31 May 2013

The Race and Slavery Petitions Project Locates My Virginia Tinsleys in Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Indexes to records are always helpful for the genealogist, even when those indexes are not created by genealogists. Finding aids created for historians and social scientists are one type of aid that family history researchers use. The Race and Slavery Petitions Project is an example of one such project.

The Race and Slavery Petitions Project has created the Digital Library on American Slavery which, according to their website:

"The Digital Library on American Slavery offers data on race and slavery extracted from eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents and processed over a period of eighteen years. The Digital Library contains detailed information on about 150,000 individuals, including slaves, free people of color, and whites. These data have been painstakingly extracted from 2,975 legislative petitions and 14,512 county court petitions, and from a wide range of related documents, including wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, court proceedings, amended petitions, among others."
The Digital Library is a wonderful resource for genealogists with families who lived in areas impacted by slavery. It's wonderful because the database of names that can be searched. Genealogists with slave ancestors or slave-owning ancestors can utilize the index in an attempt to locate records.

One warning--the records that were selected for this project are those that involve slavery in some way. If your slave-owning ancestor was never involved in any type of court action involving slaves, he may not appear in this database. If your slave-owning ancestor was involved in an estate "fight" (as mine was) involving a slave, then their name should appear in this database. Southern ancestors whose only court involvement was for horse thievery will not be in this database. There is a warning, however. Do not assume that because you've searched this database that you've "done" your court research completely for your slave-owning or your slave ancestor. You haven't.

That said, this is still an excellent resource for genealogists.

The database allowed me to locate a court case in the 1830s in Lynchburg, Virginia, involving an "issue" with the estate of a John Tinsley who died in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1820. The screen shot of the abstract follows:
click for larger image
Of course, the genealogist wants the details.

The petitions that were used to create the abstract entries and the index database have been microfilmed in several series of microfilm publications. The microfilm are in many library collections and guides have been created to facilitate locating the actual records within the collection.The website for the Digital Library on American Slavery contains a page listing which libraries have these petitions.

The records for this court case were located in "Race, Slavery and Free Blacks, Series II, Petitions to Southern Courts, 1775-1867, Part C: Virginia (1775-1867) and Kentucky (1790-1864," on Roll 4, Petition Analysis Records - Virginia."

I was fortunate that the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, has the complete set of microfilm. Not all libraries have the complete collection and users of the ACPL, as we fondly call it, are lucky to have complete access to these records--especially when one considers that there is an online full name index to the collection. The library also has the accompanying finding aids that were printed for each microfilm series.

The petitions for Virginia that I needed can be located in the ACPL microtext catalog:

The Allen County Public Library has a number of "unknown" genealogy gems. This item is one of them. We will have a blog post on the materials that were a part of this court case and where my research should progress. 

And there's a lesson in all of this as well. You might find the answer to your genealogy question several hundred miles from where your ancestor actually lived. 

New or Updated on FamilySearch

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last post:

$4 Genealogy Webinar Sale

We are excited to offer three of our most popular webinars at a $4 rate--don't wait as the sale ends at 11:59 on 31 May 2013.

All presentations include the media presentation and handout. These are geared towards experienced beginner and intermediate researchers.

Seeing Patterns 

Genealogical research is all about patterns. In this presentation, see ways to see more patterns in the materials you have located and in how your ancestor lived in order to make the most out of the material you have.

Add Seeing Patterns to your cart here


Organizing information is key to genealogical research. This session is not about making family trees, fan charts, etc. It discusses a variety of charts to help you in your research and makes it clear that there may be a lot of ways you can chart your research that you never even thought about. This lecture is not about how to make "pretty trees with names." It's about helping you with your research

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Creating Research Plans

Organizing your research process is key to finding more information and researching as efficiently as possible. In this session, we will see through example how to create effective research plans and organizing research as it progresses forward.

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29 May 2013

Finding Wilhelmina Trautvetter's 1851 St. Louis Marriage

The search for the marriage record of George Rothweiler and Wilhelmina Trautvetter in St. Louis is a good example of why looking in the index created by the record clerk is not always good enough. Manual searches of records are still sometimes necessary.

The first image in this blog post is from the groom's index (the "R" section) of volume 4 of St. Louis marriages. There is only one entry on page 417 beginning with the letter, that entry is for Philipp Rick and Margaretha Morhing. The "index" lists all the "R" entries in page order--keep in mind that this index was created as the records were being created in the 1850s.

According to this index, there is no marriage for George Rothweiler in volume 4 of St. Louis marriage records.

And yet, at the very top of page 417 squeezed into the top of the page is the entry for George Rothweiler and Wilhelmina Trautvetter as shown below (click on the image for a larger view).

