Friday, June 26, 2015

We Have Moved!

As a reminder, this blog has moved to:

Make certain you visit that page and subscribe on that site. The "blogger" emails through Google will stop after today.

Thanks for your support.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Genealogy Search Tip of the Day Has Moved...

Genealogy Search Tip has moved to a new site. You can subscribe using the link in the upper right hand corner of each page. We'll continue posting tips as I come across them.

Thanks for your support! It is appreciated.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Blogs

I currently maintain the following genealogy blogs:

Check them out--each can be subscribed to for free using the email box on the right hand side of the page.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mocavo's Free US Census Index and Images

Some readers may be aware that has recently announced free access to the United States census search and images. To make the search a little easier, we've created this year specific portal page on our blog. Those with an interest can visit that page and leave comments there. Thanks!

Webinars: War of 1812 Pensions, VA Land Patents, LOC Newspapers, and More

We are still accepting registrations for 4 webinars upcoming in June--registration entitles you to a complimentary recording of the presentation after it has been processed. This way if your schedule changes you still get the presentation. Topics are:

  • War of 1812 Pensions at are free on their site.
  • Using Colonial Land Patents at the Library of Virginia website-these images are free on the website.
  • Library of Congress online digital newspapers--free on their site.
  • Using local land records online at FamilySearch. Not all of these are online, but we will discuss how to use the ones that are.

Details from 1945 South Dakota State Census

FamilySearch recently released an indexed set of index card transcriptions of the 1945 South Dakota State Census. Included in this enumeration were:

  • Military service
  • place of birth
  • parents' places of birth
  • education
  • where graduated from
  • maiden name of wife
  • church affiliation
You can search the South Dakota, State Census, 1945 at FamilySearch. A free account is needed to view images of the cards. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Last Name First Name in OCR Databases--Does It Matter?

Searches for a "first name last name" combination on most newspaper sites doesn't really mean that the database has the names coded as "first names" and "last names." It usually means that the search is conducted so that the "first name" is within a fixed number of words or characters from the "last name."

A website would not let me search only for Mimka as a first name--which it is.

It wanted a last name and warned me that a last name was necessary.

So I simply put Mimka in the "last name" box and hit search.

Problem solved!

(I wish they were all that easy.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Downloading Entire Virginia Chancery Case Files as 1 Zip File at Virginia Memory

Chancery court records for Virginia counties continue to be added to the Virginia Memory collection at

Now files for some counties can be downloaded as one zip file. Before each document image had to be downloaded separately. This feature is not currently available for all counties, but where it is downloading is much easier than in that past.

Friday, May 8, 2015

18th Century Newspapers from Ostfriesland, Germany

A loyal reader sent me a link to digital newspapers from Ostfriesland, Germany in the late 18th century. A big thanks to ET for passing this along. The search results for the W√∂chentliche Ostfriesische Anzeigen und Nachrichten can be viewed here on the GDZ website.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Old LDS Research Guide to Gothic Handwriting

The "old" LDS research guides have been replaced by the research wiki. Those who have used the guide to Gothic handwriting can find a copy here. It's still an excellent publication.

May 2015 Organizing Genealogical Information Class

We have brought back our "Organizing Genealogical Information Class" for May 2015. Details here.

Friday, May 1, 2015

1871 German Atlas

The University of Wisconsin has changed and updated the interface for their digital version of the Ravenstein Atlas des Deutschen Reichs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

623 US Railroad Maps at the Library of Congress

The United States Library of Congress in their American Memory collection has a digital collection of 623 railroad maps up through 1900. The scans are high-quality and resolution is good. See if they have a map for your area of interest.

Monday, April 6, 2015

CourtHouses in Postcards

This site has digital images of postcard pictures of courthouses for counties across the United States.

Maps at the Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia has an extensive digital collection of maps--including Depression-era county maps (in the Virginia Historical Inventory) an earlier materials. I even discovered an 18th century surveying guide.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Missouri State Archives Digital Newspapers

The items included here are hit and miss, but the Missouri State Archives has digital copies online of some newspapers in their state.

My Event and Summary Announcement List

I am moving blog summary updates, webinar announcements, and similar content to a separate email list at Constant Contact. There is no charge to be on the list and it is completely separate from this blog. To be added to the announcement list, visit our sign in page here.

Georgia Confederate Pension Application Supplements

The Georgia State Archives located additional pension materials after the first microfilming was done. There is an index to the pensions included in this first supplement here on the Georgia State Archives website.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

US Civil War Confederate Pension Indexes

Confederate Pension Records online indexes:

Recent US Updates to FamilySearch

We don't usually post about "new" FamilySearch items here--just the occasional database that's been there a while and that people might not be aware of.

We do blog about new FamilySearch postings on our Rootdig blog and those posts can be seen here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kansas Memory

This site contains digital images of hundreds of items related to Kansas history, including:

  • Civil War unit flags
  • Census summaries
  • Identified portraits
  • Historical location
All with high quality scans and the ability to browse by location, time period, or subject. The collection can be viewed here.

