30 March 2013

Genealogical Statements

I'm working on the definition of "genealogical statements." I'm curious what other researchers may have to think.

At some point the research and the analysis must end and the writing must begin. Typically at that point the genealogist usually should be able to make some sort of genealogical statement about the people involved from the records that have been researched and analyzed.

Genealogical Statements:

·         Express a relationship between two individuals (biological, legal, social, or otherwise) perhaps at a certain point in time.  The point in time may or may not be precise and some details may be lacking. In fact, in some cases, precision is not possible nor is it realistic.

·         Locate an individual taking part in an event at a reasonably certain point in time in a certain capacity.

Our Genealogical Freebies

Here is a summary of freebies we have:

  • 2 free copies of Casefile Clues--simply enter in your email address and "submit" order. There is no credit card or other personal information required. Copy 1    Copy 2
  • My Brick Walls A to Z Webinar (and handout)--click here to process order. Coupon code is "brickwall" no credit card or personal information except email address is required. 
  • You can subscribe to Genealogy Tip of the Day (free) by entering in your email address in the box on the right hand side of the blog page at  http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com/
  • You can subscribe to Genealogy Transcriber (free) and play along with others reading the handwriting at  http://genealogytranscriber.blogspot.com/. There is a subscription box on the right hand side of the page.
  • You can subscribe to Genealogy Search Tip (free) by entering in your email address in the box on the right hand side of the blog page at  http://genealogysearchtip.blogspot.com/
Feel free to share with your friends, blog readers, etc. etc. 


29 March 2013

Getting Alfred Butler's Pension NOT at the National Archives

Apparently getting Alfred Butler's pension is going to be more of a trick than I thought.

The Civil War pension file for Alfred Butler is not at the National Archives (two requests for it came back with the same result--not there). Apparently it is at the Veteran's Administration and I will need to make a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain it.  Butler died in 1895, his children later received a pension (but only until they were sixteen), and his widow may have received some sort of pension as well. Her marriage to another veteran after Butler may have muddied the waters just a bit.

Here's Butler's card which was discussed in an earlier post.

I have already sent a request. Stay tuned! I know I am.

Webinar Discount Today

We're running our 60% sale on webinars today--28 March 2013.

 Coupon code "sixty" at check out will reduce your order by 60% through midnight central time tonight. Downloads are immediate. Our rates are the best in the business.

Check out our list of over 30 presentations here:


You can view the presentations at your convenience after they have been downloaded. It is not necessary to view them immediately and you can view them as many times as you want.


28 March 2013

Missed Records, Misconceptions, and Why Mom?

World War I Draft Card for John Julius Trautvetter, Adams County, Illinois;
digital image on FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org)
This World War I draft card for my great-uncle is one of those things that I simply never got around to locating until it came up easily on a search at FamilySearch.

And it got me to thinking about several things.

Was the mother the preferred "nearest relative?"

I have done no statistical analysis, but I seem to recall seeing the mother being frequently listed as the nearest relative, even when the father was alive. In this case, the father (George Trautvetter) is even listed as the employer--no doubt nineteen-year old John worked on his father's farm. I'm not opposed to mothers being listed as next of kin, but my recollection is that I've only seen the father listed when the mother was deceased. This might be an interesting item to pursue further as my only evidence is anecdotal and that sort of evidence is not always proof of anything other than anecdotes.

Are there assumptions that are not true?

I was always told that John's middle name was Michael and that this John (my great-uncle) had been named for his grandfather John Michael Trautvetter. I never really questioned the fact that his name was John Michael. His sister, my grandmother Neill, apparently thought her brother was named for their grandfather. It turns out he wasn't John Michael, he was actually John Julius--the John coming from his grandfather and the Julius coming from his sponsor at his baptism.

The difference is more than academic. My grandmother Neill did not care for her brother John. The reasons (and there are some) are not germane here. My mother, unrelated to any of these people and unaware of the Grandma's opinion of her brother, wanted to name me John Michael--John for my maternal grandfather and Michael because she liked it. Grandma Neill would have no grandson of hers with the same name as her brother, so Michael John was my name.

Is that address right?