Entries such as these, which appear in the record book but are omitted from the index the record book contains, are why genealogists are advised to search records page by page to be certain that the entry of interest is really not there. Genealogists often rely on these indexes in each record book and yet these indexes are not always reliable.

The screen shot below contains the entry for the marriage which appears in the "St. Louis, Missouri Marriages, 1804-76" database on Ancestry.com. This index was created by the St. Louis Genealogical Society who apparently, unlike the clerk, read all the marriage entries. I had searched this database before, but my list of variants did not catch this combination. I'll have to tweak my variant list. 
The problem is that not every book of local records has been indexed by other individuals and, even when they have, those indexers are human and make their own mistakes.

Is It Really Too Much, Ancestry.com? It Must Be.

I've been complaining about searches similar to this one for some time and the only answer I get is to modify my search.

I should not have to modify my search. I cannot be the only researcher with several relatives for whom I have quite a few variants and no precise date of immigration.

I am trying to find an immigrant, Wilhelmina Trautvetter, who likely came to the United States between 1848-1851. I don't know what port and would like to search all the immigration materials for an immigrant as follows:

  • first name: wil*
  • last name: tra*
  • year 1849 +/- 2
As with other similar searches, this generates too many matches. I still am not convinced that there was a mass wave of people named Wilhelm Trautman, Wilhelmina Travers, Wilhelm Trautvetter, etc. coming to the United States between 1847-1851

The last time I mentioned this problem, I was told I needed to search one port at a time. Then why have global searches? 

The last time I mentioned this problem, I got a lecture on how Boolean searching works. With all due respect, I have a master's degree in mathematics, I understand how Boolean searching works.

What I do not understand is why this problem cannot be fixed.  What good are global searches if they are not truly global?

28 May 2013

Color Scan of Civil War Pension and Fold3 Image

I've been wanting to compare some color images for National Archives materials  with the grayscale digital scans on Fold3. At long last, here's our first from a Civil War pension. The color image was discussed earlier today in a blog post. Clicking on the images will pull up a larger version of the image. I didn't want to overwhelm this blog post with large images.

Here is the image on  Fold3:
Fold3.com image

Here is the same document's color scan made by at the National Archives:

color scan made at NARA

Of course, both images come from this veteran's file.
What do you think of the differences?

A Little Color on Mary M. Shores Garrett's Pension File

This early 20th century document, from the Civil War widow's pension of Mary M. Shores Garrett, is an excellent example of why color images are preferable to black and white ones. 

Without the color, it would be difficult to see the different handwritings as easily. Pensions are a good example of a record set where one document may have crossed the desks of several people, each of whom wrote something on it. 

It still can be difficult to tell how many people wrote on the document--after all, checkmarks made by different people do tend to look alike. But the color hints that different people might have made the checkmarks. However, the color gives at the very least an appreciation for the number of individuals who took a part in the creation of this document.

The image shows below. Clicking on it will pull up a larger image.

We won't analyze the document in this blog post. John was killed in the Civil War and his surviving child received a pension until he reached the age of 16. Mary received a widow's pension until she married again. After her second husband died in 1903, she applied for, and received, a pension based upon her first husband's service and the fact that she was married to him at the time he was killed during the war. Genealogists should always be aware of pension requirements as those requirements may suggest additional information about the individuals involved.

The image below contains a citation for the pension file in which this document was located. 

26 May 2013

New On FamilySearch-Pittsburgh Deaths

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905

Heading to Salt Lake

I'm getting ready to head to Salt Lake for my annual group trip and am looking forward to spending some time in Salt Lake at the Family History Library.

Hopefully I'll be blogging about the research that I'm hoping to squeeze in while I am at the Library.

Stay tuned...

Memorial Day Genealogy Sale

We're offering two sales this Memorial Day Weekend on our genealogical offerings--Webinars and Newsletters.

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There are a wide variety of research topics. Presentations are clear and easy to understand with the goal of helping you find more ancestors and do better research.

124 Issues of Casefile Clues--Save and Grow Your Skills

Give yourself some reading and increase your genealogical skills in the process--we're offering Casefile Clues 124 back issues of for only $30. This is a 25% savings.

Written in an accurate, detailed, and yet easy-to-follow format, Casefile Clues is geared towards the intermediate level research, but we have many beginners and advanced researchers (including some professionals) who subscribe toCasefile CluesCasefile Clues focuses on genealogical case studies, problem-solving, and the occasional in-depth analysis of one specific document. 

And we always include complete, accurate citations and ideas of where to go next. We also focus on setting goals and keeping on task.

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Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend and don't forget your living relatives!