15% Webinar Discount

From now until 9:00 a.m. central time 2 April, we're offering a 15% discount on any sized purchase of webinars from our list of over twenty presentations.

Visit our list of presentations on our site.

Use coupon aprilfool (all one word) at checkout to get your discount.

That's it!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Remarried Widows Index to United States Pension Applications, 1887-1942

This FamilySearch digital version of a card index at the US National Archives may help assist researchers during this time period--it has subsequent married names of widows who qualified for a Civil War widow's pension.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

US Enumeration District Maps 1900-1940 Census

For those who were unaware, FamilySearch has published on their site digital images of "United States Enumeration District Maps for the Twelfth through the Sixteenth US Censuses, 1900-1940."

These maps come from a variety of original sources but were used to indicate enumeration district boundaries.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

County and State Classifications of Records

Some items on FamilySearch may be listed as either statewide or local records using the name of the county.

This cataloging system does not mean that the state created the records in the database that contains only the state's name. Always read the description for more details on where the records were obtained.

My personal preference is to use those with the county name in the title as they are more likely to be digital images of actual records.

Usually--not always.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bureau of Land Management Tract Books

Most of the microfilmed copies of the Bureau of Land Management books are online at FamilySearch. Those who have ancestors who obtained federal land should reference these materials.

Here are a few links:

Sunday, March 22, 2015

US Census Enumerator Instructions

Knowing what the census enumerator was supposed to do can help you to interpret the census enumeration. This site has links to those instructions., WorldCat, Census Searching and Newspaper Research Webinars

I am excited to offer four new webinars this week (25 and 27 March 2015):

  • you know how much free genealogy material is there?
  • Worldcat--search thousands of library card catalogs at once
  • Census Searching at
  • Newspaper Research

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fold3, BLM, and Process Webinars Released

Is Your Process the Problem?

Is your genealogical research process part of your problem? We will look at ways to organize your search, your problems, and your results in order to make the most effective use of your genealogical and financial resources. Geared towards beginning and intermediate researchers. $7 includes registration and handout.

Using the Bureau of Land Management Site

This presentation discusses search strategies for the Bureau of Land Management website--which hosts a database of federal land patent extracts and images. It will include a brief discussion of legal land descriptions in federal land states before discussing the several ways the site can be searched and queried. The presentation will conclude with several specific examples and how the site was queried for additional information. $7 includes presentation and handout.


Frustrated with finding databases and people on This presentation discusses search techniques for determining what has, what it doesn't and how to search the entire site and specific databases for individuals of interest. Download complete presentation for $7.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Michigan Death Certificate Images 1897-1939

Part of the 1915 death certificate for
Charlotte Cummings in Huron County, Michigan.
Images of Michigan death records are available from 1897-1939 on the Seeking Michigan website. This blog post provides more detail about these records.

Click on the "advanced search" link on any Seeking Michigan page to get the search menu ro access these records.

But read the blog post first to get some background.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

US Federal Agricultural Census Questions

Column headings for US agricultural censuses between 1850 and 1880 can be difficult to read. This PDF file on the site may help you interpret those mysterious numbers for your ancestor.

Maybe Search Problems are Not Just You

Sometimes websites have issues with their search--even after the search has worked for years. Sometimes not getting results is not about the user, occasionally it is the interface as this post about shows.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rural Life and Agriculture: A Collection of Digitized Books

Need some insight into your ancestor's agricultural experience? These items available digitally at the University of Illinois have a US Midwestern focus, but may contain references to farm equipment and farming practices.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

United States Census Microfilm on

The 1790-1930 United States census microfilm is available for free digitally on It's not indexed, but you can download entire rolls to your computer for personal viewing--just like you had the microfilm.

And if you've seen an image elsewhere and already located the census entry, the image on may be easier to read.

The portal to the images is here:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BLM Patent Location Versus Warrantee Residence

When searching the BLM site remember that the geographic location coded into the database is the location where the property patented was actually located. That may be a significant distance from where the warrant holder was living. Warrants were usually issued based upon military service and the veteran (or his heirs) may never have lived remotely close to where the property patented was actually located.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Warning Out In New England

Those who have relatives who were "warned out" in New England, may wish to take a look at Josiah Henry Benton's Warning Out in New England (Boston, 1911, W. B. Clarke Company) which is available digitally on GoogleBooks. 

(This was mentioned in a recent post, but I thought it might be good to share with readers here as well.)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Webinars: Brick Walls, BLM, Fold3, and Research Process

The week of 9 March, we're offering webinars on the following topics:

  • Using
  • Using the Bureau of Land Management website
  • Brick Wall Strategies for 2015
  • Is Your Strategy the Problem?
Want to join us? More details are here. 

Historical Atlases and Maps of U.S. and States

Historical Atlases and Maps of U.S. and States has online county formation maps for all the United States. Choose you state of interest and scroll down on the individual state page to see it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

First Families of Ohio Database

The database of 17,000 names in the First Families of Ohio database from the Ohio Genealogical Society can be searched here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Searches Too Specific for the Database?

