Author Archive

30 Oct 2020

Looking in the Right Place: Some Concepts

It doesn’t make sense. They should be there. They’re supposed to be there. What’s the problem? Why can’t I find them? More often than not, the answer to that line of questioning is pretty simple: You’re not
30 Oct 2020

Looking in the Right Place: A Case Study

In researching the English ancestry of Esther (Smart) Guise, 1823–1872, Arlene V. Jennings, CG, was initially directed to the wrong place. The 1923 Kansas death certificate of Esther’s daughter Marilla (Guise) Bush suggested Esther was born in
27 Sep 2020

Where and How to Find Records of Defunct Funeral Homes

Searching for vital records is usually the first step we take in researching an ancestor. For death records in particular, we often search first for death certificates, then for religious burial records, obituaries, cemetery records, or gravestones.
27 Sep 2020

Analyzing an Unsourced Image of an Unsourced Manuscript

I’ve referred briefly to one of my great-great-grandfathers before in NGS Monthly: Addison Harris Day of Toomsboro, Wilkinson County, Georgia. I was writing about ways to hear our ancestors’ voices and included an 1889 letter to the
28 Jun 2020

Inconvenient Facts

As genealogists, we strive to gather any and all information we can that might have a bearing on the research question at hand. Sometimes that information includes conflicting data that must then be resolved. And sometimes that
28 Jun 2020

The Zeitgeist and Serendipity

In light of current events and the preceding article (“Inconvenient Facts”), the most recent issue of NGSQ is of particular interest. It’s also particularly timely, an almost impossible achievement for any journal with a production schedule that
31 May 2020

How to Find Passenger Lists for Databases without Images

Sometimes we run into a simple problem. We find an index with data that does not link to an image that we can examine. As basic as that problem may be, surmounting it can be a significant
30 May 2020

Moving Beyond Published Abstracts

For years, genealogists have depended on published abstracts of records to gather data they would otherwise have difficulty accessing. As we get greater access to digitized original records, however, the weaknesses of abstracts are becoming more apparent.
30 Apr 2020

Runaway Advertisements

In colonial America’s earliest years, those with runaway slaves, indentured servants, apprentices, military deserters, escaped prisoners, husbands, wives, or children had to rely on broadsides or word of mouth to advertise a reward for their return. Unsurprisingly,
30 Apr 2020

The 1870 Federal Census’s Second Enumeration

By all reports, the 1870 federal census was a mess. It was the last census for which U.S. Marshals were used as census takers. As there weren’t enough Marshals, a number of men were made Assistant Marshals