Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The U is an N

It never hurts to switch out those "u"s for "n"s, especially when dealing with printed materials that have been digitized.

This search for trantvetter at GenealogyBank resulted in some hits. Trautvetter isn't the most common name in the first place, but 24 is better than nothing!

Are there letters you should be switching out?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Restricted to Locations Not Working at

[note: as of 20 December 2011 this search IS working and the errors reported below are no longer occuring.]
Maybe I'm confused or maybe the searches at are not working the way they are supposed to. I hope someone can point me to the error of my ways.

I'm trying to search for all individuals with the surname of Green in Linn County, Missouri, in the 1870 census as part of the analysis for an upcoming Casefile Clues article. The problem is that I'm getting more results than just those in Linn County.

I think I have everything set to exact so that I would only get matches in Linn County.

There are four screens that follow. The first three are screen shots of my search parameters. The last one is the results page that I got. If something is set incorrectly, I really hope someone can help me out--maybe I can't see it because it is late.

The search results screen includes results from Pennsylvania and states besides Missouri. 

However, if I'm not wrong---I wish would get the search fixed. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan, but not being able to interact with the data in the way I think I am is confusing.

Clark or Tark--Which Is It?

This image was on the Daily Genealogy Transcriber yesterday.

Pretty clearly the last name is Clark.

Not to fault, but just to point out, has it indexed as "Tark."

Just something to think about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

User Guide to the FamilySearch Website

If you are not familiar with all the aspects of the FamilySearch website or just need a refresher, there is a PDF document on the FamilySearch site that may help.

Some of it is pretty basic, but just scanning the table of contents might be a good idea--even for old timers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Search for What You Know Is In the Database

When experimenting with new search techniques,or just to make certain the site works "the way you think it does" search for a record you know is in the database--but use different search techniques or parameters. Experimenting for other ways to find the already located entry is an excellent way to learn new search techniques.

And remember, when performing a Soundex search on any English language database, there should always be a Soundex match for "smut."

Cyber Monday Discount on Recorded Genealogy Lectures

25% off on all recorded genealogy webinars today! Code and webinar descriptions at

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do Keyword Searches At Need Caps or Exact or What?

I'll be honest---internet searching has made me lazy with capital letters, often times the case of the letter is ignored. 

I'm searching the 1860 census at nationwide for a William and Matilda Rhodus for an upcoming Casefile Clues article. For reasons that aren't really germane to this post, I searched for William Rhodes as shown below with a keyword of "matilda." This would catch households that had a William Rhodes and a Matilda. I had the exact box checked as shown in this post.

The search came up empty, although I knew there was at least one household in Breckinridge County, Kentucky with a William Rhodus and a Matilda in it as I had already found it.

Yet there were "no results."

When I changed the keyword to "Matilda"I still got no result.

Putting Matilda Rhodus in the keyword box worked with exact checked.
Moral of the story--on the keyword uncheck exact.
And experiment.

We may have additional posts on this topic.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Steady Sledd in Indexes Do Not Equate to FamilySearch

Don't always assume that and FamilySearch are using the "same index." The indexes to the same materials could have been created separately. They do NOT share indexes.

A good example of this was a search I recently conducted for Joshua Sledd in the 1852 California Census

The California 1852 State Census at transcribed his last name as Stedd--as shown in the image below:

FamilySearch indexed the name as Sledd as shown:

It is easy to see how the name was read in both ways when one sees the image.

And the whole reason for the post?

I found Joshua in the 1852 Census index on FamilySearch--which does not have the images.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Are you in the habit of performing an advanced search on for the first/last name of each  husband/wife pair in your genealogy?

I've made quite a few unexpected discoveries doing just that.

Google it to Find it on

I'm impatient and I don't make bookmarks.

I'm not a huge fan of the catalog and search at, of which I am a member. If there is a database I've used there before and I want to find again, I usually search for it on Google.

In the Google search box:

  • missouri marriage index
  • iowa state census
Works wonders to get to those things I know I've used before, but am too lazy to create a big 'ol set of bookmarks for.

My Blogs

For those who don't know, I have three daily sites:

I also have two other blogs:

Rootdig--also free where I blog about general research ideas, things that confuse/frustrate/irritate me, etc. --

Casefile Clues--where I blog about things I'm working on for my newsletter Casefile Clues--


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Genealogy Webinar Topics for December 2011

We've announced our schedule of genealogy webinars in December of 2011. Registrants who are unable to attend can receive (at no charge) download links for the recorded webinar and handout.

Topics include:

  • More Brick Walls from A to Z
  • Constructing Families from pre-1850 Census Records
  • American Naturalization Records Before 1920
  • Sarah and Susannah: Two 18th Century Virginia Woman and Their Property
Each webinar is $8 or you can sign up for all 4 for $28.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Patents on the Bureau of Land Management Site

One good way to potentially if your ancestor had War of 1812 military service in the US is to search and see if a warrant was issued in his name at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website.

