30 March 2007

1910 Census Images--Rich and Famous

Our Rich and Famous in the 1910 census pages, include links to images of these well known people in the 1910 census. Suggestions for additions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

Ansel Adams
Jane Addams
Eddie Albert
Sherwood Anderson
Philip Armour
Fred Astaire
Count Basie
Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde
Alexander Graham Bell
Jack Benny
Milton Berle
Irving Berlin
Edwin Binney
Humphrey Bogart
Lizzie Borden
George Burns
Busch Beer Family Hugh Brannum
William Jennings Bryan
Jimmy Cagney
Al Capone
Rachel Carson
Willa Cather
Frank Capra
Anton Cermak
George M. Cohan (one)
George M. Cohan (two)
Adolph Coors
Actress Joan Crawford
Bing Crosby
e e cummings
Richard Daley
Bette Davis
Francis Dee
John Dillinger
Walt Disney
Horace Dodge
John Dodge
Amelia Earhart
Wyatt Earp
George Eastman
Thomas Edison
Duke Ellington
Dwight Eisenhower
Douglas Fairbanks
William Faulkner
Harvey Firestone
Henry Ford
Baseball Great Lou Gehrig
Children's Author Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)
Ira and George Gershwin
Author O. Henry
Katharine Hepburn
Oliver Wendell Holmes
J. Edgar Hoover
Howard Hughes
Langston Hughes
Lyndon Johnson
Scott Joplin
Helen Keller
Gene Krupa
William Lemp
Charles Lindbergh
Jack London
Jack London
Huey Long
Oscar Mayer
Joe McCarthy
Barbara McClintock
Elijah McCoy
H. L. Mencken
Ethel Merman
James Michener
Edward R. Murrow
Ogden Nash
Georgia O'Keefe
Louella Parsons
Norman Vincent Peale
J. C. Penney
Cole Porter
Katherine Anne Porter
C W Post
Marjorie Merriweather Post
Charles Ringling
Tex Ritter
John D. Rockefeller
Sigmund Romberg
Franklin Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Babe Ruth
Carl Sandburg
Randolph Scott
Richard Sears
John Shedd
John Phillip Sousa
John Steinbeck
Jimmie Stewart
then President William Taft
Spencer Tracy
President Harry Truman
Mark Twain
Montgomery Ward
Booker T. Washington
Charles Walgreen
Montgomery Ward
John Wayne
Mae West
George Westinghouse
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Woodrow Wilson
Grant Wood
Wright Brothers
Frank Lloyd Wright
N C Wyeth
Cy Young
Florenz Ziegfeld

1900 Census Images of Rich and Famous

Here is a listing of all the rich and famous census images on our site from 1900. Suggestions for additions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

Jane Addams

Sherwood Anderson
Susan B. Anthony
Phillip Armour
Amelia Earhart
Fred Astaire
Jack Benny
Humphrey Bogart
William Jennings Bryan
Joseph Bulova
George Burns
August Busch
James (Jimmy) Cagney
Al Capone
Willa Cather
Anton Cermak
Lon Chaney
Samuel Clemens--Mark Twain
Grover Cleveland
Walter Chrysler
Ty Cobb
Buffalo Bill Cody
Adolph Coors
Hart Crane
Clarence Darrow
Jack Dempsey
Melville Dewey
Horace Dodge
George Eastman
Mary Baker Eddy
Duke Ellington
Wyatt Earp
Thomas Edison
Dwight Eisenhower
T. S. Eliot
William Faulkner
Marshall Field
Harvey Firestone
Henry Ford
J. Paul Getty
Josiah Gibbs
Oscar Hammerstein
Benjamin Harrison

Ernest Hemingway
Henry Heinz
O. Henry
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Herbert Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover

Sarah Orne Jewett

Scott Joplin
Helen Keller
Jerome Kern
William Lemp
Jack London
Huey P. Long

the Marx Brothers
Oscar Mayer
Elijah McCoy
William McKinley
H. L. Mencken
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Georgia O'Keefe
Louella Parsons
Potter Palmer
George Patton
Norman Vincent Peale
J. C. Penney
Cole Porter
Katherine Anne Porter -- with her father
Katherine Anne Porter-- with her grandmother
C W Post
William Rand
Charles Ringling
Robert Ripley
the Rockefellers
Knute Rockne
Norman Rockwell
Theodore Roosevelt
Babe Ruth
Carl Sandburg
Randolph Scott
Richard Sears
Gustavus Swift
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Billy Sunday
James Thurber
Jim Thorpe
Spencer TracyHarry Truman
Mark Twain
Honus Wagner
Charles Walgreen
Montgomery Ward
Booker T. Washington

