30 June 2013

Do You Use Google Reader?

If you use Google Reader to view your Genealogy Tip of the Day, be aware that Google Reader goes away on 1 July.

Only Google Reader users will be impacted.

There's information on converting to another reader here.

If you would simply like to get these blog posts in an email, there is a subscription box on the right hand side of every page on our blog.

There's another article on the shutdown here.

29 June 2013

That Darned Keokuk Bridge and Library of Congress Pictures

The Library of Congress has wonderful pictures in their collection. Some may be great material to illustrate stories or records in your family history collection.

This image is of the Keokuk-Hamilton bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. I rode across it many times with my parents as a child. My dad hated driving across it and talking or misbehaving while on the bridge was forbidden. It was extremely narrow when meeting a semi (even when you were not meeting the semi on one of the "curves. I can remember my parents "pulling in the truck mirrors" while we crossed and I think there was at least one broken truck mirror as a result of meeting a semi

Traffic would stop on the bridge to let barges go through and I can remember getting "stuck" on the bridge waiting for a barge to cross. Sometimes we'd get out and walk on the bridge looking down at the water through the grate. The bridge does not have a solid concrete surface. It was always fun to look down at the water.

The bridge is still standing today and is used for railroad traffic. There is a newer bridge to the south which is used for highway traffic.

Keokuk--Hamilton Bridge,courtesy Library of Congress--heading east from Iowa side.
There is a set of pictures of the bridge on the Library of Congress website. There are thousands of pictures in the collection, just make certain your use of them is allowable.

There is a history of the bridge on the Library of Congress website as well--in PDF format.

Source information below:
  • Title: 15. GENERAL DECK VIEW, KEOKUK HIGHWAY APPROACH, LOOKING E TOWARD THE BRIDGE. PHOTOGRAPHER: ROBERT A. RYAN - Keokuk & Hamilton Bridge, Spanning Mississippi River, Keokuk, Lee County, IA
  • Medium: 4 x 5 in.
  • Reproduction Number: HAER IOWA,56-KEOK,1--15
  • Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted.(http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html)
  • Call Number: HAER IOWA,56-KEOK,1--15
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
  • Place:

A Challenge for Facebookers or G+ Users--Your Pedigree as a Cover

If you are on Facebook or G+ consider using your pedigree chart as your cover photo.
I used my Ancestry.com tree to quickly generate mine, but a screen shot from most software packages would do the trick as well.

Comment in the comments if you've added your own to your profile.

This image was made in RootsMagic, which granted us permission to use the image. Thanks!

27 June 2013

The Chinese Name of George Drollette

We've blogged about George Drollette before, but a search for him on Ancestry.com located "Certificate of Registration of American Citizen" which had not been located before.

I have seen George's several passports before and most of the information on this registration was repetitive of information contained on those records. However, there was something written in Chinese which has been circled in green in this first image.

I was not certain what the Chinese meant, but further down on the document it became clear. It was his Chinese name.

 A little backtracking on the  Ancestry.com site assisted me in determining the actual source of this material--the National Archives. George's "database results" screen from  Ancestry.com makes this clear (it was also reasonably clear on the first screen shot shown in this post as well):

What are these records?

The ARC ID for these records is 1244186.  Viewing that entry on the National Archives website  (the "Archival Descriptions Search" page for 1244186) provided more detail about the creator and location of the original records, which is partially included below:

Consular Registration Certificates, compiled 1907 - 1918
ARC Identifier 1244186 / MLR Number A1 548
Textual Records from the Department of State. Division of Passport Control. (08/13/1918 - 01/16/1926)
National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (Civilian), College Park, MD
Series from Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State, 1763 - 2002

The Scope and Content portion of the Archival Descriptions Search for 1244186 also provided background information on the records:

"This series contains certificates filed at U.S. consulates and legations by U.S. citizens intending to stay in a particular country for a considerable period of time. Each certificate contains the name of registrant, consulate at which he registered, his date and place of birth, general travel data, names and places of birth and residence of his spouse and children, and the registrant's current place of residence. An "Affidavit to Explain Protracted Foreign Residence and to Overcome Presumption of Expatriation" is part of the file for registrants who had resided outside of the United States for a long period of time."


