Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Use Wildcard to Search for Middle Name

When searching at Google, remember that a search for

"michael * neill"

will catch Michael John Neill, Michael J. Neill, Michael Neill, etc.

It will also catch "Michael Craig Neill," but you get the idea.

Of course, other search parameters can easily be added to your search.

Monday, October 29, 2012

City Directory Trick on Fold3

If you have found your urban ancestor in a directory at, consider searching for that address in the search box. Thanks to a Genealogy Tip of the Day reader for sharing this tip on our Facebook wall.

You might be surprised at what you turn up--don't forget that searching does not just have to be about names.

You can visit Fold3 through the link below.

  Search Fold3 Records

Thursday, October 25, 2012

US Newspaper Directory

Need to see what newspapers were published in a United States location? This database at the Library of Congress website will tell you.

Remember that not every newspaper is available online digitally, but this will indicate what papers were published where and when.

Don't Forget It Could Be Elsewhere Too!

Remember that many databases on the subscription sites are also available elsewhere at no charge. FamilySearch, state archives websites, etc. may have a free version of the same database as one of the fee-based services.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What Are You Searching On FamilySearch? Webinar

We've just released the media file for my latest webinar which focuses on knowing what you are searching on FamilySearch.

If you are confused by states that have multiple indexes to the "same" set of vital records, why a marriage entry appears multiple times in an index, or how to see what was used to create the index, then this webinar is for you.

We focus on American sources, but the methods will apply to other locations as well. This presentation is not for complete beginners--some research experience is necessary.

You can download the media for only $4 during our introductory price offer. A PayPal account is not necessary, you can "click through" and when time for payment comes, click as a "guest" and use your non-PayPal credit card.

Wayback Machine---well...

The WayBack Machine does include a great deal of old material.

It does not include everything and do not conclude that stuff will "always be there" if you need it. Save it for yourself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Comments on 19th Century Handwriting

This list of suggestions to those transcribing for the FreeBMD project might be of interest to those us who transcribe documents from the 19th century era.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Initials Galore Spell Trouble

Some record sets are worse about using initials than others. In Farm, Field, and Fireside, a database of digital images from agricultural magazines and newspapers from the American Midwest, it seems that a higher than usual proportion of references are by initials and last name only.

Just something to think about when searching.

No Names

I've been working on a Mississippi River murder in the 1770s.

One successful approach to finding some material is to not list any names in my searches-instead focusing on the year, the phrase "Mississippi River" and other key terms from the incident.

Sometimes names are not included at all in references to what you need.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Social Security Death Index on FamilySearch

For those who have been unable to find it, the Social Security Death Index can be found here on

(Posted as I had several private requests for this in my inbox this morning.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

LDS Research Outlines

The Research Guides from FamilySearch have been moved from the FamilySearch site. These excellent overviews have helped thousands of researchers, but are not as easy to find as they once were. All can be downloaded at no charge. We are working on getting links to those files that we can. Links are to the direct PDF files. Please email me at with corrections or additions. This update is not complete. We are working on a better structure for this page-please be patient.

Some of these research guides are old--double check, make certain there aren't new records or new restrictions. Print them out and annotate them!


Alabama· Alaska  · Arizona  · Arkansas  · California  · Colorado  · Connecticut · Delaware  · Florida  · Georgia  · Hawaii  · Idaho  · Illinois  · Indiana  ·Iowa  · Kansas  · Kentucky  · Louisiana  · Maine  · Maryland  · Massachusetts  ·Michigan  · Minnesota  · Mississippi  · Missouri  · Montana  · Nebraska  ·Nevada  · New Hampshire  · New Jersey  · New Mexico  · New York  · North Carolina  · North Dakota  · Ohio  · Oklahoma  · Oregon  · Pennsylvania  · Rhode Island  · South Carolina  · South Dakota  · Tennessee  · Texas  · Utah  ·Vermont  · Virginia  · Washington  · West Virginia  · Wisconsin  · Wyoming  ·

US General Topics

Central America

Not Locality Specific:

I would download them and save the ones I wanted just in case they are eventually pulled for good. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicago City Directories Online Free


Chicago City Directories 
Publication history 
Street Guides 
1866     1870     1875     1880     1885 
1892     1900     1910     1923 
City Directories 
1866     1870     1871     1875     1880
1885     1892     1900     1910     1923 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Old Medical Terms Website

Here's an online list of old medical terms. You still might want to double check with additional references, but this is a good place to start.

Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Get Creative With Search Terms

Get beyond names and locations when choosing search terms for sites such as Google, GoogleBooks, etc. A recent reference to my grandfather was located by searching GoogleBooks for "neill cecil angus" (without the quotes) because I knew he raised (and registered) purebred Angus cattle.

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012 Genealogy Webinars

October 2012 webinars--Intro rate of $4 through 2 Oct
Registrants who are unable to attend will receive a download media file of the presentation at no extra charge. But don't wait to register as spaces are limited.

7:00 PM 16 October 2013
Crossing the Pond—Part II
This webinar will discuss reading, interpreting, and using passenger lists between 1820 and 1920. This session will not discuss search techniques of online databases, but will cover where to go once the manifest has been located, making certain you have the correct family and getting the most from what the manifest says.

Attendees may wish to purchase our US Passenger Lists at ($8.50) webinar which discusses searching these lists or our Crossing the Pond ($8.50) webinar which focuses the methodology of tracing immigrant origins in the 18th and 19th centuries.
7:00 PM Central 17 October 2012
Understanding What’s On FamilySearch: Do Multiple Databases with Similar Titles Confuse You?
This presentation will focus on American databases on Do you know what you are really searching when you search a FamilySearch database? Do you understand the difference between three databases with similar titles that cover “the same thing?” We will look at several examples during this presentation and provide a general framework for determining (when you can) what a database really is.
1:00 PM Central 19 October 2012
Connecting with Online Researchers
We will discuss ways to connect and interact with other researchers online and offline—including how to dig people out of the woodwork. We’ll discuss social networking, message boards, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
2:30 PM Central 19 October 2012
Your 19th Century Immigrant
This presentation will discuss search strategies for breaking down brick walls on those 19th century immigrants to the United States. We will look at US records that may provide the answer as well as Immigration records from Europe. If time allows, we’ll see a short case study or two.
7:00 PM Central 25 October 2012
Problem-Solving for Genealogists
This presentation will look at a variety of approaches and mindsets designed to get genealogists to think “outside the box,” or perhaps even get rid of the “box” altogether.

Questions? Email Michael at
You need to make certain you have the system requirements to view and participate in the webinars for which you are registered. Having adequate equipment is your responsibility.
On a PC
·         Internet Explorer® 7.0 or newer, Mozilla® Firefox® 3.0 or newer or Google Chrome 5.0 or newer (JavaScript and Java enabled)
·         Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
·         Cable modem, DSL or better Internet connection
·         Minimum of Pentium® class 1GHz CPU with 512 MB of RAM (recommended) (2 GB of RAM for Windows® Vista)
Participants wishing to connect to audio using VoIP will need a fast Internet connection, a microphone and speakers. (A USB headset is recommended.)
On a Mac®
·         Safari 3.0 or newer, Firefox® 3.0 or newer or Google Chrome 5.0 or newer (JavaScript and Java enabled)
·         Mac OS® X 10.5 – Leopard® or newer
·         Intel processor (512 MB of RAM or better recommended)
·         Cable modem, DSL, or better Internet connection
Participants wishing to connect to audio using VoIP will need a fast Internet connection, a microphone and speakers (A USB headset is recommended).