Mae West
George Westinghouse
E. B. White
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Woodrow Wilson
Grant Wood
Wright Brothers
Frank Lloyd Wright
N. C. Wyeth
Cy Young

Jimmy Stewart in 1930

Actor Jimmy Stewart was living in Indiana, Pennsylvania in 1930 with his family as partially shown in the image included in this post. The 21 year old is listed without an occupation and his father runs a hardware store.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what your relatives are up to--hopefully they aren't living in a town that is also the name of a state (Illinois has a town named Oregon and one named Ohio) .If you don't have a subscription to Ancestry.com, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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Malcolm X in the 1930 Census

He might have been easier to find had his last name in 1930 been "X" instead of the much more common Little. Black activist Malcolm X and his family are living in Lansing, Michigan in 1930 as the partial image on the right show.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what names your relatives as listed with--however, it usually helps your search if you know the last name before you find them. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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President Harry Truman Lives with in-laws

The 1920 United States Federal Census can be searched for your relative at Ancestry.com, regardless of whom they were living with. Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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1920 Census--Perry Como

I didn't think Perry Como's real name was "Perry Como," but sure enough, it was. He and his family were living in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1920 as shown in the image to the right. The complete image indicates the family immigrated in 1910 and that Como's older siblings were born in Italy.

The 1920 United States Federal Census can be searched for your relative at Ancestry.com. Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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Bureau County Presentation--Links

I enjoyed presenting for the group in Bureau County last night (29 March) in Princeton, Illinois. Based upon conversations I had with a few attendees, I have posted the following links here as they were asked about and I either could not remember them or was not certain.

WW2 Enlistment search at the National Archives

Genealogy in the United Kingdom and Ireland


Erie Canal

28 March 2007

Canadian Border Crossings Added to Ancestry.com

Border Crossing Records Added to Ancestry.com---for those who may be interested.

Ancestry.com announced the addition of more than 4 million names of individuals who crossed the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956. These historical records are the latest addition to Ancestry.com’s Immigration Records Collection, which also includes more than 100 million names from the largest online collection of U.S. passenger lists, spanning 1820 to 1960.

Of course, there are no border crossing records for the time period I need them....1850s-1860s. I would love to know when William Ira Sargent crossed and when the family of Samuel Neill left New Brunswick. Oh well, some things will always remain mysteries.

Migration Chains

I've been thinking quite a bit about migration chains lately, largely because I'm giving three lectures about it in less than a month. And also because I realized that another of my families was part of a larger migration chain I was unaware of until recently.

Genealogists sometimes make the incorrect assumption that chains of migration only apply to non-English speaking immigrants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, all of my German immigrants from 1860-1888 were parts of migration chains and this has been relatively easy to document. My wife has immigrants from Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and Quebec from the same time period and every one was part of a larger migration chain which we were eventually able to document. Even my Irish Neills were part of a larger group that I only recently discovered.

But "natives" also moved in chains---and they can be discovered if one takes the time. My Newmans from Kentucky into Indiana, Illinois, and eventually Iowa were part of a group that moved over a fifty some year time period. Other families moved from Amherst County, Virginia to Bourbon County, Kentucky over a twenty year time period in the very early eighteenth century.

Take the time to look for your ancestor's chain of migration.


Finding Peter, Paul, and Margarete

This article focuses on a group of immigrants to Davenport, Iowa in the 1850s. My search initially focused on Paul Freund, the direct ancestor. The article discusses how in this case, locating immigrant origins was possible only by COMPLETELY researching the immigrant in his new location first. This plan gave me adequate information in order to locate the desired family members in passenger lists. The problem with looking for just Paul Freund is that there were several Paul Freunds from Bavaria who came to the United States.

Those who want to read more about my search for Peter, Paul, and Margarete can do so here. And anyone who is related is more than welcome to send me an email at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

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Henry Thoreau in 1860

I learned a little something in locating Henry Thoreau in the 1860 census--his occupation was not what I expected. Admittedly, I knew little about Thoreau before I searched for him in 1860. We've posted the entire image which shows him living with other family members in Concord, New Hampshire.
Search the 1860 Census at Ancestry.com for your relative---whose occupation in 1860 may or may not be a surptise to you. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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Gender Changing in 1860

Search the 1860 Census at Ancestry.com for your relative---who may have had his gender accidentally changed by a census taker--it's a little early for more permanent kinds of gender changes. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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From Poor Leather Merchant to General

Search the 1860 Census at Ancestry.com for your relative---whose occupation in 1860 may or may not be a surptise to you. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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1850 Census Harriet Beecher Stowe

Those with an Ancestry.com subscription can search the 1850 Census--everyname index for their own relatives--who probably were not writing books that started wars (which is what President Abraham Lincoln remarked to Stowe about her book). Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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Frederick Douglass in the 1850 census

1850 finds Frederick Douglass living as a 33 year old editor in Rochester, New York, with his family. We've posted the complete image on our site.
Those with an Ancestry.com subscription can search the 1850 Census--everyname index for their own relatives--who may or may not have been editing things. Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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Making Colors in 1910

There were probably very few in the 1910 census who listed their occupation as manufacturers of "colors, etc," but Edwin Binney did. He was the founder of Crayola Crayons. I just wonder what the "etc" stood for.
You can search the 1910 United States Federal Census for your own relatives at Ancestry.com regardless of what color was involved with their employment. If you don't have a subscription to Ancestry.com, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.