Sale ends on 27 May 2013 at 11:59 PM Central Time


25 May 2013

Lemonade is Popular in China in the 1920s


Date: Saturday, August 12, 1922  

Paper: Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, IN) 

from  Genealogybank.com

It has been a while since I wrote about George Drollette and his exploits in Asia, but this 1922 reference from an Evansville, Indiana, newspaper, located on Genealogybank.com gave a little additional detail on their life in China. If I was unaware that Mrs. Drollette's brother was still living in Evansville, that clue would have been helpful as well.

It also mentions that the Drollette family had visited in Indiana "last summer." If I had not already searched passport and passenger lists that reference to their apparent visit would have required additional research. Given the newspaper was dated August of 1922, we will assume that the reference is to a visit in 1921.

The article discusses the apparent popularity of lemonade in China and a letter from a Chinese employee to his apparently non-Chinese employer.

One just never knows what one will find in the newspaper.

24 May 2013

Those Were "L"s and Not "T"s

An earlier post included this image which some readers assumed were lower-case "t"s with a cross. They were not.

The image above is a summary of the grantor/grantee information for those using the record copy of the deed. The actual deed record, shown partially in the image below clearly indicates that the first names of both men were intended to be William.

This image comes from FamilySearch's "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986" and is actually from Middlesex County Deeds  vol 1, pp. 170-171.

The lines on the names are meant to indicate that letters have been omitted.

22 May 2013

20 May 2013

Does Emberson Know Who He Married?

If records always agreed, there would be less of a need for professional genealogists.

The 1865 marriage record for Emberson Randles in Coshocton County, Ohio, indicated that he married Mary J. Rampley on 2 July 1862. The precise location of the marriage within the county is not given. 

part of the marriage record for Emerson Randles and Mary J. Rampley, Coshocton County, Ohio, marriage records 1859-1867 (vol 2), page 369; digital image on FamilySearch.
 In answering questions from the Commissioner of Pensions, Emberson indicates that he married Mary Jane Foster on 2 July 1865. The same Justice of the Peace (John Meridith) is listed on both records.
part of the 31 January 1898 reply of Emberson Randles (Company D, 51st Ohio Infantry) to the Commissioner of Pensions' request for personal information; digital image made from original record at the National Archives.

Which should be believed?

That's a good question. Aside from the slight variation in the spelling of his name, the only real difference between these documents is the last name of the bride.

Our initial conclusion might be that Mary was married previously and that Emberson was providing her "real maiden name" in his 1898 answers.  To call this a conclusion is a bit strong--conjecture may be a better word.

However, initial conclusions (or conjectures) can be incorrect and there is actually nothing in either document to suggest that Mary was married twice. The 1865 marriage record does not list her as "Miss" or "Mrs."

One would initially give more credence to the marriage record. After all, it was created the closest to when the actual event took place. The problem is that the piece of information that is inconsistent between the two documents is not the date, the place or the officiant, but the name of the bride. If the date, place or officiant were different, one would be inclined to view the marriage record as being correct.

What the difference indicates is that more work on this family needs to be done. It would be odd for Emberson to get his date, place, and "who married him" correct and remember incorrectly the maiden name of his wife.

Mary J. Randles as Mary J. Reynolds--One Day Off and One County Away

An earlier post challenged readers to find the death certificate for Mary J. Randles using information on her "drop pensioner" card.

The actual certificate for Mary illustrates some simple errors that researchers encounter in terms of dates and names when researching records. The "drop pensioner" card would likely be considered to contain secondary information on Mary's date of death.

Mary's name was Mary J. Randles--her husband was Embertson Randles.  The "drop pensioner" card indicated she was living in Malvern, Ohio, on 5 April 1932.

Searching for Mary took a little bit of time. The image with this post is her death certificate which was located on FamilySearch. These death certificates are indexed on the Ohio Historical Society's website. Mary was finally located by searching for women named Mary who died in April of 1932. When she could not be located in the county in which Malvern is located, adjacent counties were searched. That is how the index entry for this death certificate for Mary J. Reynolds who died on 4 April 1932 in Canton, Stark County, was located.

The name of the husband is "correct" and the name of the father matches information in her widow's Civil War pension application which is where the "drop pensioner" card was located.

The date of death only differs by one day--not a serious difference to be honest. Of course someone cannot die on two days and (without additional information) one would usually consider the death certificate to be more likely to be accurate than the date of death on the "drop pensioner" card.

New On FamilySearch-Mass. Land Records and More

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

Where Did Mary Randles Die?

This is the card used by the pension department to "drop" pensioners from the roll upon their death.

It indicates a date of death for Mary J. Randles, the wife of Emberson Randles, who was receiving a pension based upon his service.

The problems is that searching for her death certificate produced no results--at least initially. We've challenged our Facebook Fans of Genealogy Tip of the Day to find it as well.

Mary's death certificate is online at FamilySearch. The Ohio Historical Society also has an index to Ohio death certificates for the time period of interest as well.

We'll have an update shortly--along with the story of how her death certificate was actually found.