I initially jumped on that address as being "wrong" or at least misleading. The Trautvetters lived in Keene Township, Adams County, from the mid-1910s and on, or so I have assumed. The family farm is near the town of Loraine and is still owned by family members. John's card is dated 12 September 1918 and indicates a rural route Mendon, Illinois, address. Thinking about this address reminded me that I don't actually have a copy of the deed of purchase for the farm, which would provide the date of aquisition. It might be that the family lived in Adams County, Illinois, at the time of the registration but not on the farm near Loraine--which was where they were in 1920 for the census.

The end game is that I still need to research when my great-grandparents purchased the farm near Loraine. In the writing of this blog post, I am pretty certain where great-grandpa Trautvetter got the money to make at least a sizeable down payment on this property. His father's 228 acre farm in Hancock County was sold at auction at about this same point in time and my great-grandfather would have received a one-seventh share. Those deeds I have--so I know how much great-grandpa would have received.

See, writing is good for your research!

Updates to FamilySearch

Updated since our last post:

United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

New York, State Census, 1875--note the following are NOT included: Chemung, Clinton, Hamilton, New York (Manhattan), Niagara, Putnam, Queens, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Suffolk, Wayne, and Westchester.

27 March 2013

No Apprentice From Less Than Twenty Miles

Date: Monday, August 4, 1788  

Paper: Litchfield Monitor (Litchfield, CT) --obtained on  Genealogybank.com  

Angus Nickelson wanted an apprentice in 1788 to learn the art of bookkeeping.

Angus wanted the boy to be able to write and understand the rule of three (meaning he could solve basic proportions).  This would help him in determining various amounts to charge for items based on a specific price and obviously a bookkeeper in the 1780s would need to know how to write.

What I found interesting was "None need apply from less than 20 miles distance from this place." I'm not certain why this phrase was included in the ad.

Is it possible your ancestor traveled a distance to become an apprentice? Are you ignoring a connection because the distance was too far? This ad indicates that may not have been the case.

New On FamilySearch

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

Missouri, Cole County Circuit Court Case Files, 1820-1926

The Rule of 3

Judy G. Russell of the Legal Genealogist, mentioned briefly the "Rule of 3" in a blog post today. She gave a simple example (in my opinion) of the this rule from Wikipedia which I won't reproduce here. The whole blog post resulted from someone mentioning that Abraham Lincoln learned his math as far as the Rule of 3.

Chances are, if your ancestor knew the "Rule of 3," that he did not perform the calculations in the way that they are shown in the image Judy used in her blog post. That's a more modern approach.

Chances are also that your ancestor--if a contemporary of Lincoln--might have known the "Rule of 3" as well. Lawyers weren't the only ones who might have encountered the "Rule of 3." If your ancestor was a property owner, merchant, or had another occupation dealing in the buying and selling of various quantities of goods, he may very well have known the "Rule of 3" as well. It was a ready application of proportions

Two texts from the early 19th century contain examples similar to the ones that Lincoln probably saw.

Published by Jacob B. Moore, Concord,
New Hampshire, 1826;
obtained  in digital format on GoogleBooks (http://books.google.com)
 Page 142 of "Pike's System of Arthimetic" contains a simple  problem of this type--modern readers may think it easier to determine that 1 bushel would cost $.60 and work from there to get the value of 12 bushels. That is true. It is easier. Our ancestors did not have calculators which is one reason why math texts from this time period look confusing to modern eyes.

It's worth remembering that algorithms for solving problems are best initially discussed with easier examples. This is likely why the author started with the cost of 12 bushel problem.
Today we sometimes call this property "means-extremes" and use proportions to actually solve it. It is worth remembering that there were no calculators in 1826 and, generally speaking, division is best avoided until the very last step in problem solving, particularly when intermediate answers may not come out "even" and paper is a limited and valuable commodity.

It is worth remembering that the discussion of these problems was not merely academic. There are practical examples of the "rule of 3" that would be encountered by some nineteenth century Americans during their everyday life. There were no calculators and merchants, planters, and farmers needed to know that they were getting  or paying the correct price.

The "Scholar's Arithmetic" from 1818 contains more examples--including ones with varying units of measurement and money. During this point in time, not every part of the United States was using the decimal system of money we use today. There were also more units of measure in use than there are today as well (perches and roods come to mind rather quickly--and that's "rood" not "rod."). This is part of the reason solving problems of this type was not necessarily "easy" for the average person . The unit conversions presented a problem for some, much as they still do today.