Count Basie in the 1910 Census

You can search the 1910 United States Federal Census for your own relatives at Ancestry.com. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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27 March 2007

1880 Female Head of Household

It is unusual to find a female listed as the head of the household, especially when her able-bodied husband is living with her and enumerated as well. The initial article I wrote on this subject generated a great deal of response and the follow up dealt with most issues presented by readers.

My ancestor in 1880 is a head of household and her husband is listed as the last member in the household (on the next page, no less). It is a somewhat unusual situation.

Part of the entry for the family of Anna Fecht in Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois' 1880 census follows.

Anna Fecht, aged 65, [head], married
John Habben, aged 20, son, single
George Habben, aged 18, son, single
Anna Habben, aged 13, daughter, single
Mattie Halts, aged 10, granddaughter, single
George Fecht, aged 12, stepson, single
Henry Fecht, aged 65, no relationship stated, married

Part I of the article can be viewed here and part II has been posted on our site as well.

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Selective Service Classifications

My Grandfather Neill's WW2 Selective Service Classification Record indicates he was classified as a IIB, a IIIA, and a IVA. Selective Service sent me a list of classifications, but I also found them online.

The IIB meant deferred in war production.
The IIIA meant deferred for dependency reasons (my grandmother and their two children).
The IVA meant deferred by reason of age.

Nothing shocking, but interesting nonetheless.


Cyndi Starts Blogging

Cyndi Howells of Cyndislist has started her own blog. It is more commentary on internet usage and expectations...so don't start thinking she's going to post links there. It looks like she may even rant about things upon occasion. I've heard her rant in person before---we're in for a treat!

Striiiiiike 1--Abner Doubleday in 1850

Abner Doubleday's 1850 census entry is one of those where you've got to read the entries above it for just about everything except his name and age. Ditto marks come in real handy when everyone has the same job and was born in the same place. Hint: his occupation in 1850 had nothing to do with baseball.
Those with an Ancestry.com subscription can search the 1850 Census--everyname index for their own relatives--who may or may not have been striking out.
Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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1930 Census--Shirley Temple

It is difficult to read, but the last name in this image is Shirley Temple--child star. Imagine trying to find that if you did not already have a good idea of where she was living. The rest of the entry indicates where the family was living in California and the father's occupation.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what your relatives are up to.
If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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1930 President

Not many individuals have their "industry" in the 1930 census listed as "United States" and even fewer list their occupation as president. The entire image can be seen here for those who are not aware of who was president in 1930.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what your relatives occupations are---doubtful if they are president. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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Peter Graves and James Arness in 1930 Census

Peter Graves and James Arness are enumerated with the last name Aurness in the 1930 census in Minnesota. The brothers were small children at the time of this enumeration and their father worked as a salesman.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what your relatives are up to.
If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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26 March 2007

Friends on the Farm

My great-aunt has written a small book, Friends on the Farm, about growing up in rural west-central Illinois (Hancock County) in the 1930s and 1940s. I haven't read it yet (my Mom is waiting til Aunt Ruth visits to have her sign our copies); however I did read snippets of it that last time I was down to visit my parents. I have learned that my mother was a "neat litle kid" and that my great-grandfather, much to the chagrin of his fellow German neighbors voted for Roosevelt during the Depression (I bet THAT went over really well...). We'll post more about the book later after I've had a chance to read it.


A A Milne in the Census

He didn't have a Pooh Bear of his own, but 9 year old A A Milne is shown here in this census enumeration with his parents. The complete image can be seen here.

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J. R. R. Tolkien alive in 1901

Didn't know people living in 1901 could still have new books published in 2007, did you? J. R. R. Tolkien has a new book coming out according to several sources and yet he was already a small child in 1901 when he was enumerated with his widowed mother in the United Kingdom census. Fans of the book may be glad this unfinshed book is finally being published. I'm not a big fan, so I can't speak to that. I can only help wondering...if Tolkien had been a Chicago resident would he still be voting?

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Virginia Beach Seminar--this weekend 31 March 2007

I'll be presenting 4 lectures at the annual Virginia Beach Genealogical Society Seminar this weekend on March 31 at the Virginia Beach Public Library.