Stay tuned--or try searching for her yourself.

18 May 2013

Six Stubs For Teeth

I am making my way through the pension file of Emerson Randles of Coshocton County, Ohio. Emerson married a Mary J. Rampley whose first "appearance" in any record is on when they marry. The hope is that there is something in the pension file that provides some clues as to her family of origin.

But pension files can contain all sorts of clues. In Emerson's testimony about his health, he mentions numerous places where he was stationed, involved in skirmishes, or imprisoned. All these locations are somehow tied to some sort of illness or injury, which is the real focus of most of the lengthy statement  Emerson made in New Bedford, Ohio, on 18 June 1889. It is in this statement that Emerson states:

I had the scurvy so bad in Victoria Texas that I had to drink vinegar. My teeth began getting loose, and the gums to shrink soon after I came home and the teeth have dropped out one by one until I have only 6 stumps of teeth left, and they do not amount to anything.

This deposition was contained in Emerson's pension file which was located at the National Archives. The image used in this post was created from a digital scan made of the original deposition.

Even statements that appear to be entirely medically related can contain some good clues.Some of these details could be documented in Emerson's service record. In this case, I'm not going to obtain a copy of his service record as my real focus is on Emerson's wife and I don't think his service record will shed any light (bright, faint, or anywhere in between) on her family of origin.

But it was interesting to learn about Emerson's teeth--that's an image one doesn't even get from photographs during this time period as mouths in pictures from this era are usually closed.

15 May 2013

A Sledd at Camp Douglas

There are lots of little clues in this oath of allegiance for Joseph Sledd which appears in Ancestry.com's "Union Provost Marshals' Papers, 1861-1867" and was taken from the National Archives' Union Provost Marshals' File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilians, 1861–1867 (microfilm publication M0345, made from War Department Collection of Confederate Records, Record Group 109).

Joseph Sledd was of Bourbon County, Kentucky, when he made this declaration at Camp Douglas, Illinois, in February of 1865. Camp Douglas was a Union Army prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers.

Sledd's appearance in these papers means that there's probably more information on his military service. This reference may just be the beginning of information available on Joseph Sledd.

Sledd was a grandson of Thomas and Sally (Tinsley) Sledd, Amherst County, Virginia, residents who migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky in the very early 1800s. Sledd apparently survived his time at Camp Douglas and later returned to Kentucky.

Updated on FamilySearch-Indiana Marriages

Announced as updated since our last update:

14 May 2013

Separating Out Farms in the 1880 Agricultural Schedule

This image is from part of the 1880 U. S. Census agricultural schedule for Montebello Township in Hancock County, Illinois.

Adam Trautvetter (the intent of the Adam Trautfether) is enumerated twice in this census. The first entry is for the property he owned. The second entry is for property than he rented for a fixed amount (as opposed to to renting for a portion of the crops). The name of the landowner is not indicated.

There are two similar names on the bottom of this page as well (the Hansens)--one was a landowner and one was not. I originally wondered if this was a "repeat name" as well. It is not. A reading of the 1880 population schedule for Montebello Township indicates that there are enumerations for households headed by both a Sullivan and a William Hansen, indicating that the bottom entries are for different men. There was only one Adam Trautvetter in the 1880 census for Montebello Township.

I looked at quite a few agricultural enumerations in Hancock County and did not locate any "duplicate" entries similar to Trautvetter where the rented ground was separated out for a separate enumeration from the owned property. I also did not notice enumerees who indicated they had both owned and rented property. It might have been an unusual practice in 1880 in this area to farm both owned and rented property. I don't have an answer to that question. Adam's uncle Adam was deceased by 1880.

The instructions for the enumerator that I was able to locate did not answer the question: "was it standard practice to separate out owned from rented property in the 1880 agricultural census?"

I do not have an answer fr whether the double listing was common. What I did get a feel for when looking at the entries was how much of the county was farmed by the owner and how much was farmed by tenants.

One has to look at more than just the numbers--those tick marks mean something as well.

My Relatives--Adam and Eve

Many genealogists claim to be descended from Adam and Eve. Genealogies with claims of this type, stretching back to the beginning of time, usually have claims stretching fact into fiction as well. 

I'm not claiming to be descended from Adam and Eve. But I am claiming to be related to them. Well actually, I'm only related to Adam. Eve is a relative by marriage. 

This 1880 census enumeration lists the family of Adam and Eve--Trautvetter. The couple lived near Hamilton in Hancock County, Illinois, where Adam farmed. The couple's stone house still stands. And for the record, Eve's maiden name was Young/Yung. How ironic is that?

Adam Trautvetter was a first cousin to John Michael Trautvetter, my great-great-grandfather. This means that I'm not descended from Adam and Eve, but am merely a cousin. I've yet to make contact with any descendants of Adam and Eve, but I know there are quite a few out there. 