Ancestry.com frequently adds new material. It is difficult to keep on top of it all. While I do have concerns about the compiled data, images and databases such as these can provide the user with new information. 

It won't always be your relative's Chinese name however. 

No citation here?

Our general citation philosophy on Rootdig:

I'm a strong believer in citations and in my work (and in Casefile Clues) I cite material in the spirit of Evidence Explained. Here on the Rootdig blog, I have a different philosophy. Posts made here have enough information that the reader could locate where the material was obtained.

26 June 2013

How We Cite on Rootdig; Why It's Not Called the Edicts of Evidence Explained and Why EE Is a Text

I'm a strong believer in citations and in my work (and in Casefile Clues) I cite material in the spirit of Evidence Explained. Here on the Rootdig blog, I have a different philosophy. Posts made here have enough information that the reader could locate where the material was obtained. I realize that others believe that citations on blog posts should be similar to citations used in the spirit of Evidence Explained in order to provide a model for blog readers. They are entitled to their opinion, but at the end of the day their names are not on this blog.

Those who have read Evidence Explained know that citations are basically done for two reasons: getting to the source that was used and assisting in the evaluation of the source that was used. That point is made several times throughout the text of the citation guide. It really is about the analysis of the material being cited.

And the guide is meant to be a guide (it's not called the Edicts of Evidence Explained for a reason). Elizabeth Shown Mills will tell you that the book is a guide (or at least I'm pretty certain she will say that). She'll also tell you (or at least she said it in her class at IGHR) that there are some basic types of records experienced researchers should know how to cite from memory.

I'm not expecting readers of this blog to be able to do that. I have to look things up myself from time to time. I can't always remember where my car keys are.

I try and make this blog as engaging as possible. Formal citations do put a few people "off" and I try and be as inviting on this blog as possible. Readers who really want to see the original document can ascertain that information by actually reading the entire blog post. If there's a legitimate detail missing to the post, I'll add it. Most readers probably are not all that interested in seeing the original--our posts here tend to explain briefly how to obtain, use, and interpret a specific record. We also, in the text of our posts, discuss the importance of knowing what source is being used--usually through pitfalls one can fall into when analysis is superficial. More details about many of these records are often explained in the newsletter--where we do cite everything completely and accurately.

That analysis emphasizes the importance of citation--and that's one of the goals of this blog. Those who want to learn how to craft citations accurately and completely should check out Evidence Explained. My copy is getting worn--and I do prefer the actual print form to the electronic format. Don't try and convince me to give it up. I won't.

Some of my colleagues would cringe at the thought, but my copy has writing all over it. I view Evidence Explained as a textbook--one to be used and "marking it up" is one way that I use it and learn from it.

A bbl?

Estate inventories are great for occasionally including an item that makes no sense to the reader. Even sometimes those of us who have read quite a few of these encounter an item or a reference that makes us wonder if we are interpreting the item correctly. It is worse when the handwriting is clear. It is easier to blame our confusion on poor handwriting on the part of the clerk. I really cannot do that here. 

I think I know what the "bbl" reference to is in this estate sale from  Linn County, Iowa, in 1867, but am curious what readers think it could be a reference to.  The complete image is shown below.

Sale Bill from Belinda Newman probate file, case file packet 570, Linn County , Iowa; digital image made from Family History Library microfilm 
We've already discussed the galvanic battery that appeared in this estate record.