The day's schedule:

8:30 - 8:55 Registration
9:00 - 9:15 Welcome/announcements and introduction of speaker
9:15 - 10:15 "Online Genealogy Research: what to do, how to do it and how to keep organized"
10:15 - 10:55 Break/Door Prizes/Lobby Time
11:00 - 12:00 "Online Genealogy Research" continued
12:00 - 1:10 Lunch Break - Lunch provided for pre-registrants. (see form)
1:15 - 1:30 Welcome Back/ Door Prizes
1:30 - 2:30 "Effective Internet Searching - Get the most out of that website"
2:30 - 2:55 Break/Door Prizes
3:00 - 4:00 "Beginning Your German Research"
4:15 - 4:30 Closing

More information is on the Society's website.
If anyone is wanting to attend at the "last minute" the society's website has contact information for society officers.

Courthouse Suggestions

The county courthouse is one of my favorite places to research--remember that many of these records are not available online or on microfilm. A few years ago, we posted an article about visiting the courthouse--suggestions that are still valid today.

Courthouse Lessons Learned


Where Did the $$ Go?

Tracking your ancestor's money after his or her death can provide signficant genealogical clues. There are many sources of this information, not just limited to the will. An older article on our site discusses ways to locate this information and provides some clues for interpreting this information.

Where Did the Money Go?


Google Ads At Ancestry

Am I bothered by the Google ads at Ancestry.com? Not really.
I pay to watch a movie in a theatre, but there are ads before the movie. And in some movies if I watch closely, the people all drink one brand of pop. Any vending machines that happen to be shown in the background are for that same brand. That's not an accident either.
Frankly, the ads are just about like my "gmail" page where I pretty much ignore those as well.

Photographer Ansel Adams in 1910

I doubt if took any pictures when Albert DeGuerre came knocking to take the census, but he certainly was enumerated in 1910. Photographer Ansel Adams was only 8 in 1910 and is enumerated with his parents in San Francisco, California in 1910. His father, Charles Adams, is listed as being in the lumber business.
You can search the 1910 United States Federal Census for your own relatives at Ancestry.com. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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Women's Rights Advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton-1870

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the leaders of the women's rights movement is listed as "keeping house" in 1870 as shown in the image in this post.

The family was living in Hackensack, New Jersey and their household included four servants.

You can search for your relative in the 1870 census, but chances are if your female relative was "keeping house" she didn't have four servants to help. Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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1930 Census--June Carter Cash

It is one of our most popular "famous census" pages--June Carter Cash in 1930.
Her real name was not June; she is shown here as Valiria...for Valarie. The census also listed an occupation for her mother, along with the name of an employer--not many women in rural Virginia listed themselves as musicians.
You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what your ancestor listed as her occupation--if one is even listed. Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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23 March 2007

Remembering my flashdrive

I am as forgetful as anything.
I love my flash drive that I got for Christmas...it makes taking a great deal of files with me extremely easy--genealogy files, presentations, etc.
The problem is that I am ALWAYS afraid I'm going to leave it somewhere, especially plugged into some laptop in a cybercafe like I'm in right now in Nashville. To reduce the chance of leaving it, I have the strap around my wrist as it is plugged in and as I'm typing. The strap is a constant reminder.
Now just to find a "trick" to not leave it in a machine when I'm making a presentation where I'm not "at" the machine constantly...

22 March 2007

Check your assumptions

My previous post indicated that my great-great-grandfather's death certificate indicated and his parents were born in Saxony. I wrote this from memory. BIG MISTAKE.

Turns out the death record was not even that specific---Germany was listed as the birthplace of John and his parents.
Be careful relying on memory and always check your assumptions. Don't add to the confusion already existing in some records.

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The Importance of Siblings

Beginning genealogists may be tempted to focus only on their own direct line, ignoring records from siblings of their ancestors. This can lead to missed information. The death certificate of my great-great-grandfather, John Michael Trautvetter indicates he and his parents were born in Saxony. That is very specific and very helpful (grin). The clip on the right is from his brother George's death certificate. George's record provides exact places of birth for George and his parents.
Of course this is secondary information, but it still is a valuable clue and would have been overlooked if I had only focused on "my line."

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At least we didn't get any bones

To view the death date for Lucinda Kile in the Greenmound Cemetery in Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois, we had to do a little digging. Fortunately the stone is in excellent shape and teh inscription is very legible.
There are a number of tombstone pictures and "how-to" articles on our site for taking pictures, making rubbings, etc. Plan before you go, don't leave a mess, and treat the cemetery and stones with respect.

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Is the Original Wrong?