Note that Adam's mother is living with him in 1880--one doesn't usually expect to get back before Adam and Eve, but genealogical research is always surprising .

13 May 2013

His Estate Inventory Indicates He Is A Baptist

Estate inventories can tell researchers quite a bit about their families. Lists of your deceased ancestor's personal goods provide a glimpse into the mundane details of their lives, particularly during that era when every pot, pan, and book are inventoried. The genealogical clues usually concentrate on economic status and occupation.

Every once in a while something different will appear on a list of items, like this one from the estate of Samuel Sargent in Marlborough, Cheshire County, New Hampshire in 1819.

Samuel had one pew on the floor in the "Baptiste Meetinghouse," one pew in the gallery and half another pew on the floor. The values of the pews were also shown--the first pew shown here was value at $14.

Other papers in the file refer to Samuel as being of Dublin, New Hampshire. I'll have to do a little bit of work to determine which Baptist church this was, whether or not it is still in existence, and whether any records are extant.

Note: Samuel Sargent is my 5th great-grandfather.

12 May 2013

Preservation Past You

For some genealogists the search for information is not complete until that information and the conclusions derived from that information has somehow been preserved. A recent tip on Genealogy Tip of the Day, "Don't Rely On Your Will," simply stated my belief that preserving genealogical information is not as simply as putting a clause in your will indicating where your material is to be dumped (err..placed) after your death. Dumping your material on someone else is not an effective preservation strategy.

The question remains: "What should be done with your material to maximize the chance that it lasts as long as possible in a way that can be utilized by others?"  We'll be including some quick, short ideas in upcoming Genealogy Tip of the Day posts and may work on some longer posts on the topic for this blog and are always welcoming of suggestions as this is a topic that is near and dear to the hearts of many researchers.

11 May 2013

A Warning About Warnings Out

Research in a new area often causes the researcher to utilize new materials with which they are unfamiliar. At least it should cause the researcher to utilize materials that are outside their comfort zone.

As time allows I continue to research on my newly discovered New England ancestors. After twenty-five years of not knowing much at all, I discovered a few years ago that my Midwestern great-grandmother's ancestry is centered in New England, including families that were on the Mayflower.

In an attempt to document members of this family, I've been working on a Samuel Sargent who lived in Addison, Vermont in the very early 1800s. He appears in the town records as having received what is termed a "warning out."

from Volume 5, Births, Marriages, Deaths, Deeds, Town Records for Addison, Vermont, page 1--obtained on FamilySearch.com.

The image above contains the reference to Samuel, who along with his wife Sarah, appears in the Addison records as having several children before the date of this document. The summons make no mention of why Samuel was warned.

I've got several things to learn about these records and about Samuel in order to better understand this record:
  • Could there be any other records regarding this "warning," perhaps newspaper records?
  • What were some things that could cause the "warning."
  • What was the purpose of the whole "warning out" process?
  • Was a "warning" the same as being "kicked out?" The answer is no.
  • Is this really my Samuel Sargent or were there other Samuels in the area at the same point in time?
  • Are there any other references to Samuel Sargent or other Sargents in these records?
  • How are the records indexed?

Citation reminder: We are a strong believer 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. 

10 May 2013

Calderburgh Is Not Jackson Township

This is the database result for Amos Markley in the 1830 Census index at Ancestry.com. It indicates he lives in Caldersburgh, Coshocton County, Ohio.

The problem is that the indexer just used the "first" township that appeared on the census page. There are parts of two regions shown on this 1830 census page for Coshocton County-Calderburgh and Jackson Township.
The difference may be minor, but it always pays to actually read the image and being careful when reading that image and importing that information into your "tree."

This is one way that users get discrepancies in their information. It would be easy to conclude that Abraham was living somewhere that he was not.

Abraham is one of the men who purchased items from an 1823 estate sale in Coshocton County which I'm researching for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

09 May 2013

Updated On FamilySearch

This database is showing as "updated" since our last update:

New York, County Marriages, 1908-1935

I'm not certain if the percentage of counties has really changed.

08 May 2013

One More Thought On the Appearing Mary

One more possibility on Mary Rampley who "appears" in Ohio in 1865:

Mary might not be the first name under which I "know" her or have her listed in my records. It could be that I have information on her in my files before her 1865 marriage, but that it is under a different first name. 

One of my unstated assumptions about Mary Rampley was that her first name was "correct" on the marriage--or that it was the name she went by before her marriage.

This is turning into another good example of why writing is good for your genealogy research.

Thinking Out Loud About Citing FindaGrave

I'm still working on a comfortable framework for citing material I find on FindAGrave.