25 June 2013

Newspapers Do Not Always Get it Right--But They Do Get It

This reference to a 1914 partition suit reminds us that newspapers may supplement what is in court records and may be all that exists if records have been misfiled or destroyed.
Quincy Daily Journal, 3 June 1914, page 12--digital image  on  http://www.quincylibrary.org 

Of course, newspapers also get details incorrect. The paper states that "Heipke Dirks, Lena Janssen, and Anna Goldenstein, all of Palmyra, Mo., are children of Bernard Dirks..."

Minor error there--actually two.

  • Heipke Dirks was the wife of Bernard Dirks not his child.
  • Dirks, Janssen, and Goldenstein did not live in Palmyra, Missouri. All were Adams County, Illinois, residents. Another daughter--unnamed in this newspaper account--lived in Palmyra.
Newspapers don't always get it right. But...if I had not been aware of this court case, the newspaper reference would have been a big help.

Webinar Sale-through Tonight

We're running our 60% sale on webinars--23-25 June 2013.

 Coupon code "sixty" at check out will reduce your order by 60% through 11:59 PM central time 25 June. 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.

Receiving Receipts

Receipt signed by Anna Goldenstein, 16 December 1924, obtained from Family History Library microfilm copy of court packet.

Receipts are sometimes overlooked by genealogists. They shouldn't be.

This 1924 receipt tells me that Anna Goldenstein was alive on 16 December 1924 and that she received a "distributive share" in the court case referenced on the receipt. For those of us who like to collect ancestral signatures, receipts are a great way to do that.

For those who are struggling with ancestral problems, receipts can help with that as well. This receipt does not provide residential clues for Anna Goldenstein directly, but there is a clue. This file contains over fifteen receipts and several have out-of-state locations written on them--and some do not. While it is not "proof," the absence of any "out-of-state" location on Anna's receipt should cause the researcher to begin looking for her in Adams County. It always pays to look at all the items, not just the one that is of immediate interest. Comparing Anna's receipt to others in the file helps me see how hers is the same and how it is different.

Of course Anna Goldenstein is not the most common name, but had the name been a common one the potential residential clue would have been helpful.

And, if I'm using "lack of a location" on the receipt as the basis for my assumption she was living in Adams County, Illinois, (or very near to it) in 1924, I should include that in my research notes and not just leave the thought in my head.

And I should cite the source. In these blog posts, we're not including complete citations--but there is enough information in the post for the researcher who wants to create the citation to do that.

New on FamilySearch-New Hampshire Materials

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

New Hampshire, Naturalization and Probate Records, 1643-1948

23 June 2013

Do You Review Your Conclusions?

The text that follows is part of ann 1826 deed that was transcribed and discussed in a recent issue of Casefile Clues.

[taken from Nicholas County, Kentucky, Deed  Book G: 560; FHL microfilm 252370.]
"...said Augusta Newman for and in consideration of One hundred and Twenty dollars in him [sic] paid by the said William Sledd, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged Hath granted bargained and sold and by these presents doth grant bargain sell alien and confirm unto the said William Sledd his heirs and assigns all the right title interest and claim he the said Augusta now hath as her [sic] of his father [sic] Thomas Sledd Decd in and to the tract of land said Thomas Sledd died seized and possessed of..."

When the deed says "his father" I originally assumed the reference was to Augusta Newman's father and that the deed simply left out the phrase "in-law" after the word "father." 

Now I am wondering if, when the deed says "his father," it is referring to William's father and not Augusta's father. 

Thomas was William's father and, while slightly odd, the reference would be correct.

How often do you review your conclusions?

20 June 2013

I Don't Think They Signed It

Signatures in record copies of wills and deeds made before photoreproduction was possible are not original signatures. They are handwritten copies. In original records, particularly materials contained in packets of court papers, one would expect that signatures are of the individual named in the signature.

Not always. 

This final page from a bill of complaint in a 1914 court case from Adams County, Illinois, makes the point. Or at least I think that it does. 