The accuracy of the original should never be assumed--regardless of when the record was created and who gave the information. And sometimes errors are just that--errors.

If you search the online index of World War I Draft cards at Ancestry.com for only the year 1918, you will get many hits. If the actual card image is viewed, it will be seen that the card does actually say 1918 as the year of birth. Think about it for a second, have you ever written the wrong year on a check or an application? It is very easy to do. Those who transcribed the data for the online index of World War I Draft cards at Ancestry.com were supposed to transcribe what the card said, not what they thought it should say. Of course, the transcribers were human so they may have made mistakes, but the mistake could just as easily have been on the original.

A few samples of these cards can be viewed on our site.
And if you want to play with the database and don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.


Naming Patterns...

Have you thought about where your ancestor got the first names of all their children? While some families break the rules just to confuse us, many obtained names of their children from other relatives. Keep in mind the potential that a child was named for a parent, grandparent, or ancestral sibling. Our article Named for Whom? discusses naming patterns and issues one must be aware of when using these tendencies in research. Naming patterns are clues, clues, clues, not fact, fact, fact.


1910 Census--C. W. Post

I don't eat Toasties anymore, and I certainly don't want any from 1910, but the image to the right shows the occupation listed for C. W. Post (founder of Post cereals) in 1910. The rest of the enumeration includes the rest of the family and the requisite household staff that any large food manufacturer is bound to have.
You can search the 1910 United States Federal Census for your own relatives at Ancestry.com. If you don't have a subscription, you can read our suggestions for a 14 day free trial here.

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1850 Census--Nathaniel Hawthorne

He's living in Stockbridge, Mass, with his family.
Those with an Ancestry.com subscription can search the 1850 Census--everyname index.
Those who don't have a subscription can read our free-trial suggestions here.

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1930 Census--no name Jackie O

Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis is enumerated in the 1930 census--well sort of. Her father is listed in in NYC's Manhattan as shown here, but his wife and young daughter are listed without names. Based upon the complete enumeration and known information about the Bouvier family, it's pretty certain this is the right family.

The reason for the unusual entry is anyone's guess, but if it can happen to a future first lady, it could happen to your less well-known ancestors as well. If you can't find someone when searching a census index, make certain you have searched for every family member.

You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see if your ancestors show up no names---maybe they were in the witness protection program!

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Believe it or Not--Robert Ripley in 1900

We've posted the 1900 census image for Robert Ripley (of "Ripley's Believe it or not" fame) to our site. His name, believe it or not, was not actually Robert, but was actually Leroy.

Believe it or not, the 1900 Census can be searched at Ancestry.com.


1910 Census--Oscar Mayer

I had to think of the television jingle to get Oscar Mayer's name spelled correctly--I guess I'm showing my age by even admitting that I remember those commercials ("I wish I were an....")

Oscar Mayer and family are listed as meatpackers in the 1910 census in Chicago.

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21 March 2007

Where Did I Get That?

Ever find a copy of something and wonder where you got it from? It can happen to anyone. And even if we know now to track all our sources, most of us researched for at least a while before we came to appreciate the importance of tracking where our information originated (for how can we compare and evaluate if we have no idea of the original source?).Even if we keep track of everything we get, a relative can easily send us something and have no idea where they got it. An older article on our site discusses such situations and some ways for determining where a document really came from.

We called it Orphaned Papers.


Lizzie Borden in US Census Records

We've got Lizzie Borden in the US Census from 1870-1920 on our site for those who are interested in the notorious Borden daughter from Massachusetts. We don't have her in 1910 and anyone who can find her in that year is welcome to email me mjnrootdig@gmail.com and we'll add her image to this site.


Wyatt Earp 1850-1920

We've added census images for Illinois native Wyatt Earp to our site from 1850 through 1920. The gunfighter was born in Monmouth, Illinois, but there is some debate as to the precise spot. Since I wasn't around then, I'm not exactly certain where he was born and the specific coordinates of his birthplace are probably not THAT important. I know precisely where I was born, but that's not too important as I'm not famous ;-)


Copies of SS-5 Forms

They aren't cheap, but in some cases, copies of an SS-5 form may be just what your genealogy research needs. The form shown here is for my wife's grandmother. She listed a different father on this form than her children listed on her death certificate, obituary, and other records for which one of her children was an informant.

The SSDI at Rootsweb can be searched for free. It can also be searched on our page which has more information about the SS-5 form, including how to obtain it. I usually only obtain SS-5 forms when I have a big "brick wall" or records created after the person's death are insufficient.

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20 March 2007

Tagging the Maytags in 1925

Maytag founder Frederick Maytag's 1925 Iowa State census entry makes two excellent points--the importance of looking for neighbors and the fact that some individuals can be listed by their initials.