It seems to me that there are really two types of material on FindAGrave and that it might be worth my while to make some distinction between the photographs I find there and the textual material I find on the site.  Keep in mind, I may revise this viewpoint.

Photographs are fairly self explanatory and if they are high quality I can make a transcription myself from the picture--although my citation must clearly indicate that I viewed a picture and not the actual stone. We will assume that the stone is listed on FindAGrave in the right cemetery, although occasionally there are issues with that as well.

The textual material on FindAGrave memorials varies from simple statements that the person is buried there, to an actual transcription of the stone, to additional information on the individual that is not on the stone at all and is secondary in nature. The difficulty with the textual material is that if there is not a photograph of the stone as a part of the memorial, I do not know if the transcription is accurate. If the textual material is lengthy, I might not know where the transcription ends and something else begins.  The extra information is helpful (I want to make that clear), at least as a clue or as a lead, but if my goal is to cite what is on the stone (using FindAGrave) it muddies that water. My citation to any textual material on FindAGrave must indicate that that textual information came from the site and not the stone.

Stay tuned...

Crying, Clerking, and Whiskey at the Vendue

This image comes from the settlement of the estate of Thomas J. Rampley who died in Coshocton County, Ohio, sometime in 1823.

There are three references to the "vendue," specifically payments for the vendue that was held after Thomas' death.

There is a payment to Crispin Treadway for crying the vendue, to James Madden for clerking at the vendue and another payment for whiskey at the vendue. A vendue is simply another word for auction and it's a reference to the sale of household goods and farm items that took place after Thomas' death. "Crying" is simply indicating that Crispin was the auctioneer.

Whiskey at the auction was not unheard of during this time period. Whether it had a positive impact on prices or brought additional purchasers to the auction is another matter entirely.

A new word and new practice discovered in one document!

New or Updated on FamilySearch-New York County Naturalization Records

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980

07 May 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!

How Can I Fit Mary in the Rampleys?

It has been a while since I've given any thought to this Mary J. Rampley who married in 1865 in Coshocton County, Ohio.

One of the drawbacks to having an unusual last name is that people "stand out" when they cannot be placed in the family and researchers wonder who they are. Smiths do not stand out. Rampleys do. Mary is one of those individuals that has never been placed within the family.

Thomas and Christianna (DeMoss) Rampley and their children moved into Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1817. Married only fourteen years at the time, they had more children in Ohio until Thomas died sometime in 1823. It is believed that Mary fits into the Rampley family, but the question is where.

It is believed that, given her marriage in 1862, Mary is a grandchild of Thomas and Christianna. There are actually several possibilities:

  • Mary J. Rampley is a granddaughter of Thomas and Christianna Rampley. The Rampleys had two sons, James and John. James would have been married thirty-two years by the time Mary marries and had been in Illinois for nearly fifteen years. It doesn't seem likely that he is her father. John was in Indiana when he married in 1848 and it is possible that he was her father and that she remained in Ohio after he left. The Rampleys had several daughters and it is possible that Mary J. was their daughter before they married.
  • Mary J. Rampley was not actually a Rampley but was married to one before her marriage to Randles.
  • Mary J. Rampley comes from the Rampley family members who remained in Harford County, Maryland after Thomas and Christianna left and that, while a relative, is not a descendant of Thomas and Christianna.
  • The name "Rampley" is wrong on the license.
Theories do not do much good until research is completed. 

At this point, the best item to utilize is the Civil War pension for Emerson Randles and his eventual widow Mary.

The General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (available in several locations online) contains this card:

General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 index card for Emerson Randles, obtained on Ancestry.com.
Given that Mary received a pension, her widow's application may provide more details about her that shed light on her origins. And given that pension files can contain a wide variety of information, I think it's the next source I should utilize in searching for Mary.

Frankly, the last time I looked for any information on Mary was over twenty years ago when access to indexes and finding aids such as these was more limited.

Note: the author is a descendant of Thomas and Christianna.

New On FamilySearch

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

Buying Pilgrim's Progress in 1823

[click on image to view enlarged]
I love to read estate inventories and lists of purchases at estate sales. Aside from the handwriting, determining what the items are can be quite a challenge and the list of chattle goods can provide an interesting glimpse into the life of the person whose estate is betting settled.

This is a list of items Christianna Rampley bought at the estate sale of her husband which took place in Coshocton County, Ohio, in the fall of 1823. Widows having to purchase items from their deceased husband's estate is not uncommon. Christianna purchased the family Bible and prayer book along with a copy of  Pilgrim's Progress for 12 1/2 cents. I'm inferring from her purchase of these items and from the facts that there were several other  books in the Rampley estate inventory, that the Rampleys were literate. Among the other items Christianna purchased was a loom for $6.00.

She also bought a bottle and glass, a chain trammell, a stone pot and pickles, a bedstead and cord, and a heifer.