The first four names listed (Heipke Dirks, Lena Janssen, Anna Goldenstein, and Mary Heidbreder) are a mother and three of her daughters. The signatures look similar and the Goldenstein signature looks significantly different from a signature known to have been hers from a few years later. 
Final page of the bill of complaint in a case initially heard in the Adams County, Illinois, Circuit Court in June of 1914--Heipke Dirks, etal. versus Bernhard Dirks etal.

Anna Goldenstein's signature from the 1921 Adams County probate case for her son, Henry:

The initial "G" in "Goldenstein" is noticeably different in the 1921 signature.

The signatures from the 1914 document appear to have been made by the same person, probably the attorney.

Discerning readers will notice that the letter "e" is written differently in various places in the 1914 document. Stay tuned for a future post--we think we've got that figured out as well.

19 June 2013

FamilySearch Updates: DE and ID

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last posting:

Here A Clark, There A Clark

There are two birth entries for apparently the same Clark Sargent in Ancestry.com's  Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908. The cards are shown below in this post. 

The details on the cards are consistent except for the supposed location of the birth and the fact that the card from Leicester indicates a registration year of 1809, three years after the birth. The names of parents and the mother's residence is the same. The clerk from Leicester makes a note about the recording date of the birth, perhaps hinting that it did not actually take place in his jurisdiction.

These cards are not the original records. They were created by the town clerks and sent to the State of Vermont. My next step is to try and obtain the actual town records from which these cards were created. That may explain the duplicate nature of the cards.

It may be that the family moved between 1806 and 1809 and did not believe that Clark's birth was actually recorded. Since I may be able to obtain additional information from the town clerk, it's best to avoid speculation at this point.

But, it is always important to know exactly how the information obtained came into existence.

One person cannot be born in two places.

FamilySearch Updates: DE, IL, MO, TN

New or updated on FamilySearch:

18 June 2013

Twenty Years From Now I'll Be Done

The longer I am involved in genealogy, the less inclined I am to read articles about genealogy written by non-genealogists that claim to have made some "discovery" about genealogy or to have noticed a "trend" in family history. A recent article on The Verge indicated that in twenty years the pursuit of family history will be "different" and all the problems will be solved.

Please. Most of these articles in the general media are not written by individuals with a serious sense of what is going on in family history. At the very best these articles include interviews and opinions of genealogists and others "in the know." At the very worst, they include only quotes from press releases from the major genealogical vendors. Most articles fall somewhere in between.

The article in The Verge claims that there will be no genealogy questions without answers in twenty years. One needs to take care in making suck sweeping statements.

I'm still waiting for the arrival of the paperless office and for calculators to improve the math skills of the general population. I'm also still waiting for the United States to adopt the metric system.

Family history is changing, but to think that all the questions will be solved and answered in twenty years indicates a lack of understanding about what family history is and perhaps a mindset similar to the "type it in and the answer will come" marketing approach of certain genealogical data providers.

There have been changes in genealogical research with the advent of the internet, but having been involved in research actively for thirty years, I fail to see answers coming to every question.

What is changing about genealogy is that the way researchers access some information. Some information that is, not all. Despite claims of all information being online, there are still significant collections of genealogically relevant material that are only available in paper format. Will some of these collections eventually be digitized? Yes. There are others that may not be converted to digital format for some time, if ever. In twenty years, every piece of paper created by humans will probably not be available online. And there's always the chance that that one piece of undigitized paper holds a key piece of evidence to a genealogical mystery. That's the reality of genealogy research.

There are indexes now to records that genealogists never dreamed of twenty years ago. It is significantly easier to access some records via any internet connection and it is much easier to share/broadcast compiled information that ever before. Indexes and finding aids allows all of us to find some pieces of material that would have  been impossible before.

Indexes do not tie individuals together. Finding aids do not reach research conclusions. And large databases of compiled genealogies often contain numerous errors, some of which are obvious and some of which are not. Easy access to data and information does not necessarily mean that conclusions will be more accurate than before. And even if there is an index that leads the researcher to a 17th century Virginia land patent, that patent still needs to be analyzed and correlated with other information.