My initial searches for Frederick Maytag brought no results with the correct age, but viewing the entry for Frederick Maytag (shown as a son in the neighboring household), I quickly saw the grandparents living next door.

Always consider someone being enumerated under their initials and always pay attention to the neighbors.

Those with an Ancestry.com account (either US or World) can access the Iowa State Censuses (and the images) at Ancestry.com as a part of their account. Those without an account can search the database as part of a free 14-day trial (read our free trial "suggestions" before signing up.)

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Cleaning Clothes in 1920

The 1920 Census found the Maytags of Maytag washer fame, living in Newton, Iowa. Frederick Maytag isn't living there anymore---and Maytags are made there anymore either, if I recall. At least they didn't move Maytag's remains to Mexico!
You can clean up on your search for your relatives in the 1920 United States Federal Census. Just don't go too crazy during the spin cycle.

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Anne Landers and Dear Abby

We've been giving (and getting) advice on the Iowa State Censuses at Ancestry.com . And it finally dawned on me that the queens of advice giving should be in the 1925 Iowa State Census--Anne Landers and Dear Abby--the Friedman sisters and twins, Esther and Pauline Friedman. And sure enough they were--living in Sioux City, Iowa with their sister and parents.

The census entry for their parents indicates they were born in Russia, but the index entry lists this as the Soviet Union---we're not going to get into that mess here. THe parents were married in Nebraska.

Those who want to find the Friedmans in the census and view the complete set of images (remember for the 1925 census there are three images---completing a set of six pages where the second two sets are overlaid onto the first to prevent the names from having to be rewritten)--can search the Iowa State Census Collection at Ancestry.com.

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1927 Katharine Hepburn goes abroad

In 1927 Katharine Hepburn returned to the United States on the Leviathan, sailing from France. The 20 year old was apparently travelling without family as no other Hepburns were listed. One may easily find American citizens on passenger manifests, not just the rich and famous.

These indexes to these records and the digitized images can be obtained for your relative by searching Ancestry.com


Wig Maker, Wig Maker, Make me a Wig

His name is now associated with a company, but not one that makes wigs.
And if any makeup was spilled on his card, I didn't see it.
Max Factor indicates he is a wigmaker on his World War I Draft Card, as shown in the image included in this post. The founder of the cosmetics firm was a Russian native who was living in California at the time of the registration for the World War I Draft.
This card comes from the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database at Ancestry.com where you can search for your own relatives who might have registered---who knows what their occupation might have been?

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Cole Porter-World War I Draft Card

Not everyone listed Carnegie Hall as their employer on their World War I Draft Card, but 25 year old Cole Porter did. The Indiana native is living in New York at the time of the registration.
This card comes from the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database at Ancestry.com where you can search for your own relatives who might have registered.

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19 March 2007

Booker T. Washington--1880 Census

The 1880 census found Booker T. Washington working as a 24 year old school teacher in Virginia. His name was a little difficult to read, but this entry was consistent with known information about Washington.
You can search the 1880 Census at Ancestry.com to search for your relative---just be careful about how her name might be written.

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Ft. Wayne Library Trip Update

We have fixed a few minor glitches on our website for the annual research trip to the Allen County Public Library co-sponsored by the St. Charles County, Genealogical Society and St. Charles Community College. The trip runs from 30 May- 3 June 2007. We still have plenty of room--and you can even drive or fly in from other locations besides suburban St. Louis.

For more information visit our updated and corrected website.


1900 Census--Jack Benny

The 1900 census finds comedian Jack Benny enumerated as Bennie Kubelsky, living with his parents in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois.
The 1900 Census can be searched at Ancestry.com--hopefully your relative did not alter his name as much as Jack Benny did.

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Searching the Iowa State Censuses at Ancestry.com

The Iowa State Census search interface at Ancestry.com gives the user many options. It is important to note that not all of these search options are applicable to all the census years in the database. Many of the advanced search options (particularly those related to parents ) are only available for the 1925 census. Earlier census (such as the 1856) may not even give the relationship to the head of household--in fact the households may not even be clearly distinguished on the census. Searchers are encouraged to browse censuses for years they are searching to become familiar with the schedules and the information they contain.

Of course, for 1925, take full advantage of all those questions that were asked. The images of the search interface follow. Those with an Ancestry.com account (either US or World) can access the Iowa State Censuses (and the images) at Ancestry.com as a part of their account. Those without an account can search the database as part of a free 14-day trial (read our free trial "suggestions" before signing up.)

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Michael's suggestions if you get a free trial at Ancestry.com

Michael's suggestions to getting a free trial at Ancestry.com .