I can't quite make out the first item on the list of items she purchased.

Names of purchasers are usually neighbors, family members, and associates. Christianna's son James Rampley purchased items. Her son-in-law, James Shores, bought several items as well. Her brother John Demoss, and fellow native of Harford County, Maryland, Crispin Treadway, also purchased items.

And there is always Google and Google images to get a better idea of what some of these items were.

06 May 2013

World War 2 Draft Registration Card

This is the front of the World War 2 Draft Registration Card for my grandfather, John H. Ufkes.

I didn't include the back of the card in this blog post, but it includes physical information and a description.

FamilySearch has a few cards for men of this era, but in general these cards have to be requested from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Usually when someone thinks of a relative registering for the World War 2 draft, they think of someone approximately the age of this registrant--Granddad was 23 at the time he registered.

There is more information on requesting records of Selective Service from this era (men born before 1960) here.

This procedure is also how I obtained the registration card for my other grandfather who was born in 1903.

Will Ancestry.com's New Search Be "All That?"

[warning: opinion ahead]

Ancestry.com's website is trying to get me excited about their new search results. 

If they fix the problem I've been writing about for some time now, I'll get excited. 

Otherwise I doubt there will much to write about or get excited about.

This search (screen shot below) of all of Ancestry.com's "Immigration and Travel" databases constantly brings up "too many matches." I fail to see how there can be too many immigrants arriving between 1868 and 1872 whose first name begins with Sop* and whose last name begins with Tra*

I've been told by Ancestry.com that I need to search databases separately.

What is the point of a global search if I have to search each database one by one?

I also got a mild lecture from Ancestry.com on how Boolean searches work in one of my emails about this topic. I don't need lectures on Boolean logic---I want the search to work.

I endured Dr. Welch's lectures on Boolean logic while an undergrad at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Actually they were fine lectures and I also worked my way through a year of abstract algebra and a semester of real analysis in graduate school--lectures on how to construct Boolean searches are not what I need. I need searches that work.

04 May 2013

New Or Updated on FamilySearch

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Citing the Stone or the Site

I get a lot of use out of FindaGrave. But one needs to be careful how one cites information obtained from this source.

Do you clearly make a distinction of what was on the stone (your transcription) versus other biographical information provided on the site?

If you view the stone's picture on FindaGrave and transcribe that, then your citation should indicate that you saw the picture of the stone on FindaGrave. If you use additional information from the webpage--information that is not on the stone--then your should simply cite the site and not the stone. You do not want to indicate the stone provides information that it does not.

The FindaGrave page for one female ancestor lists her with her maiden name and her married name in the page title. The maiden name is not on her stone, which only contains her married name at death and her age. My transcription of the stone should indicate that I saw a photograph of her gravestone on FindaGrave, along with the name of the cemetery and the date. My transcription should use the name given for her on her stone, not the page title which includes the maiden name. This is because the maiden name is not on the stone.

If I want to use the FindaGrave page as a "source" for her maiden name (which I personally would not do), then I should cite the page at FindaGrave as that is where that information is located, not the stone.

And if you use the FindaGrave transcription instead of your own, you should cite the FindaGrave transcription, making it clear you did not read the stone yourself.

We will look at creating a set of example citations and posting them in a future blog post.

Three Four Dollar Webinars

We are excited to offer three of our most popular webinars at a $4 rate--don't wait as the sale ends at 11:5 p.m. 9 on 4 May 2013--extended one day for Rootdig fans/followers.

All presentations include the media presentation and handout. These are geared towards experienced beginner and intermediate researchers.

Seeing Patterns 

Genealogical research is all about patterns. In this presentation, see ways to see more patterns in the materials you have located and in how your ancestor lived in order to make the most out of the material you have.

Add Seeing Patterns to your cart here


Organizing information is key to genealogical research. This session is not about making family trees, fan charts, etc. It discusses a variety of charts to help you in your research and makes it clear that there may be a lot of ways you can chart your research that you never even thought about. This lecture is not about how to make "pretty trees with names." It's about helping you with your research

Add Charts, Charts, and More Charts to your cart here

Creating Research Plans

Organizing your research process is key to finding more information and researching as efficiently as possible. In this session, we will see through example how to create effective research plans and organizing research as it progresses forward.

Add Creating Research Plans to your card here

Questions? Email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

03 May 2013

A 1906 Christening in Coatsburg

This is another reason why I wish there were full-text searches (or full-on browse capabilities) in the digital images of church records of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) on Archives.com.