And some of those records containing clues on an ancestor may not even mention the ancestor. Indexes and finding aids do not locate those "unwritten" references that are sometimes the biggest clues. And indexes and finding aids do not indicate to the research which John Smith is yours and which is not.

I tend to view these finding aids and indexes as calculators and computing devices. These tools can make those who know how to use them more efficient. The tools themselves do not make anyone a better student or mathematician. We've had calculators for years and math skills of most students linger at the same level they have for decades. Research is about more than simply performing quick lookups in an index and assuming that the "same person" has been found.

I'm excited about the future of genealogy research. The tools I have now have helped me to answer questions that I thought I would never answer. But answers have left me with more questions and new tools allow us to ask questions we never could have dreamed of twenty years ago.

I still expect to be looking for answers to family history questions in twenty years. Typing a name in a box and getting all the answers is not going to happen. For that to work, every compiler submitting information would have to be correct in every instance.

And none of us do that.

In 2033, I see myself working on family history questions and untangling families using records I might not have had easy access to before.

New/Updated on FamilySearch-OH and CT

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Ohio, Trumbull County Court Records, 1795-2010
New Hampshire, Cheshire County, Probate Estate Files, 1886-1900

10 June 2013

A Boston Account of the 1902 Troutfetter Arrest

It has been a while since we've written about Philip Troutfetter the member of the Trautvetter clan who got himself in a little trouble while on his jetsetting ways.
undated photo of Philip Troutfetter, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society

But it is not often I find mention of my relatives in the pages of the Boston Globe, so we thought we'd share this item from 1902. This is the first reference to his arrest that I have located in a Boston newspaper. Previous items have been from papers further removed from the actual location of his arrest.

The transcript that follows comes from the Boston Globe, 10 April 1902

Caught at last.

Troutfetter arrested in this city today.

Was wanted as a witness in Cuban postal fraud cases.

Charge is larceny from Western woman.

Sheriff is coming from Colorado Springs.
Much-wanted man was cashier of a Federal-St. restaurant.
                Phillip A. Troutfetter, whom the war department was at one time very anxious to secure as a witness against Rathbone and Neeley in the Cuban postal frauds, was arrested this noon on a charge of larceny preferred by a woman of Colorado Springs. Troutfetter has been for nearly a year acting as the cashier of a Federal-st restaurant, and he was arrested at the desk by Inspector Abbott and Supt. Leith of the local Pinkerton agency.
                For over a week Chief Watts and Supt. Leith have been gathering information to confirm their suspicions that the man known here as A.P. Taylor was the Troutfetter for whom the sheriff of Colorado Springs has been searching since the summer of 1898. This morning Sheriff A. B. gilbert telegraphed the necessary proof and requested the arrest, stating that an indictment had been found and that he would come to Boston at once for the prisoner.
                Troutfetter is 36 years old, and, according to what is written by the authorities of Colorado, he was for several years acting as a broker in Colorado Springs, doing a general mining business. Among his customers was Emeline Baker, who had $5000 to invest.
                She gave Troutfetter the money in a lump sum on April 3, 1898, authorizing him to invest it in whatever securities he considered the most desirable.
                It is alleged that Troutfetter did not make the investment as instructed, but kept the money. A short time afterward he placed his business in the hands of his brother and left. By the time Mrs. Baker appreciated that her money was gone it was impossible to find the missing broker.
                He was supposed to be in the west, but it seems that immediately after the United States took control of Havana, Jan 1, 1899, he went there. He became acquainted with Neeley before he went to Cuba, and they were very close friends.
                When Neeley secured the position in the postal department under Rathbone be placed Troutfetter in a subordinate position. The two were companions, and it is said that Troutfetter was so closely associated with Neeley that he knew all about the latter’s fraudulent transactions in the Cuban Stamps that were being redeemed.
                When discovery was threatened Troutfetter is said to have been with neeley when the latter attempted to destrou, and did succeed in burning much of the evidence against him. In the publicity following the arrest of neeley, Troutfetter became prominent, and then the Colorado authorities endeavored to obtain his arrest.
                The war department was equally desirous of having him where he could be summoned to testify against Rathbone and Neeley at the trial, but when they wanted him he could not be found. He was later traced to South America.
                He returned to this country a little over a year ago, and his presence in several cities of the middle west and in New York was known to the Pinkerton men, but before they could get the authority to make the arrest Troutfetter disappeared.
                Although it is said that $5000 was given to Troutfetter by Emeline Baker he has been indicted for the lareeny of only $1500.
                When arrested this afternoon he said that he had transacted some business for Mrs. Baker, but that the matter was an old one.
                “I thought it was settled long ago,” said he.
                He was arraigned in the municipal court and held in $2000 for examination April 17, in order to give Sheriff Gilbert time to reach here with the requisition papers.
Troutfetter is unmarried, and said that he only intended to remain in Boston a short time. 