Obtained in digital format on GoogleBooks (http://books.google.com)

Looking at a few problems from the text makes it clear why planters, farmers, small businessmen, merchants, and others trading in various goods would encounter problems of this type in the daily course of business. 

p. 118 from "Scholar's Arithmetic"

 Lawyers settling estates, clerks, and others may have had to occasionally "cipher" during their normal course of business.
p. 118 from "Scholar's Arithmetic"

Of course, it is necessary to know how many pence in a shilling, how many shilling in a pound of currency, etc. Those conversions are a part of these computations.

Your ancestor who was a common day laborer probably didn't have any idea how to do these computations.  I'm betting my ancestor Ira Sargent who worked as a laborer and eventually a small tenant farmer in the late 19th century, probably was unable to perform these computations. While I have no proof, I would venture a guess that my ancestor, John Tinsley, who owned over 600 acres of property, produced and sold fairly large amounts of tobacco and lived in Virginia in the early 18th century probably did. Am I certain? No. But Tinsley would have been well served to be aware of such computations in the normal course of doing business.

In a future blog post, we'll go through these examples in more detail.

What were your ancestor's math skills? 

25 March 2013

Why I'm No Big Fan of Immediate Data Entry

I'm not a big fan of "immediate" data entry and in rushing to determine the precise nature of family relationships. In many cases, records are not clear about the nature of a relationship between two individuals or among a group of individuals. Connecting them to other people in a database when the relationship is not known only leads to additional confusion.

The 1850 and 1860 enumerations for Michael Trautvetter in Campbell County, Kentucky, are a case in point. Both list a Margaret(ta) in the "spot" where a wife would be.

1850 U S Census, Michael Trautvetter, Campbell County, Kentucky.

1860 U S Census, Michael Trautvetter, Campbell County, Kentucky.

But more work needs to be done. Hasty analysis could indicate both of these references are to his wife. That may be correct, but there's additional information that indicates "Margaret," could be one wife, two separate wives, a wife and a sister, or possibly something else. Just looking at these two census enumerations does not provide me with enough information to draw any conclusions about who "Margaret" is.

And that means I am not ready to enter in any relationships in my database.

Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

24 March 2013

The County Treasurer Gets Valentine's Inheritance

Hancock County, Illinois, Probate Journal L, p. 560.
There are quite a few reasons why it is suggested that genealogists look at everything in an estate settlement, particularly those items recorded over a decade after the estate is opened.

This item shows an example of one of those reasons.

The estate of Michael Trautvetter was opened in 1869, shortly after his death. This probate journal entry from 1881 was the last mention of the estate. In the entry it is indicated that Valentine Hess, an heir-at-law of Michael Trautvetter, could not be found and was last heard from in Cincinnati, Ohio. This journal reference is the only reference to Cincinnati being Valentine's residence, if only for a time.

Valentine's share in the Trautvetter estate was $29.16 2/3. Since he could not be found it was deposited with the County Treasurer.

How long it remained there is another matter.

Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

22 March 2013

New On FamilySearch

Added to FamilySearch since our last update:

Ohio, Stark County Coroner's Records, 1890-2002

Just Michael Please and Nothing More

More than just Michael.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Alexandria, Campbell, Kentucky; Roll: M653_360; Page: 720
There are several reasons why genealogists are advised to look at more than just the "desired entry" in a census. This 1860 enumeration from Campbell County, Kentucky, is a case in point.

Household 522 contains the person of interest: Michael Trautvetter. Margaret is his apparent wife. Michael died in the late 1860s, leaving no spouse or descendants, so he and Margaret had no children and she was dead (or they divorced) by the time Michael died.

Michael actually died in Illinois and, since Margaret does not appear in his estate settlement, I concluded that she died in Kentucky and that John Mininger(?), the 19-year old, was her son and that he too probably stayed in Kentucky. That may still be true.

What I would have missed if I had been hasty and only "copied Michael's household because that's all that I need," is that there are other Mininger(?) children in an "apparent household" 523.