I have Ancestry.com at home and like it and get a lot of use out of it. I've been known to use it on my lunch hour at work. These suggestions are based upon our experiences and the experiences of other users. Following the directions at the link below will allow you to get a free 14-day trial at Ancestry.com. Before getting the trial, remember to:

1) Get the free trial when you will have time to actually use it.
2) Write or print out any toll-free numbers Ancestry.com gives you.
3) Write the day your 14 days expires.
4) Make a decision about cancelling your free trial BEFORE the 14th day. If you are going to cancel, do so on or before day 13.
5) Consider joining the Gen-Newbie list at Rootsweb if you are new to computers or genealogy--there are many on the list who can help if you have difficulty using Ancestry, the image viewer, or the indexes.
6) If day thirteen is on a weekend, call the Friday before.

Free Trial - Ancestry.com US Deluxe Membership can be had by clicking here.


1925 Iowa State Census

The images on the right are part of the 1925 Iowa state census entries for Ekke and Nanke Behrens, my aunt and uncle. The second image shows an additional part of their entry, whjich includes the names of their parents and where their parents were married.

The images have been reduced here to decrease load time, but one can easily zoom in the images. The larger image shown below is magnified at 100%.

The 1925 State Census for Iowa asks the following questions:

  • Surname.

  • Given Name.

  • Relation. Relationship within the family.

  • Sex.

  • Color. When not "White", this information is listed under the title "Various" on the census page view (not on surname search results).

  • Age.

  • Marital Status. S for Single, M for married, W for widowed, D for divorced.

  • Own or Rent. This field applies to the head of household.
  • Free or Mortgaged. For owned property, whether owned outright or mortgaged.
  • Home Value. Value of property.
  • Mortage Debt.

  • Rent Amount.

  • Insurance Amount.
  • Foreign Born Status.
  • Years Residing in the U.S.

  • Years Residing in Iowa.

  • Highest School Level. R=Rural, G=Grade, H=High School, C=College.

  • Highest Grade Level.

  • Number of Months Attending School. In past year.
  • Whether Can Read.

  • Whether Can Write.

  • Place of Birth.

  • Father's Surname.

  • Father's Given Name.

  • Father's Age.

  • Mother's Surname.

  • Mother's Given Name.

  • Mother's Age.

  • Parent's Place of Marriage.

  • War Experience. Whether Veteran/Branch or Service in Which Served/State Enlisted or Drafted From. For Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War I.
  • Occupation. Agricultural, Professional Services, Domentic and Personal Services, Trade and Transportation, Manufacturing and Mechanical, or Laborer.

  • Months Unemployed Due to Illness from Communicable Diseases.
  • Lost Income Due to Above.
  • Month's Unemployed in 1924.
  • Comments. When present, this information is listed under the title "Various" on the census page view (not on surname search results).

A wonderful source recently indexed by Ancestry.com. And a great way to spend a lot of time. Those who don't have an ancestry account can read our suggestions for getting a free trial before subscribing.


18 March 2007

1856 Iowa State Census

One of the recently added databases at Ancestry.com is the complete set of Iowa state censuses. The image in this post comes from the 1856 state census for Scott County, Iowa. This entry is actually for Peter Freund, but the name was spelled Frent. A soundex search easily caught the entry. An upcoming article in the Ancestry World Journal will discuss using these wonderful records for the Freund family. Meanwhile genealogists can be searching for their Iowa ancestors in this Ancestry.com database.

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Using the 1885 Nebraska State Census

Searching for Tamme Tammen in the 1885 Nebraska State Census was not the easiest thing to do. Fortunately for Nebraska in 1885 there are farm schedules and population schedules. While each schedule does not contain the exact same set of names (the farm schedule contains only heads of household who were farmers), the order of the names should be the same.
The problem was that Tamme's name was written in a nearly impossible way to search for on one of the schedules. Tapping Tamme Tammen discusses how I searched for Tamme in these schedules, some general techniques, and samples of the actual census schedules showing Tamme's entry.
And if anyone is related to Tamme...let me know mjnrootdig@gmail.com. His older sister Tjode Anna Focken Tammen Goldenstein is my 3rd great-grandmother.

17 March 2007

Articles on French-Canadian Research

I've posted a few articles on French-Canadian research on my site, particularly focusing on my wife's family who came to upstate New York. One series focuses on census analysis of a French-Canadian family from 1850 until 1900. The others discuss beginning your French-Canadian Research.

From now until 31 March 2007, Ancestry.com is offering free access to
its Drouin Collection--used extensively by French-Canadian researchers.


Can You Read It?

This also comes from an early 18th century Amherst County, Virginia deed.

However, this is not exactly someone's name, but a phrase that one will often see on old deeds that describe property in metes and bounds.

It is not all that hard to read.


Can You Read It?