This baptismal entry is from the St. Peters Lutheran Church in Coatsburg, Illinois. The child being baptized in this entry is Tjode Anna Janssen, daughter of Friedrich and Bertha (Dirks) Janssen. Tjode Janssen was born on 12 November 1905 and was baptized on 29 December 1905. Her godmothers were Tjode Goldenstein and Anna Reuschel. The residence of the godmothers is not listed, but there's little doubt who the Tjode Goldenstein is--the name is fairly uncommon. Tjode Goldenstein is my great-grandmother. The Tjodes in this entry were first cousins as their mothers were sisters.

I found this entry while searching for various members of the Dirks family who attended this church. But the indexes are only to the names of the individuals being baptized, not to all the names on the records. Searching for family members in these records is one thing and was how I found my great-grandmother as th sponsor.  If Tjode was a sponsor for someone other than a family member, I'm not going to find it as I have no idea what the those names would be in order to search for their baptism. Tjode never lived in Coatsburg as her mother left after her marriage. I would never have thought to look for her in the records of a church she never attended in a town in which she never lived.

 It is still an interesting record. Now off to find other members of the Dirks family.

02 May 2013

US Pension Indexes Online at FamilySearch

This post ("US Pension Indexes Online at FamilySearch") was posted on our sister sister site Search Tiip of the Day today. We don't always post links to this site, but there are some good online finding aids there.

A While to File for Mrs. Kile

Nothing makes me notice things until I transcribe them. 

This image comes from a death certificate in Mercer County, Illinois, which was analyzed in issue 3-30 of Casefile Clues. I've had the copy of this certificate for fifteen years at least and never noticed the file date was a year after Lucinda died. 

I really don't think the delay is significant, but sometimes these things are. There was actually a find ($10) for filing a death late, but I'm uncertain whether the doctor had to pay the fine or not. I noted the difference in the dates in my analysis, but left it at that.

One should always look at file dates of documents as opposed to creation dates. If the gap is significant, determining the difference could be crucial to your research.

Or it could just be that the doctor was slow and lived a ways from the county seat.

01 May 2013

Is It Ancient History and Does it Matter?

There are times when I wonder if everything I locate in my research is something I should necessarily blog or write about. Sometimes even when one hundred years have past, relatives might not be too happy to find out certain things about their ancestors. It's one thing to find out your great-grandparents "had to get married." It's another to learn your great-great-grandpa tried to cheat his dying sister out of half her inheritance.

The problem is that I think just about every court record is interesting and has a story to tell--either about the individuals involved, or about the records and the legal process. One court case I'm reading through right now involves a land-owning father who died intestate in 1913. Within a few months of his death, an adult single daughter died without any descendants of her own. A year later, another daughter, this one married with no children and an apparent "no-good" husband, also dies.The quick succession of deaths of several individuals with no descendants before the estate of the father is settled sets up an interesting scenario.

This married daughter had been sick for some time before her death and (according to court documents) did not have the funds to provide for her care. In the months after her father's 1913 death, she sells her interest in her father's real estate to her brother. The problem is that she sells her interest for less than half what it is worth.

When the married daughter dies, there is not enough money left over to pay her the various expenses incurred during her illness. There would have been enough money according to court records if her brother had paid her what the farm was worth--or even a remotely reasonable price.

The end result in this is that there were essentially two lawsuits filed. The first was the widow and three of her daughters suing the brother to have the deed set aside. The second was the creditors of the deceased married daughter suing all the heirs of the married daughter--also to have the deed set aside.

I'm glossing over a few of the legal details here, but the point is: should I write about this in full when it looks like (on the surface at least) the brother stiffed his dying sister out of over half of her inheritance?

It's all a matter of public record and most likely was known by the family at the time. They all were involved in both lawsuits. I'm inclined to lay out the information as it is stated in the record. The issues of property ownership, inheritance, and "fairness" all come to play in these two court cases. Not to mention they list all the heirs scattered among four states.

I think once I have a few of the additional details about the case ironed out to my satisfaction, I will write about it. The records are ones that are public and it is not like I discovered a long-lost, secret diary in an old trunk in the attic containing unknown revelations that are scandalous.

UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946 and a CletHes Dealer

Users will need to determine the specific coverage for their own United Kingdom locations and time periods of interest, but Ancestry.com has released their "UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946."

The screen shot below shows a reference to Robert Frame in County Cumberland in the 1858 directory. Users should be careful just taking screen shots and saving those without obtaining any other information about the reference. I need to find out where in County Cumberland Annetwell Street is. In this case, I actually do know, but in locations with which one is unfamiliar, more than just "saving" specific images will need to be done.

It may also be helpful to me to view other pages of the directory to see if it contains additional background information.

I have the image number in this screen shot, but I really need the page number. I don't include image numbers in my citations. I'll need that (as well as the actual title page of the book) in order to create my citation to this reference to Robert.

This text has been automatically read. Otherwise how would Robert's occupation be listed as a "Clte.Hes" Dealer?

All search results were accurate as of the time and date of this original blog post.