Long-time readers of the blog will know that Philip was eventually exonerated of the charges brought against him by Baker. Troutfetter was born in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois, and is a first cousin to the author's great-great-grandfather.

Maybe there are some records in Boston of his arrest, but that will have to wait. It is not often one encounters a relative quite as colorful as Philip.

New or Updated on FamilySearch-FL, MN, Confederate, VT, and WI

New on FamilySearch since our last update:

09 June 2013

A Declaration in an Incomplete Homestead Application

This declaration of intention to become a citizen was made out by John H. Ufkes in August of 1871 in Hancock County, Illinois.

But that's not where I located this copy of John's intent as the county's record of these intents from the 1870s are no longer extant.

This declaration was in John's incomplete homestead application file for land in Franklin County, Nebraska. In order to start the homestead claim process, John had to show that he at least had started the naturalization process. If he had completed his homestead claim in Nebraska, he would have had to have been a citizen by the time was time to submit final proof for his claim.

Because John did not remain on this homestead, the claim was never finalized and there is no paperwork in the file on John past 1871.

Did your ancestor start a claim and not finish it? There still may be excellent information in the file even if the claim was never completed.

This image is from the cover of the packet of papers that comprises John's incomplete claim.

Researchers familiar with the records will know that there's enough information in this image so that anyone could obtain the complete file from the National Archives. It's posted as a reminder that we don't include formal citations in this blog, but do include enough information in every post so that the original information could be located.

John returned to Hancock County, Illinois, where he married and eventually naturalized.

08 June 2013

Organizing Genealogical Information-Summer 2013

Need to grow your research skills this summer? Consider taking our homework optional class!

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 3— Constructing 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 4— Problem Solving Chart (problem-solving techniques not discussed in previous lectures)– pick your own problem
Register via this link.

Lecture downloads:
  • 17 June
  • 24 June
  • 8 July
  • 15 July

  • 19 June 8:45 PM Central
  • 26 June 8:45 PM Central
  • 10 July 8:45 PM Central 
  • 17 July 8:45 PM Central

Lectures and discussions will be via GotoMeeting.

Register via this link.


Returned from Salt Lake

Those of us who took the California Zephyr from Salt Lake City to Illinois returned home yesterday from what I think was an enjoyable and fruitful research trip for all of us.

One of the things I was reminded of on this trip was the importance of utilizing offline sources and of going back and looking at things you might have researched early in your research. A couple of items I researched decades ago I never researched fully and in doing so during my trip I gained quite a bit of information.

I tried to find a relative in online passenger lists while at the library and realized that my time would better spent doing something else while at the library, despite how much I wanted to find both my Wihelmina Trautvetters. I could search the online databases at home and I really needed to sort through and organize what I had on both of them in order to search effectively. That organization could be done at home--and not at the library.