Just a reminder that database searches need to be no more specific than the database entries. A recent post to  has an example for those who need one.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Text and Nothing But the Text

Sometimes you want the text without the formatting.


will get you the text without bringing the formatting into the document.

Because sometimes you want the text and nothing but the text.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Could One Database Entry Be Keyed Incorrectly?

We've mentioned this before, but database errors are not just limited to transcription errors and mistakes in the original record. Sometimes the creators of databases key in incorrect locations as well. Is that why you can't find your person of interest? 

We look at an example in a recent post on

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birmingham's Public Library Has Street Name Changes--Does Your Library?

The Birmingham, Alabama, Public Library has a page of street name changes. Have you looked to see if there are online street name change guides for your city of interest? Local libraries and county genealogical or historical societies are good places to initially search online for these materials.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Do They Tell You How Complete Their Digital Images Are?

Some subscription based digital image services make it a little difficult to determine exactly how complete their image sets are. Some sites providing online access to old newspapers don't yet have every extant issue in their digital collection even if the microfilm copies of these newspapers are fairly complete. Other sites are "in progress' and may not make that clear.

Remember--they'll tell you what they have but they usually won't tell you what they don't.

Be informed.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Search Newspapers for the Assignees

If your ancestor assigned a bounty land warrant to someone whose name is unfamiliar, consider searching newspapers for that person's name. Newspapers may catch people who don't appear in census and other records--and may mention the assignee as a speculator in an advertisement or other newspaper item. Our recent post on Rootdig contains an example ad from the 1850s.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Webinars: 18th Century US Probates and FamilySearch Tips and Tricks

Rescheduled Webinars

I've finally gotten time to re-present two of my webinars from November. Join us!

Reading and Interpreting 18th Century Probate Records (Thursday 12 February 2015 at 8 pm. central time)-This webinar will discuss reading, interpreting and analyzing 18th century probate records through several specific examples from Massachusetts and Virginia. Transcription techniques will also be included. Complete handout will be sent as a PDF file to all registered attendees. Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers. If you registered for this presentation in November and were not able to attend live, email Michael for a complimentary link to attend.

Registrations ($6) for the reading and interpreting 18th century probate records can be processed here. Seating is limited.

Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch  (Thursday 19 February 2015 at 8: pm. central time)-This webinar discusses ins and outs of using the "new" family search,   searching by family structure, global searches, interpreting searches and troubleshooting. Also discussed are strategies when approaching an unindexed set of images, a new type of record series, or incomplete records. Aimed at advanced beginners and intermediate level researchers. If you registered for this presentation in November and were not able to attend live, email Michael for a complimentary link to attend.

Registrations ($6) for the Tips and Tricks for FamilySearch can be processed here. Seating is limited.

Kentucky Revised Statutes from 1852-printed 1867

The 1867 revised statutes for Kentucky are available in digital form on Google Books.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Death and the American Civil War

This documentary, part of the "American Experience" series, discusses how death was handled during the American Civil War era. An estimated 2.5% of the American population died in the Civil War effecting the nation like nothing had before. A very interesting perspective for those whose family lived in the United States during this time.The PBS video can be watched here.

Organizing Genealogical Information--A Short Course

By popular demand, we're bringing this class back in January of 2015. Registration is limited for "Organizing Genealogical Information--A Short Course." View details here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Women's History Matters" from the Montana Historical Society

"Women's History Matters" from the Montana Historical Society contains a wealth of historical information on women in Montana, including full copies of 130 historical articles on a variety of topics, including:
  • homesteading
  • ranching
  • pioneer life
  • education
  • disease and health
  • and more.
Even if you don't have Montana ancestors, there's a wide variety of historical information contained on this site. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The War of the Rebellion (US Civil War)--128 Volumes Online for Free

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, can be viewed in complete digital form at the Cornell University website. A full text search option for the entire 128 volume set is also available.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Genealogical Records Committee Reports with 65 Million Names

For over one hundred years, the Daughters of the American Revolution, in an attempt to preserve unpublished information has compiled Genealogical Records Committee Reports. These reports contain information collected and compiled by members from tombstones, bible records, and other similar material. These reports were compiled and bound--with one copy of the report staying at DAR headquarters in Washington, DC, and the second being sent back to the state society. Some of these volumes have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.

In an attempt to make this information more accessible, an index was created. That index is posted on the DAR website here.   Users unfamiliar with the Genealogical Records Committee Report should read that information before searching.

Names in this index are not just to Revolutionary War patriots or their descendants and does not just cover the Revolutionary War time period.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Daughters of the American Revolution Descendant Search

If you think a relative was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), you can search for them on the DAR site on this page. This search will search for those individuals who qualified as patriots, the women who submitted applications and the names of direct lineage between the DAR member and the patriot--including spouses when known.

Search for females by maiden names.