume 7, Zanesville (Military district), page 1888[sic]; digital image, FamilySearch.com

This reference styles Thomas as "of Coshocton County, Ohio" on 15 November 1817. This is the earliest document I have that provides evidence of his residence in Ohio. 

The image shown here is just part of the image--there is a right hand page as well which contains more payment information. And there's another man who made his initial payment for property in the same section on the same date. 

From other sources, I already knew the other man was an associate of my ancestor and knew him back in Harford County, Maryland, where Thomas was from. I will look at the names of other men purchasing property in the same section. A map of the township would also be helpful and (in this case) the township to the north should be a part of my search as well because section 5 is along the northern line of the township.

A Will With No Gender

First: I know who this person is--their real name and their gender. The intent of this little problem is to see if there are any clues in this document that indicate the gender of the writer.  I realize that census and other records should be used to determine the identity of this person if this were an actual research problem. I do not need help on actually determining who this person is.

But, for the purposes of this exercise, only use the information contained in the typed transcript of this will from Payne County, Oklahoma, Will Book Volume 2, pp 183-185 (obtained digitally on FamilySearch 24 January 2013) and see if you notice any clues as to whether "E" is a woman or a man. 

Is "E" a man or a woman?

23 January 2013

Genealogy Computing Week-March 2013

Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois, is pleased to announce a return to “Genealogy Computing Week.”

All classes are offered on our Galesburg, Illinois, main campus (A and B on the map). Registration information below.

Swedish Research Using Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.Com
This two-day series will discuss elements of Swedish family history research, focusing on church and emigration records in Sweden. An overview of the Swedish materials contained on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will be given, along with information on how to locate and use online images of records. We will work through several research examples throughout the two-day series. A knowledge of Swedish is not necessary—we will discuss techniques for reading records in the Swedish language.

Dates: Monday & Tuesday, 03/11/13 & 03/12/13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: B26, Michael Neill
$79 CSI C04 600

Google For Genealogists
In this all-day session, we’ll start by talking about clever ways to search online, but we will move into other aspects of Google, including Google Books (scanned, searchable images of hundreds of thousands of books), Google Alerts, Google Maps, and more. There is much more you can do with Google for your genealogy than simply performing a few searches. Attendees should know the basic online search techniques.

Date: Wednesday, 03/13/13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: B26, Michael Neill
$39 CSI C04 601

Using Archive.org
Archive.org offers thousands of online free digital copies of books and national archives microfilm. We will see how to find old county histories free for the downloading on archive.org. We will discuss how to search these materials, ways to download, save, and utilize them. Also discussed will be census, passenger list and other National Archives microfilm that is free for the download (unindexed) at Archive.org. Did you know that you could download entire rolls of census microfilm from Archive.org to your computer? We will see how.

Date: Thursday, 03/14/13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: B26, Michael Neill
$39 CSI C04 602

Social Media for Genealogists
Confused by how to use Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Mailing Lists, Bulletin Boards, and other online media to enhance your genealogical research? In this all-day session, we will look at means by which genealogists can interact online with other genealogists in a variety of ways to increase their research skills, network with other genealogists, and locate research materials. Social media is not just for those under twenty-five. Family historians don’t have to be isolated any more. 

Date: Friday, 03/15/13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: B26, Michael Neill
$39 CSI C04 603


Presentations are made by Michael John Neill. Neill is on the Sandburg faculty and has been actively involved in genealogical research for nearly thirty years. He can be reached at mneill@sandburg.edu.

Want to Join Us?

Registration is limited and on a first-come, first –served basis. You can call or email either of our staff members to register:

·         Linda Hankins is an Administrative Assistant to the Director of Business and Community Education. Contact: 309.345.3501, lhankins@sandburg.edu

·         Linda Lamm is the Office Assistant for the Business & Community Education Department. Contact: 309.345.3502, llamm@sandburg.edu

22 January 2013

New On FamilySearch 22 January 2013

New On FamilySearch 22 January 2013

Platting Those Initial Landowners

It is not fancy, but it is functional. I find it easier to make initial drawings in pencil.

Using the BLM search results and the BLM tract books as described in an earlier post, I created a simple map showing the original landowners in section 29 of Township 22-5 in Tipton County, Indiana.

There was no earthshattering discovery, but the knowing the relative positions of the parcels is helpful. Relatives Tinsley and Newman did purchase adjoining properties and when I went through the entries in detail, I realized that the other Newman purchase was declared to be swamp land.

Section 20 would have been due north of section 29 and locating the properties in that section may shed light on the patentees who were due north of Tinsley and Newman.

BLM Tract Book Discovery

FamilySearch has recently placed the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books (titled: United States, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908) on their website. Using the books takes a little bit of patience and a little bit of knowledge, but it's not impossible.

William Newman purchased property in Tipton County, Indiana, in the 1850s. Locating that parcel in the index was my first foray into using these materials.

This was known because Newman was located on the BLM website as having obtained a patent for property in section 29 of township 22N 5 E in Tipton County . A query was performed on the BLM website to determine the names of all others purchasing property in that section. One of them was William Tinsley, brother-in-law of William S. Newman.

This table shows all the entries from patents in the Bureau of Land Management website for the same section of property as the  William Newman purchase (29).

Doc #

The BLM database indexes completed patents. The tract book contains additional references and notations. The tract book indicated that William did not intend to just purchase the property for which he finally obtained a patent. His name is also listed in the tract books as having made an initial payment on another forty acres in the section, but that his deposit was refunded in 1854.

The entries in the tract book are helpful, but the actual patents (on the BLM site) indicate the county of residence of the purchasers, which is helpful in distinguishing between individuals and something that is not indicated in these tract book entries. The materials need to be used together--not in isolation.

I knew that William's patent was in the volume for the Indianapolis land office as that was indicated on his patent image obtained on the BLM website.

Vol 1, Indianapolis, page 71--part of the left hand side.

Vol 1, Indianapolis, page 71--corresponding right hand side.

There were no huge revelations, but I was surprised to see that William had also started the process to purchase additional property in this township.

On my list of things to do with this information are:
  • Look at the residences of the other purchasers to determine where they were from at the time of the completed patent. Newman and Tinsley were from Rush County, Indiana. It is possible that other men--particularly those obtaining property at the same time--were from that area as well.
  • Plat out the parcels to allow me to visualize the relationships between the locations.
  • Look at purchasers of property in adjacent townships.

21 January 2013

No Birth Place Really Given

The first image is the index database entry for Thomas Frame from   Ancestry.com's "U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992," who was naturalized in Cook County, Illniois, in 1873. This index entry indicates he was born in Ireland. The item from which this index entry was made (the black and white card below) does not indicate he was born in Ireland.

Instead it was created from an index card (shown below) that comes from National Archives Microfilm Serial Publication M1285 "Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern Distrit of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950." The card actually indicates that the "country of birth or allegiance" was "Great Britian, Ireland." This does not equate to a country of birth of Ireland.

The index card is meant as a finding aid to the actual record of Thomas Frame's naturalization, not to replace it. Ancestry.com's "U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992" is an index that includes index entries.

Another problem here is that the information on the record was "massaged" to fit database fields in Ancestry.com's index. Information on original records should not be massaged to fit database entries.

I have seen a copy of Thomas' naturalization and have written about it for Casefile Clues. Thomas indicated he was a subject of Queen Victoria of Great Britian and Ireland, but he makes no statement about his specific place of birth.