If the census is correct, this household is headed by William Mininger, aged 9. Obviously it is not and he, and the other Mininger children, are probably connected to the 19-year old John Mininger in the Trautvetter household.

Whether they are connected to Michael Trautvetter remains to be seen. The point? I could have easily overlooked a "bunch of people" had I only focused on the "household of interest."

Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

21 March 2013

No Matches in the 1850 Census--Huh?

I searched the 1850 census at using the "old search" at  Ancestry.com. I left all the boxes blank so that I determine how many entries were in the 1850 census at Ancestry.com--keeping in mind that those numbers might not match the official 1850 census results

This was the result:

It would seem logical to me that if all the blanks are empty, the search should return EVERYONE enumerated in the census.

In fact, if one chooses only the name of a state, everyone within that state is returned.

This is my screen for a search with just Illinois as the location:

I got exactly what I expected-the Illinois entries. I have no idea of going through all of them, but knowing how many entries there are in the 1850 census for Illinois at Ancestry.com could be useful in some types of analysis. It turns out there are 854,732 entries in Illinois.

I can perform a similar search for a first name--leaving the location blank. Ancestry.com tells me that in their 1850 census database nationwide there are 1,164,951 individuals whose first name starts with "joh*."

The question I have is why does leaving everything blank give me no hits? It would seem that searching with everything blank should give me the entire country.

And that's what I was trying to get--how many people were enumerated in the 1850 census according to Ancestry.

The other thing that always concerns me is that when things don't work the way they should I always wonder "are there other things that aren't working, but that I just can't tell are not working?"

I realize Ancestry.com doesn't necessarily like my questions. Sometimes though I get a little tired of the response being to find workarounds for these search issues.

Organizing Genealogical Information-April 2013

Organizing Genealogical Information:
A Short Course
With Michael John Neill

(scroll down for specific schedule)
Organizing information is an important part of genealogical research—perhaps more important than the actual research. This short course (only 4 sessions) is intended to provide the students with exposure to a variety of ways to organize information with an emphasis on problem-solving. The course will consist of four lectures (topics and schedule below), problem assignments, virtual follow-up discussions, group discussion board interaction, and student submission of work (optional). There is no assigned grade—you get from this what you put into it. Students will also be able to share their work and ideas with other students.

Citation of sources is important, but presentations will not focus on citation theory.

This time the course will be presented a little bit differently. Students will be able to download the lecture and view it at their convenience--ideally all on the same day that the download link is sent to registered students.

Course registration is only $30 for this run of the course. Class size is limited to 30 to encourage group interaction. Attendees will need to register 24 hours before the class starts. If you registered for a previous session and were not able to actively participate--email me to be put in this series at no charge.

  • Assignment/Study 1Charts, Charts, and More Charts (we will discuss a variety of charts and table to organize your information and your searches—all students work on same problem
  • Assignment/Study 24 Step Research Process (we will discuss a four-step process to research organization)—pick your own problem
  • Assignment/Study 3Constructing Families from pre-1850 Census (discuss of how to ascertain family structure from pre-1850 US census records)---all work on same problem
  • Assignment/Study 4Problem Solving Chart (problem-solving techniques not discussed in previous lectures)– pick your own problem
Register via this link.

Lecture downloads:
  • 1 April
  • 8 April
  • 15 April
  • 22 April

  • 4 April-2:30 PM Central
  • 11 April-2:30 PM Central
  • 18 April-2:30 PM Central 
  • 25 April-2:30 PM Central

Lectures and discussions will be via GotoMeeting.

Register via this link.


Constructing Database Searches: A Short Course-April 2013

(if you registered for an earlier session of this course and were unable to to participate, please email me for complimentary registration in this course or a refund)
Constructing Database Searches:
A Short Course
With Michael John Neill
April 2013
(scroll down for specific schedule)
Typing names into search boxes does not solve all your genealogical problems. We will see how to construct searches, organize searches, and problem-solve and troubleshoot when individuals are not located easily. Our discussion will concentrate on those instances when people are difficult to find. We will not be concerned with "easy" searches. We will use FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, and other databases. The only fee-based database that will be used will be Ancestry.com and attendees must have their own access to Ancestry.com as it is NOT provided in your course registration. The course will consist of three lectures (topics and schedule below), problem assignments, virtual follow-up discussions, group discussion board interaction, and student submission of work (optional). There is no assigned grade—you get from this what you put into it. Students will also be able to share their work and ideas with other students.

