Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1870 Agricultural Census Headings

This transcription of part of the 1870 agricultural census includes a listing of column headings.
(note--the link was forgotten originally--here it is: )


Monday, May 28, 2012

County Boundary Changes--Newberry Library

The Newberry Library has a website, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, which has maps and detailed bibliographic information on county boundary changes.

Might be worth a look.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Join Me At the Ft. Wayne Library in August 2012

In August, I'll be leading a small research group at the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Our trip runs from 1-5 August. The Allen County Public Library has one of the largest genealogical research collections in the United States.

We stay at the Ft. Wayne Hilton at a negotiated special rate. For additional details about the trip see this earlier blog post

Friday, May 25, 2012

USGS Historical Quadrangle Maps

For those who weren't aware of the USGS Historical Quadrangle Maps being online, here's a blog post I wrote about them earlier today

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Search Only for First Names

Don't neglect to search for ONLY first names if you cannot find a person in a database. It might be that the last name is completely illegible.

A little work I was doing recently reminded me of this:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do You Read the Whole Page?

An attendee at a recent conference was unaware that she could search FamilySearch by a specific region or country. Part of the reason was that she was not scrolling down on the entire first page--where those options are listed.

Do you always look at the entire page, especially the first time you use a site, to make certain there are not options that you are overlooking?

Family History Library Trip Webinar Sale

To celebrate my annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake, we are running our $5 special from now until I depart for Salt Lake on Monday afternoon. Our $5 sale concentrates on a variety of methodology items.

A PayPal Account is not necessary to order. Simply hit "check out with PayPal" and on the next page you can pay without PayPal using a credit card.

All presentations are made by Michael John Neill. Our style is informal and informative with the intent on providing you with information to extend your knowledge of your ancestors.  Michael shares research knowledge from nearly thirty years of family history research and experience.

Creating Research Plans. This presentation discusses how to create your research plans, how to set goals, how to not set goals, when you are proving and when you are not, and other key concepts. Of course, we have a few charts as well. Our attempt is to be down-to-earth and practical. I realize that most genealogists are not going to write journal articles, however our research needs to be as thorough as possible and our analysis and method well-thought out or we're not going to get the best possible story on great-great-grandma that there is. This presentation is geared towards intermediate researchers, but advanced beginners might get some benefit from it as well.
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The Genealogical Proof Standard for the Non-Professional. One of our most popular webinars, this presentation provides an overview of the “Genealogical Proof Standard,” including a discussion on the “exhaustive search.” The Proof Standard is not just for professionals, any genealogist who wants to improve their research and get past those stumbling blocks would be well served by implementing it in their research. Our discussion is practical, down-to-earth, and hands-on.

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Female Ancestors. This presentation discusses approaches and techniques for determining an ancestor's maiden name and locating "missing" females. Geared towards the advanced beginner or intermediate researcher, it focuses on American records and sources. The content is not specific to any one time period and many of the approaches can be refined for different locations or types of records. If you are stymied on your female ancestors--and half your ancestors are female.
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Making and Proving Your Case. Geared towards advanced beginners and intermediate researchers, this presentation discusses things to think about before writing up "your case." Talks about statements, primary, secondary, ways to prove yourself, considering all the options, disproving, citation, etc. Provides the viewer with ideas on how to "make their case" and see gaps or omissions in their research.
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Creating Families from Pre-1850 Census Records --This presentation discusses how to analyze pre-1850 census records in order to determine the family structure that is suggested by those records. Enumerations for one household between 1810 and 1840 are analyzed in order to determine the number of children, ranges on their years of birth, and ranges on years of birth for the oldest male and oldest female in the household.
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Court Records-Pig Blood in the Snow. This lecture discusses American court records at the county level where cases were typically originally heard. Discusses cases of main genealogical relevance along with searching techniques.
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Seeing the Patterns-Organizing Your Information. This lecture discusses the problem-solving process and a variety of ways to organize your information with the intent of getting the research to notice overlooked clues, patterns, trends, and information. $8.50 includes handout and hour-long lecture
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 The Probate Process—An OverviewGeared towards the advanced beginner or intermediate researcher, it covered an overview of the process and looked at selected documents from two probate settlements with a discussion of the pitfalls to watch out for along the way. Probate records are an excellent genealogical source--regardless of the time period in which you are researching and may contain clues about your ancestor, where he lived, his occupation, etc. Download the recording and handout for the sale price of $5 (save $3.50).
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 United States Naturalization Records pre-1920 - This presentation is an overview of naturalization records in the United States prior to 1920, focusing on locating and understanding the records. Women's citizenship and derivative citizenship are also included. Download the recording and handout for the sale price of $5 (save $3.50).
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 Local Land Records in Public Domain States--This lecture discusses obtaining, using, and interpreting local land records in areas of the United States from Ohio westward where land was originally in the public domain. This lecture is geared towards those who have some experience with land records--advanced beginning and intermediate researchers. Download the recording and handout for the sale price of $5 (save $3.50).
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 Newspaper Research -Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers, this webinar discusses research techniques for searching newspapers in digital, microfilm, and original formats. Pitfalls of using digital newspapers are discussed, along with manual search techniques and what types of materials to look for besides obituaries and death notices.  This presentation is not merely a list of online sites or an attempt to get subscribers to any specific database. Download the recording and handout for the sale price of $5 (save $3.50).
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

English Equivalents of Foreign Given Names

Ran across this site, English Equivalents of Foreign Given Names, while preparing for the Palatines to America Conference in June of 2012. This list of English Equivalents of Foreign Language Names may be helpful to some readers working on non-English names. The link is:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Getting Clever With Facebook

I recently discovered an old friend from college died several years ago--we had lost touch. 

He wasn't on Facebook to begin with and usually dead people don't  Facebook pages. Getting in contact was difficult as his wife had "disappeared." I figured she had married again, but not having new last name makes it difficult.

I searched facebook for his children, using the name of the most unusual child. She didn't have "relatives" listed but I recognized one of her "friends" as one of her siblings. That sibling's Facebook page had his mother listed. I knew I had the right person as the first name was a match--but the last name was different.

Sometimes you have to creep on Facebook ;-)


If you are not searching for libraries that have specific books or other reference materials, you are missing out. This integrated library card catalog allows users to search 1000s of libraries across the United States all at once. If you're not including WorldCat as a part of your search, do so at

If you'd like to join us on Monday for a webinar on WorldCat, you can do so here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

$5 webinars and Crossing Pond Webinar-new

$5 sale today ONLY on our newest recorded webinars: 

We have also just announced the remainder of our May 2012 genealogy webinars:

Crossing the Pond--10 May 2012--for help with those immigrant ancestors in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Comparison Shopping-8 May 2012--determining if you have the "right" person.

Registration and additional details are here: 

Friday, May 4, 2012

1790-1930 US Census Free at

Is, HeritageQuest, or your other favorite site missing census images? Do you wish you could just "view the census" like it was microfilm online? Well you can at The images are unindexed, but it's just like viewing the actual film--and you can download entire "rolls." This is really nice for those of us who are related to many families in a specific county. Who would have thought 20 years ago, we could get as many rolls of census microfilm as we wanted on our computers at no charge. has digital copies of US census microfilm for: