Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Offer on Our Webinars

We've turned our $5 genealogy webinar offer back on through the end of the day 1 January 2014! Check it out.

Highway Trails

For those looking to find out an old highway a relative might have travelled by car in the early 20th century, try these two sites:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Historical Times from New York City-19th Century

If you've wondered about travel time in the 19th century, this interactive version of Paullin's 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, lets you hover over the map and get approximate travel times from New York.

Interesting perspective.

US Geographical Place Names

If you are stuck on that "old" place name, don't forget to search at the United States Geological Survey's database "Geographic Names Information System" at http://geonames.usgs.gov/redirect.html.

It allows some really nice wildcard feature as well.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Get Soundex Codes for Multiple Names at Once

This webpage allows the user to enter in a list of names (separated by commas) and get Soundex codes for all of them in a neat little table that can be copied and pasted into another document. http://bradandkathy.com/genealogy/yasc.html

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore (Federal Passenger Lists), 1820-1897

FamilySearch released Maryland, Baltimore Passenger Lists Index, 1820-1897 on 23 December.

For those unfamiliar with this collection, it is a digital version of NARA publication M327: Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore (Federal Passenger Lists), 1820-1897. 

This collection is a Soundex index to the passenger lists. To use the collection, researchers need the Soundex code for the last name of interest. This can be obtained using the Soundex Converter at Rootsweb. The cards are organized by Soundex code and then by first name.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Need a German-English Translation?

For those needs German-English translations, here's site worth taking a look at http://dict.tu-chemnitz.de/.

It will also translate from German to Spanish and Portuguese.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Quotes for Single Items

To force Google to give you just the one word you want, put that word in quotes.

A recent search for electkia (no quotes) gave me that word and "variants" for it. I did not want Google to give me variants and putting quotes around the word and searching for


gave me exactly that and nothing else.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is That FamilySearch Database Complete?

Do you always determine if the database you are using at FamilySearch (or any other site) is complete? As of the time of this posting, the 1860 Alabama census index at FamilySearch is showing as 96% complete.

4% matters--find out before you assume your people "aren't there." There are databases that are still in progress. Assuming everything online is "done" may be part of your problem.

Post originally written at 8:34 am, central time on 11 December 2013.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Iowa Statutory Laws

This portal on the Iowa Legislature website contains links to historical Iowa statutes and acts for those with Iowa ancestors or Iowa research problems.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Samuel Johnson's 1785 Dictionary of the English Language

Your ancestor's probably not in it, but old dictionaries frequently come in handy and this 1785 edition by Samuel Johnson may give you a perspective on a word that you've been missing. A complete digital scan of the book is available here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

California Digital Newspaper Project

Those with relatives who lived in California may wish to take advantage of the free materials online at the California Digital Newspaper Project at the University of California-Riverside.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Images on Google Art Project

It's not quite a genealogy database, but this Google sponsored site contains 160 high quality images from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation collection--including several 18th century maps.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Early Virginia Religious Petitions

While not searchable by name of individual signers, these early Virginia religious petitions from 1774-1802 are from eighty Virginia counties and towns. High quality scans of these documents are on the website at no charge and items can be browsed by geographic location.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not Quite Soundex on FamilySearch

Remember when using the search boxes at FamilySearch that the "unexact search" (with the box unchecked) is not quite the same as a "soundex" search.

A search for Edward Lawson (exact box unchecked) (wife Mary) born 1800-1815 does not give the same research results as a search for Edward Layson (exact box unchecked) (wife Mary) born 1800-1815.

Lawson and Layson are Soundex equivalents.

There are numerous other examples, but do not assume that since you left the "exact box" unchecked, you'll get all the Soundex equivalents at FamilySearch. You won't.

You'll still get many variants...but just keep this in mind.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Blogs and Newsletter

For those of you who did not know, this is not my only genealogy blog. Here's list with the links. Enjoy!

You can subscribe to any of the above blogs for free.

My how-to newsletter Casefile Clues is also available by subscription, but there is a charge.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is it Down Or Is it Just You?

This site http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ will let you know if your favorite website really is "down" or if it's just a problem with your computer or your connection.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Join Michael in Salt Lake in 2014

We've set the dates for our 2014 Family History Research Trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in 2014--28 May through 4 June.

Join us for a week of genealogical research in the world's largest genealogical library between 28 May and 4 June.  We are in the library from open to close--with an optional hour long presentation at 8 am. every morning. Otherwise there's no distractions, with time for research all day and time for questions when you have them. The library is not busy with hundreds of conference attendees using the facilities the same time as you.

Our group is informal, with the focus on helping you with your research as much (or as little) as you need. We have people who join us simply because they like to be a part of a group--which is fine. A few of us even take the California Zephyr from the Chicago (or points in between) to Salt Lake. If you've wanted to take the train but didn't want to arrive in Salt Lake late  or leave early by yourself--consider joining us as Michael takes the train too if you'd like that option.

Don't wait --- pre-register today for only $50. Balance of registration is due 1 April 2014. It is not too early to start planning for 2014. 

The complete registration price is $175--that's a bargain compared to other trips. This fee includes pre-trip planning assistance, morning presentations at 8:00 every day the library is open during our trip, onsite consultations, assistance in learning to use the equipment at the library if necessary, quick on the fly questions, and follow-up assistance as needed or requested. 

Travel arrangements are on your own as are all personal expenses. We stay at the Salt Lake Plaza where we have  group pre-tax rate of $85 a night (single or double occupancy). The Plaza is next door to the library--very convenient. 

The official group activity starts on 28 May at 6:30 pm with a short meeting in the hotel for a quick orientation. Full daily activities start the next day, with group presentations on:

  • 29 May
  • 30 May
  • 31 May
  • 2 June
  • 3 June
Sunday the library is closed. We usually meet for an optional brunch in the hotel and I have consultations on Sunday with those who would like to discuss how their research is progressing. 

Our registration price is $175 when not paid in full by 31 December 2013---with a deposit of $50. Deadline for registration is 15 April 2014 (refund if you cancel by 15 March 2014). We'll be posting additional details later this fall, but that's pretty much the essence of the trip. 

Travel arrangements are not included.  Our group size has traditionally been small and we plan on keeping it that way.

Chicago Fire Maps

Those with family in Chicago during this time may wish to take a look at these maps of Chicago before and after the great fire courtesy of the University of Chicago:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wrapping Up Webinar Sales

Wrapping it up--$5 Genealogy Webinar Sale

I have had great fun presenting webinars on a variety of research topics over the past three years. However, for a variety of reasons I’ve decided to no longer sell recordings of my forty previous webinars after 29 September. We will offer support for previous purchases after that time, but no new orders will be processed. If you've been waiting to order, don't wait any longer. Each presentation is $5 each--download is immediate. Our order page is here.

Topics are:
  • Using US Census on Ancestry.com
  • Using US Passenger lists on Ancestry.com
  • An overview of Archive.org
  • Brick Walls from A to Z
  • More Brick Walls from A to Z
  • Yet More Brick Walls from A to Z
  • Brick Walls from A to Z--The FINAL One
  • Barbara's Beaus and Gesche's Girls
  • Preparing for Mother's Death
  • Proving Benjamin
  • The Newmans in the 1830-1870 Census: A Case Study
  • The Missing 1840 Census Enumeration
  • Creating Families from pre-1850 Census REcords
  • Court Records: Pig Blood in the Snow
  • The Probate Process; An Overview
  • Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch
  • Female Ancestors
  • Sarah and Susannah: Two 18th Century Virginia Women and Their Property
  • Proving Florence
  • Using Fold3.com
  • Illinois Research
  • Local Land Records in Public Domain Land States
  • The Bureau of Land Management Office Tract Books
  • Sections, Townships, Base Lines, etc--Land Descriptions in Federal Land States
  • Using the Bureau of Land Management Website
  • DeedMapper
  • DeedMapper with Virginia Land Patents
  • What is Not Written
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard for the Non-Professional
  • Charts, Charts, and More Charts
  • Creating Research Plans
  • Making and Proving Your Case
  • Seeing the Patterns: Organizing Your Information
  • Determining Your Own Migration Chain
  • Crossing the Pond
  • Did Your Ancestor Get a Civil War Pension?
  • American Revolutionary War Materials on Fold3.com
  • United States Naturalization Records pre-1920
  • Newspaper Research
Our order page and more information is here:

Thanks for your support of our projects!

Michael John Neill
Genealogy Tip of the Day

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Tennessee Newspapers Digitized

The Library of Congress "Chronicling America" collection has added 1,000,000 pages of digital content newspapers from the Tennessee towns of Greeneville, Jonesborough, Memphis, Sweetwater and Winchester.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Ostfriesland Studbooks 1897-1911

Don't forget to consider "breeder directories" when searching for your rural ancestors. The links below are to digital images of four volumes of horse breeder information from Ostfriesland, Gemany between 1897 and 1911. Often these include the village where the breeder was living. I normally don't link to something this specific, but half my ancestors are Ostfriesen--and there may be similar publications for other areas of Europe as well.

Ostfriesisches Stutbuch.

Published:Norden, Landwirtschaftlicher Hauptverein für Ostfriesland, 1897-1911.
Subjects:Horses > Pedigrees. 
Physical Description:4 v. illus. 19 cm. 
Original Format:Serial
All Serials

Hathitrust Has Full Text Materials From 1940s and Later

Copyright is complicated, but usually materials published in the 1940s and after in the United States are subject to copyright and full images will not be available digitally on free sites. Hathitrust (and other sites such as Archive.org and Google Books) may have full images of materials past the usual cut-off date for United States materials. Today I found a 1963 local history that was completely scanned and available. There are a variety of reasons that materials during this era can be available and a discussion of copyright is beyond the typical short nature of these posts.

Keep in mind that users are responsible for how they use digital images obtained on these sites.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hathitrust Search Results

Hathitrust has digital images of thousands of out of print, out of copyright books. When viewing your search results, take the year of publication shown in the search results  with a grain of salt. I've seen quite a few items where the year of publication listed in the search results was decades off from the actual year of publication.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Canadian Census Online

There are a variety of Canadian census indexes and images available on the Library and Archives Canada website. Click on an individual year and on the left hand portion of the page is a link to the search page.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pennsylvania History Portal

This page created by the Pennsylvania contains links to a variety of sources for Pennsylvania history. Cemeteries, railroads, agriculture, and so much more is included--for both urban and rural researchers. The main page is

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Irish Genealogical Society's Pre-1864 Marriage Finder

This free database from the Irish Genealogical Society has nearly fifty thousand references to pre-1864 Irish marriages. http://www.irishancestors.ie/?page_id=1926

Monday, September 2, 2013

Authority at BLM Site

When viewing your search results at the Bureau of Land Management website be certain to look at the authority under which the patent was granted. It will help you determine if a homestead, cash sale, or military warrant was involved.

And remember that preemption claims are not usually noted on the authority, but are indicated on the actual patent.

Labor Day Webinar Specials

Save $10

Today coupon code "labor" will reduce any order of $20 or more by $10.

$4 Download Special 

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 p.m. on 2 September 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.


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

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.

Questions? Email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

Future emails about webinar offers will be sent using our list for this purpose.

To have your email added to the list, visit our blog.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Webinar and Blog Content Updates

The newsletters we used to send summarizing popular blog posts and webinar announcements have been moved to a new mail server. To continue receiving these updates, you must opt-in to the list using the form below.

Your email will not be sold or shared. This new service allows for an easy unsubscription process.

To have your email added to the list, visit our blog.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How Good Are Google Alerts?

I don't have an answer to this question, but I'll ask it anyway.

I have a Google alert set for the word "Trautvetter." I don't get too many results from Google on this search and most are for articles written by an author who focuses on the airline industry. What is interesting is that there were no results in Google for obituaries for a relative with that last name who died approximately a month ago. The death notice appeared in two online newspapers and on the website for the funeral home. None of my Google alerts mentioned any of these items.

Not that I expect Google to tell me when relatives die, but it would have been nice if the items had appeared in my "alerts." Why they didn't I don't know.

Thoughts are appreciated.

Culinary History Collection at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech's Culinary History Collection contains a wide variety of materials dating from the 19th century. Most of the materials are cookbooks, "housewife guides," and similar materials--but there are a few industrial arts books as well.

Neat place to learn a little about domestic life in the 1800s.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

1922 DAR article "Independent Citizenship of Married Women."

One of our fans on Genealogy Tip of the Day shared this link and I thought it an article that others might be interested in as well from a DAR magazine in 1922 regarding the "Independent Citizenship of Married Women." http://archive.org/stream/daughtersofameri1923daug#page/70/mode/2up

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Periodicals Besides Newspapers

Are you searching GoogleBooks for materials besides printed books? I recently discovered a set of bound issues of an Illinois county farm bureau newsletter that contained several references to a great-grandfather. Not the sort of thing a person usually thinks to search for.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BYU Family History Books Now at FamilySearch

Digital books in the Family History Archives at BYU  are now available at Family History Books.  http://books.familysearch.org/

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Need Historical Weather Data?

If you are needing historical weather data for a project or just out of curiosity, try this site from the National Climatic Data Center:


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Summer Genealogy Class-Researching Female Ancestors

Summer Class-Researching Female Ancestors

Female ancestors present special challenges for the American researcher. Consider taking our homework-optional class! To keep this post short, we've linked to the more detailed post here. 

Have You Tried Elephind?

Elephind.com (http://www.elephind.com/) claims to have indexed 45,285,868 items from 1,034 newspaper titles.
Only free sites are included.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Free Databases in Scott County, Iowa (Davenport)

If you have family in the Scott County, Iowa, area (which includes the City of Davenport) consider looking into these free databases on a website sponsored by the Davenport Public Library (http://www.qcmemory.org/genealogy-and-history/). You'll have to get clever with your searching as Soundex-based searches are not allowed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Personal Digital Archiving

The Library of Congress has an excellent set of guide materials to assist individuals in "personal digital archiving" at http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/. Check it out for ideas on preserving your own materials.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Last Names of Spouses At FamilySearch

This trick will not work when both husband and wife have common surnames, but if at least one of the last names is slightly unusual, consider searching at FamilySearch using just the last name of the "main person" and their "spouse."

You might be surprised at what you find.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Organizing Genealogical Information-July/August 2013

Need to grow your research skills this summer? Consider taking our homework-optional class! If you have registered you should have received your welcome message--email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com if you did not.

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

Lecture downloads:
  • 21 July
  • 28 July
  • 4 August
  • 11 August
  • 23 July 8:45 PM Central
  • 25 July 8:45 PM Central
  • 7 August 8:45 PM Central 
  • 14 August 8:45 PM Central
Lectures and discussions will be via GotoMeeting.

Register via this link.

To view this email as a web page, visit:


Michael John Neill
Genealogy Tip of the Day

Florida Memory Collection

Those with Florida connections may wish to check out the Florida Memory Collection at the website of the Florida Division of Information and Library Services. Over 300,000 records from their collection have been digitized.

The link is:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Northern New York Historical Newspapers

From their website about "Northern New York Historical Newspapers" contains 2.3 million images and is::

"Created and maintained by the Northern New York Library Network, the online collection contains historical newspapers from counties that include Clinton, Essex, Oswego, and St. Lawrence."

Check it out here:


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Michigan County Histories Online

From their website:

The Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project is comprised of 428 digitized titles (many composed of multiple volumes) published before 1923.

Give it a try here http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/micounty/

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Papers of the United States Founding Fathers

If there is any chance your relative interacted with one of the United States' earliest presidents, check out the website  http://founders.archives.gov/ which contains papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Over 119,000 searchable documents, fully annotated, from the authoritative, federally funded Founding Fathers Papers projects.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Indexes to Virginia Court Records

If you have ancestors from Virginia, you might want to take a look at this page regarding Chancery records from Virginia--currently 220,000 cases are indexed http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/chancery/

Friday, May 24, 2013

US Patent Office Patents at Google

Did your ancestor obtain a patent for an invention? Google's patent search may help you to locate the document at http://patents.google.com

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Does FamilySearch Have It All?

In a word, the answer is no. There may still be more information elsewhere even in databases at FamilySearch that have images. One quick example is the Kentucky County Marriages 1797-1954. The description indicates that these entries are extracted from marriage registers, bonds, etc. Even in a county that appears to be "done," there may be more records. Mercer County's marriage register is included in the index-which is helpful. However there are also marriage bonds for that county which do not appear in Kentucky County Marriages, 1797-1954. Those marriage bonds are something you need to see. Only looking at the image of the register is not enough.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Digital Library of American Slavery

The Digital Library of American Slavery indexes thousands of petitions and court documents that directly or indirectly involve slaves. Your enslaved relative or your slaving owning relative may be located in this index.


Images of the documents are not included, but the index is invaluable.

Blank Agricultural Census Forms

These pages, located on the United States Bureau of the Census website, provide information on United States agricultural census from 1850-1900. http://www.census.gov/history/pdf/agcensusschedules.pdf

Monday, May 6, 2013

Was Your Ancestor a Member of the Brethren Church?

There are digital scans of nearly 750 items from the Brethren church archives on Archive.org.

From the index page:

The Mission of the Brethren Digital Archives is to digitize some or all of the periodicals produced from the beginning of publication to the year 2000 by each of the Brethren bodies who trace their origin to the baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany in 1708.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thursday, May 2, 2013

US Pension Indexes Online at FamilySearch

I received this summary of military pension indexes that are online from the lady who obtains copies of things for me from the National Archives. I thought I'd pass it along to blog readers:


All of the pension files noted on these indexes can be scanned from the original documents at NARA DC with the exception of the Revolutionary War.  Those files are on microfilm--originals cannot be scanned.

The items online at FamilySearch--which is what these links are for--are finding aids only, not the actual records.


WAR OF 1812 - The FGS volunteers are working to scan the 1812 pensions in color and they are being put on Fold3 (for free--through "D" as of this post) and are free without a subscription. https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1834325

"OLD WARS" (1815-1926):https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1979425

INDIAN WARS (1817 to 1898):https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1979427

MEXICAN WAR:https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1979390

CIVIL WAR - Besides the soldiers, this also includes Navy pension cards, which are difficult to read.  The cards turned very dark when they were microfilmed, because the person doing the filming had the machine set to scan white cards that had the soldiers' pensions and did not adjust the machine for the blue sailors' pension cards:


SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR - The Civil War index (above) is for claims filed up to about 1930.  It includes many Spanish-American War pension cards.  The cards look the same as the Civil War, but any veterans of the SA War will have a tiny little letter handwritten "s" beside the word "invalid" next to where the application number is written.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Digital Public Library of America

If you have not taken a look at this new site, consider giving it a try. It includes the David Rumsey Map Collection. The Digital Public Library of America can be accessed at http://dp.la/.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Is Your Parish Register Latin Weak?

If you regularly use parish registers in Latin, consider downloading this reference on the FamilySearch website. The book, "Parish register Latin : an introduction" was written by C. Russell Jenssen.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Genealogy Tip of the Day Makes Top 40 Genealogy Blogs

Our sister site, "Genealogy Tip of the Day" made the list of Top 40 genealogy blogs and we are celebrating! Through 11:59 PM Central on 18 April 2013, purchase genealogy webinars and only pay 40% of the original price! Coupon code is forty.  Grow your genealogy skills today.

Our list of webinars is 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.

View the list of all 40 top blogs here

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Get Some First Name Perspective

If you are a subscriber to a genealogical database that will allow you to search for first names only, do that to get some perspective on how common that first name really is (or is not). Here's a link to a longer blog post I wrote while looking "for Fountain."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bureau of Land Management Allows for Clickable Map Searches

It's been on the site for several weeks, but I just noticed it.

You can search by location on the Bureau of Land Management website by locating the township on a map instead of searching based on text only. If you know where the location is, but do not have the legal description, this may be helpful.

There is more detail here:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Webinar Discount Today

We're running our 60% sale on webinars today-28 March 2013.

 Coupon code "sixty" at check out will reduce your order by 60% through midnight central time tonight. 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.


Converting From Roman Numerals

WolframAlpha will perform several calculations at no charge, including converting from Roman numerals.

The screen shot below shows the results that are obtained when MCMVIII is entered.

Time spans can also be calculated as shown in this image:
It is as simple as entering the range of dates with the word "to" in between.

There are other genealogical calculations that WolframAlpha will do for free...you probably don't need the fee-based version.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do You Newspaper Search Those Google Terms?

Many genealogists are used to googling phrases they can't read or understand on a document. Do you also search for those same terms on newspaper websites such as well?

You might be surprised at the additional items you discover.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1883 German Atlas

Here is a favorite reference of mine is this 1883 atlas which has been digitized by the University of Wisconsin:

Author: Ravenstein, Ludwig.
Title: Atlas des Deutschen Reichs / bearb. von Ludwig Ravenstein.
Publisher: Leipzig : Bibliographisches Institut, 1883.
Description: Book
xxxv p., [14] p. of maps : col. maps ; 42 cm.
Internet Links: http://www.library.wisc.edu/etext/ravenstein

Here is a recent post I wrote which briefly explains how to use the maps.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Genealogy Fundamental Webinars

We are adding six new webinars to our popular "fundamentals" series. These sessions cannot be attended live, but downloads will be available (along with handouts) by 27 March 2013.

These sessions can be pre-ordered using the links below.  Price will be higher after the pre-order cutoff of 25 March 2013. We've found that for these shorter sessions, live attendance is a little more difficult and we've just decided to handle these sessions as downloads only.

Pre-order all 6 for $10.00 through this link.

If the above links do not work, this webpage has links that will process:


Questions, email Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tweak Those Google Alerts

An author whose uncommon last name is one that I am researching, writes article about the airline industry. I've changed my Google alert for this surname to not send results with the word "airline" or "aviation." There is a slight chance a "good" hit gets eliminated from my results, but I'm no longer getting a notice every time this author posts an article or someone reposts it somewhere else.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More Than Names and Locations in Google Books

Searches for a relative in GoogleBooks were not productive until I added the word "deaf" to my search. The person of interest attended a school for the deaf in the 1880s and adding that word to my search terms located the desired result.

Google Books Suggestion

When searching GoogleBooks, get away from only names and locations. A relative was in an Illinois school for the deaf and searching for "rampley deaf" located a reference to her in an 1889 publication.

60% Webinar Sale Today!

We're running our 60% sale on webinars today--6 March 2013.

Coupon code "sixty" at check out will reduce your order by 60% through midnight central time tonight. 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.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't Forget the Ladies

When searching Google Books and other digital scans of out-of-print books, don't forget to search for your female ancestors as well. While searching for a male ancestor in the 19th century, I stumbled upon a reference to his wife in a published list of real estate transactions for St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1890s. I had not bothered to search for her name.

That's a mistake I will not repeat.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Genealogy Short Courses in Feb-March

We are running our "short courses" again this February/March:

Organizing Genealogical Information-Meets Tuesday/Thursday evenings

More details:

Constructing Genealogical Database Searches-Meets Tuesday/Thursday afternoons

More details:

If there are questions, please let me know. If you were enrolled in a previous session and had difficulties, email me to be added at no cost in the appropriate session.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Overlapping Search Results

I realize that not everyone searches digital databases for names that are repetitive--the way "Tamme Tammen" is.

However, I discovered a nuance in the search results at GenealogyBank that caused the word "Tammen" to be a "hit" for Tamme as a first name and Tammen as a last name. Apparently, the proximity feature of the "first name" and "last name" part of the search interpreted "Tammen" as being two words.

The image can a discussion can be see here: http://rootdig.blogspot.com/2013/02/tamme-tammen-two-hits-in-one.html

Saturday, February 9, 2013

American Memory Collection at Library of Congress

When was the last time you checked out the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress website? There is an excellent collection of digital maps, information on Women's History, digitized books on "American Expansion," and more. All of it is catalogued and organized--which is not always true about digital images on sites such as Google Books, Archive.org, etc.

Join Michael in Salt Lake May-June 2013

We've set the dates for our 2013 Family History Research Trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in May. Join us for a week of genealogical research in the world's largest genealogical library between 29 May and 5 June. Don't wait pre-register today for only $50. Balance of registration is due 1 April 2013. It is not too early to start planning for 2013. 

The complete registration price is only $150--that's a bargain compared to other trips. This fee includes pre-trip planning assistance, morning presentations at 8:00 every day the library is open during our trip, onsite consultations, assistance in learning to use the equipment at the library, quick on the fly questions, and follow-up assistance as needed. 

Travel arrangements are on your own. We stay at the Salt Lake Plaza where we have  pre-tax rate of $90 a night. The Plaza is next door to the library--very convenient. 

Our research trip dates for 2013 are a starting on the 29th of May at 6:30 PM with a hotel check out date of 5 June 2013. Our registration price is $175---with a deposit of $50. Deadline for registration is 15 April 2013 (refund if you cancel by 15 March 2013). We'll be posting additional details later this summer but that's pretty much the essence of the trip. Travel arrangements are not included.  Our group size has traditionally been small and we plan on keeping it that way.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Are You "Testing" the Database?

When using a "new to me" database, I frequently "test" it to see if it responds the way I "think" it should and if there appear to be a "correct" number of entries in the database.

When I search a database of Illinois marriages and I see only a handful for one entire year, it makes me wonder.You can read the entire blog post here.

If you cannot find the entries of interest, the problem is not always you.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bureau of Land Management Office tract book webinar released

Tract book entry from Ohio--1821
The Bureau of Land Management Office tract books are a good source for additional information on your homesteading or federal land acquiring ancestors. This material supplements what is in the homestead file, allows you to see names of neighboring claims, even if those claims were not completed. If you've ever wondered who might have started a claim near your ancestor, but never completed it--these books are the way to find out. 

Our webinar on using the books (most of which are available for free on FamilySearch) is only $6 and goes through several examples, in Ohio, Illinois, and Nebraska for a variety of purchase types. If you've never used the tract books because you found them too confusing, let this webinar cut through the confusion.

You can order the recording and handout for $6 via this link:

If you registered for the webinar, but were unable to attend, please let me know and I'll send a complimentary link. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guide to BLM Tract Books

If you have been using the Bureau of Land Management Tract Books which were recently published digitally on the FamilySearch site, there is a guide to what locations are contained in which volume.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey

From the Newberry Library:

"The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Projects Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago."

Available online at http://flps.newberry.org/.

Thanks to Liz (one of our Genealogy Tip of the Day fans on Facebook) for passing this along.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Searching for Professor Emeritus

Keep in mind that some digital indexes to records, particularly printed materials, are created automatically. This explains why "Professor Emeritus of History, Thomas Smith" is indexed as "Professor Emeritus." For a longer set of examples, visit our Rootdig.com blog.  If your ancestor is in a printed reference in some "non-standard" way, his index entry may be non-standard as well.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Toggling Between New and Old Search at Ancestry.com

There are still times when the "old search" at Ancestry.com is preferable to the "new search" at Ancestry.com. Do you know how to go back and forth between the two?

On the main Ancestry.com home page, slide your mouse to the word "Search" on the upper left hand portion of your window. When you do that you should see a menu come up--click on "Search all Records." 

Then in the upper right part of that page you should see a small link that says "go to old/new search." Clicking on that link will take you to the "other" search form.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013 from Search Tip of the Day

We're just under the wire in wishing readers a "Happy New Year."

Happy 2013! Hopefully you are ready to continue your family history discoveries in the new year.

 Fans and viewers have called our webinars one of the best genealogical bargains around. Today, to celebrate the beginning of 2013, we're offering a coupon code through 11:45 PM 2 January 2013 that will reduce your webinar purchase price by 60%.

Coupon code is yearend

View the list of webinars here:


This is the last webinar email you will receive from this email address--if you would like updates about webinar offerings, please email casefileclues@gmail.com to be added. 

Thanks for your support in 2012! It is appreciated.