If you were registered for a previous session and did not get to attend, please email me to be added to the course at no charge. Do not re-register.

Our lectures will be somewhat different--we will go through specific examples and situations and explain the different types of searches, wildcard, Boolean, string-based, etc. within the context of an example. That may seem like "diving in," but people tend to learn best by just doing. There will be reference information provided and time for discussion and commentary in the followup sessions and bulletin board interaction.

Citation of sources is important, but lectures will not focus on citation theory.

Students will need to choose someone they cannot find in a US Federal census and two other online databases (free ones).

Course registration is only $30. Class size is limited to 30 to encourage group interaction. Registration is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis only. Register here.

  • Assignment/Study 1Organizing Your Searches--The basics of any search strategy is search-tracking and organization. We'll see why when you are stuck most of your work is done away from the website. Students will then create search strategies based upon their own problems. 
  • Assignment/Study 2Troubleshooting & Determining Best Options--We will discuss ways to tweak your search based upon unsuccessful results, ways to get around incomplete or missing "help," pages, and determining what other databases contain the same information. We will also discuss when a manual search of the records may be necessary.
  • Assignment/Study 3Discussion and Analysis of Student Problems--We will look at all (or most) student problems that were submitted, concentrating on those that highlight problem areas or situations not already discussed in detail.

Lectures will be recorded for those who are unable to attend or have audio/video issues.

Lectures and discussions will be via GotoMeeting.

  • April 1, April 8, April 15--7:00 PM central time--lectures--1 hour
  • April 3, April 10, April 17--7:00 PM central time-discussion--30 minutes

Want to register—Registration is only $30 and can be done using your PayPal account or a major credit card (just process your order as a PayPal “guest.”).Register here. Email Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com with questions.

20 March 2013

Finding Adam Trautvetter and Kalten-Sundheim-Using German Maps

Even locating people with unusual last names is occasionally problematic. It took me a little digging to determine that this John Adam Trautvetter was actually my Adam Trautvetter--and this post really only looks at how the name of the village was determined. We're writing up a complete analysis of this entry for an upcoming issue of the newsletter.
This is part of the manifest entry containing the entry for Joh. Adam Trautvetter who arrived on 9 July 1850 on the Marianne (obtained digitally on 20 March at Ancestry.com, citing National Archives M255, roll 8).

I was not certain the exact name of the village, but I was certain that I was not going to rely on Ancestry.com's transcription of the village as shown below. I was not certain how "correct" the interpretation of the last residence of "Kaltehsuordheim" was.

A contemporary map was needed. I am hesitant to rely initially on modern maps when using nineteenth century materials.

A favorite reference of mine is this 1883 atlas which has been digitized by the University of Wisconsin:

Author:Ravenstein, Ludwig.
Title:Atlas des Deutschen Reichs / bearb. von Ludwig Ravenstein.
Publisher:Leipzig : Bibliographisches Institut, 1883.
xxxv p., [14] p. of maps : col. maps ; 42 cm.
Internet Links:http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/ravenstein/

The index pages to the atlas are downloadable via a link on the site (pages 10-14 shown for illustration):

10800KHagenthal, Nieder- - Hnitetz, Klein-
11928KHoblik, Berg - Jännersdorf
12765KJannowitz in Schles. - Kinzig, Fluß (Baden)
13827KKinzig, Fluß (Hessen-Nassau) - Kralovan
14755KKralowitz - Laufen in Bayern

Page 12 is the page I needed as it contained the range of letters needed--I was fairly certain the word started with "Kal." Looking at the index, I decided that the reference most likely was to Kalten-Sundheim as shown below.
The village of interest was in region IV, part M7.

Kalten-Sundheim was easily located:
I need to obtain the scale of the map so that am actually certain how close (or far apart) various villages on this map actually are.

It is believed that John. Adam Trautvetter as shown on this manifest is a brother to John George Trautvetter who settled in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1853. Strengthening the connection is the fact that Helmershausen --shown to the south of the village of interest--is where John George's wife Sophia was born in 1808.