I made quite a few finds and gathered new information for blog posts and newsletters. Stay tuned.

And if you'd like to join us in 2014, there will be future updates as we finalize those details. Our group is one of the smaller ones that does to Salt Lake and, while the hotel would like us to fill more rooms, I intend to keep it that way. Everyone this way has time to ask questions if they are inclined and it's easier to interact with everyone in attendance.

I can't wait to go back, but I have to organize what I've found first.

05 June 2013

New or Updated on FamilySearch

The following is showing as new or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Idaho, Lincoln County Records, 1886-1972

Galvanic Battery Will Cure You

Until I read through estate settlement of Melinda/Belinda Newman in Linn County, Iowa, I had never seen a galvanic battery in an estate inventory.

This advertisement, located on Genealogybank.com, indicated (as one of our blog respondents mentioned) that the battery was probably used as a "cure" for that which ailed a person.

Date: Monday, August 12, 1850  

Paper: Springfield Republican (Springfield, MA)   

Page: 2  obtained on 

A blog reader even posted a link to pictures of these devices.

It's not often we get proof of our ancestors trying to use "cure-alls." Just goes to show that one never knows what one will discover.

04 June 2013

A Galvanic Battery

The estate settlement of Belinda/Melinda Newman in rural Linn County, Iowa, in the 1860s lists an item that I do not normally see during this time period:

a galvanic battery

Sale Bill from Belinda Newman Estate, Linn County Iowa, probate case files 570; digital image obtained on FamilySearch.

I'm going to show my ignorance and ask what would a nearly seventy year old widow living by herself need with a galvanic battern in 1869?

My Oldest Brother is About Fifty

Often we can predict with some certain what information will be contained in a record.

And other times we cannot.

The image in this blog post is part of a petition to begin the process of administration upon the estate of Melinda/Belinda Newman who died in Linn County, Iowa, in 1867. I neglected looking at the records for years because I really didn't think that her probate file would provide me with any significant information. 

The form of this document was unexpected. A listing of her heirs was no surprise. To find their approximate ages was.

Melinda's husband Augusta died in White County, Indiana, in 1861. Many of her children had left Indiana by then and within a short time after her death, she moved to Linn County, Iowa. I had concluded she lived with a child and that she would really have no estate to probate. I also assumed that she did not purchase any real estate.

She owned a little farm and actually had one of her sons build her a home on the property--all of which is documented in the estate file.

And there's a few other neat details as well.

Stay tuned.

03 June 2013

New or Updated on FamilySearch

New or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Did They Copyright My Relative's Quilt?

In February, I posted a picture of a quilt in a museum that was made by my aunt. The posting of the picture was done with the permission of the library that has possession of the quilt in their collection.

I asked Judy G. Russell to comment on copyright issues regarding pictures of art and other similar items. Judy posted a discussion of the concept on her The Legal Genealogist blog today in an entry called "Copyright and the quilt."

Signatures of the Mother and Nine Children

My uncle, Henry Goldenstein, died in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1921. A single man, he left no children and, based upon what I was lead to believe, there was little estate to probate. 

I almost didn't even bother to look for a record of his probate, but came upon an index entry to it while attempting to review estate information on his parents. On a whim I decided to view the file from Adams County, Illinois.

As I suspected, there was not really too much in the estate packet.

However, there was this little gem which was signed as a part of the record:

The signature of my great-great-grandmother and her nine children who survived after Henry's death. My great-grandmother, Tjode Habben, also signed the document.

Not earthshattering, but a neat discovery from the estate files of Adams County, Illinois, in 1921.

01 June 2013

Updated List of Genealogy Webinars

I've updated the list of my genealogy webinars here. Take a look and see if there is something there to help with your research.

That was easier than running the whole list through the blog.