Many of the men who were veterans of that war and were living in the 1850s qualified for land that was made available to them at that time. These veterans were given a warrant for a stated number of acres, which could be exchanged for a patent that would give title to a specific piece of federal land. Many veterans never actually claimed any land, instead they sold their warrant to someone who actually wanted to settle.

So your ancestor who never left Kentucky may have a warrant for land based on his War of 1812 service for property that was patented (actually located) in Iowa. The same holds for a veteran from New York State.

When searching the warrants at the BLM site, don't restrict the state. Are you CERTAIN your ancestor's warrant wasn't used to obtain property elsewhere?

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Webinars for Download and Discount Offer

Webinars on the Bureau of Land Management Site and DeedMapper were released today on our website. Thanks to our low overhead, copies of webinars are moderately priced at around $8.50 per download, a third of what others charge.

We also released recently webinars on Using's Census, Seeing Patterns, and other topics.

There is more information and ordering details at:

Save $1 per webinar by using the coupon code tipoff

Pre-Emption Claims on BLM (Bureau of Land Management Site)

Preemption claims will not always be noted as such on the results page at the BLM site.

The search results for John Lake in Chariton County, Missouri, simply indicates the patent was issued as a cash sale as is seen in the screen shot below. There is no mention that it is a preemption claim.

But looking at the actual patent indicates it is a preemption claim by the notation in the upper left hand corner of the patent.
Preemption claims tend to contain more detail in their patent files at the National Archives than do cash sales. John's mentions a few things about his settlement and family, in addition to including testimony from a neighbor. His claim was discussed in more detail in an issue of Casefile Clues

This was one of many aspects of the BLM site that was discussed in my recent webinar on searching the site

But don't assume what is indicated is a cash sale is a cash sale. Sometimes they are not. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Your Pal for Portable Scanning

For a limited time, Flip-Pal is offering customers the opportunity to receive a 10% off coupon code (of purchases of $100 or more) This birthday coupon code is: BDAY11A

You can get more information at Flip-Pal.

Getting Around Those Missing Locations

So far, in my own research I have found several locations that are in the census transcription at, but are not in the "dropdown" list:

  • Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois
  • St. Albans Township, Hancock County, Illinois
  • Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois
There have to be others. Of course these locations are small enough that manual searches of them can be easily conducted--I did it long before we had everyname indexes. However, there are times when I might want to search just for people in these specific locations. That can't be done now with the drop down menu not listing them as a geographic location. 

It is really easy to do. I choose "Hancock County, Illinois" as my location and enter the name of the township in my search box as shown below:
Really easy.

The key is making certain I have the name of the township spelled correctly. In this case, I searched for a last name I KNEW should be there in 1900: Goldenstein. 

This indicated that the township was entered in the 1900 census index of "homes" in as "Bear Creek." Matching it exactly is crucial.

It always pays to check the spelling of the location as well, particularly if a word in the place name could have been abbreviated. In 1900 Saint Albans Township in Hancock is in the index as "Saint Albans." 

In 1910 Saint Albans Township in Hancock County is in the index as "St. Albans." 

Since Saint Albans in Hancock County, Illinois, does not appear in the drop down list of locations at, I'll have to enter it in the keyword box as "saint albans" for 1900 and "st albans" for 1910. Something to add to my personal list of locations for later searching.

I am not certain why it is one way in 1900 and another in 1910. The census forms themselves from 1900 and 1900 are shown below, both indicating "St. Albans." 

At this point, why has them entered this way is not my concern. I have a workaround--that's what matters.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keyword Searches to Find Mother's First Cousins

I've been playing around with the obituaries at GenealogyBank, partially because my mother sent me something a while back and I neglected to save it.

My grandmother's brother was married in the 1940s to a woman with whom he had three children. They divorced and the mother moved fifteen miles away and never really interacted with the family again. Mom told me that one of these children (her first cousin) died and the obituary was in an online paper in the town where the cousin lived.

Now, several years later, I am getting around to working on it a little more. Problem is that I didn't keep any of the information mother gave me.

So I searched at GenealogyBank, using the name of the uncle in the keyword box:

The article came up in my results. If the name had been more common, I could have searched by state, or put in another keyword. I didn't know the name of the person who died, but I did know the name of the uncle and remembered that he was listed as the biological father in the obituary.

Use those keyword searches and take notes when your mother gives you genealogical information. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It Didn't Match or Did It?

This was accidentally posted to Genealogy Tip of the Day--this is the blog where I meant to post it--so some of you might have just seen this. 

Put me down as confused.
This screen shot shows a search just conducted this morning on the "Illinois County Marriages, 1810-1934" database at FamilySearch.

My search was for a couple where one had the last name Tammen and the other had the last name Johnson. FamilySearch told me there were no matches that matched "strongly."

How do you get "stronger" than the same last names I entered?