But we'll save that for another blog post.

Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

Getting More Genealogists--Maybe It Shouldn't Be Our Focus

There's always discussion of how to "get more people interested in genealogy," "how to get our youth more interested in their past," "what can we do to shove genealogy down other people's throats," etc.  That's all fine, but I'm not certain it is the most effective way to direct our resources and our time. Every hobby or avocation thinks the world would be a much better place if everyone participated--genealogists are no different.  The majority of people who "become interested" in genealogy often do so for personal reasons that are, to be quite frank, personal. We cannot force people to become interested in something in which they are not.

There are people "out there" who dabble in their family history and have more than a fifteen second passing interest. Those are the people that we need to reach--especially when they reach out to us for help. Initially they will not cite their sources, they will copy information without analysis, and they will make mistakes. So did the rest of us. Gently guiding new researchers away from these practices will enhance their research experience.

Helping those new to genealogy research learn:
  • effective research strategies
  • sound methodology
  • accurate interpretation of source materials
  • construction of soundly drawn genealogical conclusions
are ways we can "grow" our hobby. And sharing those skills with others helps all of us become better researchers.

People with an interest in family history frequently become frustrated  and quit. Helping those people to continue with their research is a more reachable goal. Life experiences tends to propel some people to become interested in their family history.  It is difficult for the genealogical community to force those motivating experiences upon others. Instead of recruiting new members to the fold, we should  try and to bring in those who are on the periphery into our fold and retain them.

I don't have numbers to back me up, but I have worked in education long enough to know that it is difficult to get people to work at anything when they are not motivated. I also  know that a person who is balancing life, work, and family probably does not have too much time to devote to researching their ancestors no matter how much we try and convince them that they should.

Producing readable, enlightening, and engaging genealogical instruction that is methodologically sound also goes a long way to converting people to our fold.

Until the horse wants to drink, you can pour the water over its head and its mouth will remain shut. 

Does the Government Have Your Relative's Baptismal Record?

Proving information for pension claims was a challenge for our ancestors. Veterans had to prove their service and widows (or minor orphans) would also have to prove their relationship to the deceased veteran. Sometimes that was not easy.

The image in this post is of an actual baptismal certificate for Johann Jacob Rothweiler that was contained in his mother's Civil War widow's pension application. The certificate was submitted to prove Johann's age at the time of his father's death in 1879. 

Union Civil War Veteran's Pension, George Rothweiler (St. Louis, Missouri), Widow's Claim (Wilhelmina Rothweiler), 17 July 1890; obtained from the National Archives.
Quite a few pension application claims contain similar material. Claims were more difficult when records such as these could not be located and witnesses could not be found. "More difficult" for the claimant usually means "more records" for the genealogist.

We'll be looking various records from the Rothweiler claim in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

An Item in the 1850 Census

Year: 1850; Census Place: District 2, Campbell, Kentucky; Roll: M432_195; Page: 126B; digital image, Ancestry.com, 20 March 2013.
It is easy to blame unusual spellings on census indexers and transcribers. That's not the case with this census entry from Kentucky. Here the actual person in red in this entry from Campbell County, Kentucky is meant to be Adam. We'll discuss why we think so in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

New On FamilySearch

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882

North Carolina, Civil Action Court Papers, 1712-1970

19 March 2013

Originally Derivative--John Jacob's Date and Place of Birth

Civil War pension applications contain a wide variety of material. 

John Jacob Rothweiler made an affidavit in 1895 that appears in his mother's widow's pension application and provides information regarding his birth as taken from the family bible. John Jacob indicated that the family bible was in his possession at the time the affidavit was made.

Union Civil War Veteran's Pension, George Rothweiler (St. Louis, Missouri), Widow's Claim (Wilhelmina Rothweiler), 17 July 1890; obtained from the National Archives.

The actual bible record, if it were written contemporaneously to the birth of John Jacob, would provide primary information regarding that birth and would be an original source. Original sources can be incorrect even if they contain primary information.

This affidavit contains a transcription of that bible entry, presumably done by the scribe of this document from the bible directly, although it is possible that John Jacob brought in a piece of paper with the entry copied onto it for the writer to use in making the affidavit. This transcription of the bible entry would be a derivative source for that bible entry  because it was derived from the original source--the bible. There could be copying errors at any point in this process--or the copying could have been done entirely correctly. We don't know because were not present at the time the deposition was written.