A Neighbor Boy Dreams of Death at the Keokuk-Hamilton Bridge

It difficult to imagine what a family goes through when a relative goes missing unless one has experienced it personally. I had seen newspaper references to Theodore Trautvetter's 1890 disappearance before, but those references had been in a newspaper in a larger town nearly forty miles away and had been highly summarized.

I knew that I needed to get an account from a newspaper that was more local. I still need to look in additional newspapers, but the Burlington, Iowa, newspaper had an interesting piece about Trautvetter's disappearance that discussed what was believed about him initially and some of the efforts that were undertaken to locate him.

Burlington Hawk-Eye 24 January 1890

Was He Murdered?
A Hancock county Farmer has been missing since the 14th inst.
He has either committed suicide through insanity or has been murdered – fears of the latter – a strange story.

Hamilton, Ill., Jan. 23. – Theodore Troutfetter, a well to do farmer residing near Warsaw, located about five miles below this place, has been missing since the 14th of this month. He came to Warsaw on that day with a load of wheat and, having disposed of the same, left his team hitched to a rack in the streets of Warsaw and then disappeared. It was generally thought that he had gone to Keokuk, but a vigorous search of that city failed to reveal his whereabouts. The family, becoming alarmed, offered rewards and have had searching parties out since the unsortunate man disappeared. It is now believed that Troutfetter, if not a suicide from insanity, has been the victim of foul play.
                Yesterday several of Troutfetter’s neighbors came to this place in company with a young boy who is said to have known the missing man intimately. The boy was placed under mesmeric influences by a local expert in that business, and is said while in this condition to have related a remarkable story to the effect that he saw Troutfetter leave Warsaw on the afternoon in question in a wagon in company with two or three other men. He described their passing through the thick timbered road between Warsaw and Hamilton, and saw them pass through Hamilton and go upon the dyke that leads to the Hamilton entrance of the bridge. At this point in the young man’s story he became much excited, exclaiming that blood could be found upon the approaches to the bridge, and that Troutfetter’s body lay in the river.

                Men began to drag the sloughs and river on the Illinois shore early yesterday afternoon, but up to a late hour to-night have found no traces of the missing Troutfetter. It is said that evidences of what seem to be human blood were this evening discovered on some rocks near the bridge, which report seems to heighten the idea in some minds that Troutfetter has been murdered. There is considerable excitement over the affair and it is hoped that the ugly mystery will be solved in a short time. Hamilton’s citizens are too sensible to believe in any sort of spiritual manifestation. Murder will out – if it is murder – and the sea will cast up its dead if it be suicide. 


Trautvetter was eventually located and returned home, and at some point before his return he wrote a letter to the bank in Warsaw telling them that his wife could access money from his accounts there. 

But it's difficult to imagine how the family felt during that point in time when their was no news about his whereabouts. And that last sentence, "Murder will out – if it is murder – and the sea will cast up its dead if it be suicide" had to have been difficult for family members to read. 

I still need to look in Warsaw and other Hancock County, Illinois, newspapers for additional details on this story.

Theodore's a brother of John Michael Trautvetter, my great-great-grandfather.

Continuing to Chart out the John and Roseanne (Neill) Scott Family of NewtownLimavady and Environs

This is a Google document that I've created based upon the entries I located in FamilySearch's Irish databases for children born to a John Scott and Roseanne (Neill) Scott in County Derry, Ireland.

The intent is to locate a copy of all the records that were used to create these index entries. The results from my searches were not easy to use, so I made a chart with essential information--including the call number for the microfilm.

I'm still working on getting a few materials and even noted one name that I cannot find again, but am hoping that I simply have forgotten how I searched for that one reference.

I've got a hard copy of the chart that I'm using at the library and am updating as I get time.

So far, no major discoveries, but it is always advised to get the original material upon which these entries are based--to make certain the transcription was correct and complete. So far, I've only learned that John was an laborer. But the entries have been correct and it's good to know that I have the transcriptions correct as well.