The father would have had first hand knowledge of the information regarding his son's birth--assuming he was present at the time of the birth and not out of the area. 1861 would be a prime time for man to be away during the child's birth.

I have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the digital image I have of John Jacob's deposition. I also have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the transcription. An analysis of how I obtained the document and how the information came to be in the document is always helpful in determining the perceived reliability of the information it contains.

The precise description of the place of birth is a nice detail as well. 
Citation reminder: We are a strong believe in citing genealogical source material in the spirit of Evidence ExplainedHowever, we choose not to include properly formatted citations in these blog posts. There's always enough information in the post to create a citation and full citations are included in my how-to newsletter Casefile Clues. 

New Genealogy Fundamental Webinars

We are adding six new webinars to our popular "fundamentals" series. These sessions cannot be attended live, but downloads will be available (along with handouts) by 27 March 2013.

These sessions can be pre-ordered using the links below.  Price will be higher after the pre-order cutoff of 25 March 2013. We've found that for these shorter sessions, live attendance is a little more difficult and we've just decided to handle these sessions as downloads only.

Pre-order all 6 for $10.00 through this link.

If the above links do not work, this webpage has links that will process:


Questions, email Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

They've Only Known Wilhelmina a Short Time

Union Civil War Veteran's Pension, George Rothweiler (St. Louis, Missouri), Widow's Claim (Wilhelmina Rothweiler), 17 July 1890; obtained from the National Archives.
This is the witness portion of a widow's claim filed by Wilhelmina Rothweiler of St. Louis, Missouri, on 17 July 1890. The witnesses are only testifying that they know Wilhelmina. A reading of part of this statement indicates that one witness has known Wilhelmina for three years and the other for two. These witnesses are not making any claims about Wilhelmina's qualification for a pension, how long she had been married to her late husband, whether she had remarried, etc. Witnesses making those sorts of statements usually would have had to have known the claimant longer than two or three years.

One problem with this part of the document is that I cannot read the names of the witnesses and I'm having difficulty reading the names of the streets. The witnesses have signed their names in German. Given that Wilhelmina was of German nativity, this is not unusual. What's slightly odd is that they have only known Wilhelmina for a short amount of time. Since she'd lived in St. Louis since approximately 1850, it would have seemed that she would have been able to find witnesses who had known her longer. But again, they are only testifying to her identity, not the specifics of her claim.

A map of St. Louis may help me in reading the addresses of these two witnesses. The first is probably Victor Street. The other I'm not so certain. It is noted that the house numbers are close, which may indicate that these two ladies (their first names are Christina and Rosa) are neighbors.

18 March 2013

A 1942 Affidavit

Hancock County, Illinois, Mortgage Book 126: 42, James Edward Rampley, affidavit, 31 January 1942; County Clerk’s Office, Carthage

Affidavits can contain a wide variety of information. The image in this post comes from one made out in 1942  in regards to the title to a certain piece of real estate. The affiant summarizes three generations of ownership and other details about the family and the farm.

Because this document discussed the title to the family's real estate, it was filed with the land records. Land records are not always deeds and records of this type can be a virtual gold mine of information.

We discussed this record in great detail in issue 3-27 of Casefile Clues.

17 March 2013

My Genealogy Blogs

For those of you who did not know, this is not my only genealogy blog. Here's  list with the links. Enjoy!

New On FamilySearch

New or updated since our last update:

Illinois, Lee County Records, 1830-1954
Texas, Deaths, 1977-1986
United States, Russians to America Index, 1834-1897

Corrected Link for Cyndislist Shared Sales

For some reason our link to the page where webinar purchases could be made that will help Cyndislit by sharing half of the receipts did not work.

The webinar page to view to credit Cyndist list with any purchaes is this one. Clicking on that link will "tag" your order so we know to credit her properly. There are not links on her site to the page.


14 March 2013

Horses, Composers, and Bill Collectors

Trautvetter, H.G, Dan Patch Two-Step. Minneapolis, MN, n.d.. (part); digital image;
Mississippi State University-Charles Templeton Sheet Music Collection.
http://digital.library.msstate.edu), 14 March 2013.

This is a post that starts out with a musical piece written about a race horse. It seems that some of the most intriguing pieces of genealogical information start out in what are apparently non-genealogical pieces of ephemera.

It is not often that one runs across the Trautvetter name. The last name is fairly unusual and while there are a smattering of German immigrants to the United States with this last name, one always wonders if the person is somehow related.

Dan Patch Two-Step, page 1
My curiosity was piqued when I discovered this musical piece written by H. G. Trautvetter.

The "Dan Patch Two-Step" composition contains no specific date of publication. It only indicates that the publisher was the International Stock Food Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Additionally, there is no clue as to  the identity of H. G. Trautvetter--only the fact that he was the composer of the piece.   

I really doubted that Trautvetter worked for the International Stock Food Company and assumed that he was somehow contracted just to write this one composition.
Dan Patch Two-Step, page 1.

So Who Was H. G. Trautvetter?

A search of GoogleBooks provided a potential reference to H. G.Trautvetter in an item that potentially refers to the H. G. in question. A 1914 item in a Rotary magazine mentions an H. G. Trautvetter of the Peoria, Illinois, area, putting a poem to music. While this might not be the H. G. who wrote the "horse music," the coincidence of the name and the musical ability seems to be more than just that.  

Ray, Rowan, "Peoria Plays Host to the Illinois Fellowship of Rotary," The Rotarian, Vol. 5, No. 1, July 1914 p. 45; digital image, GoogleBooks (http://books.google.com).

A biography of Herman Gustave Trautvetter seems to indicate that the Peoria resident is the H. G. who wrote the "horse music." Born in 1873, Trautvetter studied music in Peoria and later began studying in Chicago when he turned twenty. The biography does not mention how long Trautvetter lived in Chicago, but it does indicate that he did compose and publish a number of compositions. At some point, he returned to Peoria, decided music was not lucrative and entered the collection business. Source: Rice, James M. Peoria City and County, Illinois: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1912, p. 350; digital image, GoogleBooks, (http://books.google.com), accessed 14 March 2013.

Trautvetter even wrote an article on bill collecting which appeared in The Rotarian as well.

Trautvetter, H. G, "Collecting Those Bills," The Rotarian-, Vol. 6, No. 3, March 1915 p. 59; digital image, GoogleBooks (http://books.google.com).
H. G. Trautvetter was the son of a Christian Trautvetter, a German immigrant who settled in Peoria, Illinois. At this point, I'm reasonably certain I know who wrote the piece on Dan Patch. Determining what relationship this Christian Trautvetter has to my own Trautvetter family will have to wait for another day.

First Eight Genealogy Fundamental Webinars

Previous Genealogy Fundamental Webinars

Genealogy Fundamental webinars--each is approximately 20 minutes in length. These short session are geared for beginner or somewhat experienced beginners who would like to learn more about the following topics. Each presentation includes the 20 minute or so presentation and the handouts.
·                     1850 Census -$2.00 to order immediate download
·                     1880 Census-$2.00 to order immediate download 
·                     1930 Census-$2,00 to order immediate download
·                     Union Civil War Pension file-$2.00 to order immediate download
·                     Early 20th Century Death Certificate--$2.00 to order immediate download
·                     Federal Cash Land Sale File-- -$2.00 to order immediate download
·                     Fundamentals of a 19th Century Will - -$2.00 to order immediate download
·                     Fundamentals of a Deed in Federal Land State- -$2.00 to order immediate download

Questions? Email Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

Creating Confusion by Repeating Names

I have been typing up a 1942 affidavit for an issue of Casefile Clues and now I'm seeing one of the reasons the statement was needed to clarify the title to the property.

The repetition of names had to be confusing.This chart lists the names that repeated themselves in the family. Relationships are given with respect to the man making the testimony.

James Rampley
James Rampley
James Edward Rampley
Elizabeth Rampley
Elizabeth Rampley
Aunt by marriage
Nancy  J. Rampley
Aunt by marriage
Nancie E.Rampley
Sarah E. Rampley
Sarah S. Rampley
John Rampley
John Luft
Uncle by marriage

It is no wonder there was confusion.