While not a signature, this name comes from an early eighteenth century deed in Amherst County, Virginia. The tail on the first letter of the name got a little long, hence the inclusion of the "said."
This one should not be too hard.


Drouin Collection at Ancestry.com

Ancestry is offering temporary free access to its digitized version of the Drouin Collection. This is an excellent source for those researching French-Canadian ancestors. My only problem is finding time to use the
Drouin Collection--my wife is 1/8th French-Canadian with families that left Canada in the 1840s-1850s to settle in Clinton County, New York. Her great-great-grandfather eventually spent time in Chicago, where his daughter Marie starting meeting husbands.

Name Games

First and last names can create all kinds of problems for the genealogist. Two older articles on our site discuss concerns family historians need to keep in mind with both last names and first names. Phonetics can be a problem with either one, but there are differences--particularly if your ancestor came from a country where they practiced patronymics as late as the nineteenth century as my Ostfriesens and my wife's Swedes did.

The Last Name Game

The First Name Game

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15 March 2007

1900 Census--Ty Cobb

The future baseball player is 12 years old and living at home with his parents in Georgia. Like many census enumerations, this one is split over two pages. View the complete image to see what his father's occupation was and other information about Cobb's family. If memory serves his wife was a census taker in one of Cobb's later enumerations as an adult.

The 1900 Census can be searched at Ancestry.com.

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14 March 2007

New Brunswick Newspaper Database

The Database of Vital Statistics from New Brunswick Newspapers is available on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website. The database contains genealogical extractions from New Brunswick newspapers from 1784-1896 and can be searched at the Provincial website. It might have been there for a while, but today was the first time I noticed it. My Neills were in New Brunswick for a short time so I was glad to see it online.

It is wonderful source. Read the background and what it contains before you search.

Rev. James Bennett--St. John, New Brunswick

I have a copy of it, but it's buried in my filing cabinet and admittedly never been computerized--the transcription of the marriage announcement of Samuel Neill and Anne Murphy

From the St. John Globe--17 November 1865, which indicates that Samuel Neill and Miss Anne Murphy were married on 9 November 1865 by the Rev. James Bennett and that they were both of Simonds Parish (St. John).

I found this on the New Brunswick Provincial Archives website. This database may have been on there a while, but I never noticed it until just right now. Pays to go back and look.

Now to find out if there are any church records.


Alfred Hitchcock arrives in the US in 1937

Online Registration for FGS 2007 Ft. Wayne

Online registration for the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2007 conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, this August is now operational. Yipee! I'll be there and hopefully I'll find a few ancestors in the library (Well not their actual bodies--although they did dig a pretty big hole for the library's new parking garage, so you never know--but that would give whole new meaning to the phrase "open stacks").

Learn more about the program, the speakers, and FGS at


We always have a good time, always learn, and always share. Join us and learn more about your ancestors, genealogical research, and FGS in Ft. Wayne late this summer.

FGS Board Member


Presentation in Princeton, Illinois 29 March 2007

Due to a scheduling conflict on my part, the Bureau County folks have graciously changed their meeting date to the 29th of March 2007 at the usual location and the usual time in the evening.
The topic "Discovering Your Own Migration Trail and Establishing Your Ancestor's Neighborhood" and everything else remains the same.

The Bureau County website contains more information, but the date might not be changed on the website yet as we just confirmed the new date late this afternoon.

Pickles in 1900

We can't always locate the ketchup in our house, but I did manage to find Henry Heinz in the 1900 census. H J Heinz and his oldest son are enumerated as pickle manufacturers. The "0" behind the occupation means something, but not how many pickles they made during the year. The column headings on the original indicate the intent.
If your ancestor was in a pickle in 1900, that may be shown when you search the 1900 Census.
Chances are you may find pickles in your refrigerator, but not your ancestor. And if your ancestor is in the refrigerator...well that's another problem entirely.

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1900 Willa Cather

In 1900 Willa Cather was a newspaper reporter living in Phildelphia. The author of O Pioneers, My Antonia, and other novels of the western frontier had yet to pen her well-known works.

Philadelphia was probably a big change from rural Nebraska where Cather grew up. Her migration trail was little bit atypical. She was born in Virginia, lived in Nebraska and moved to Pennsylvania where she is shown here in 1900.
The 1900 Census can be searched at Ancestry.com--but keep your ancestor's migration path in mind.

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1920 Census--Grandma from the Waltons (Ellen Corby)

Did you know that Grandma from the Waltons (Ellen Corby) was born in Wisconsin of Norwegian parents and grew up in Pennslyvania? I sure didn't.
Her maiden name was Ellen Hansen and her 1920 census entry is partially shown here with her mother and step-father in Philadelphia.
The 1920 United States Federal Census can be searched for your relative--no matter where in the US they were born or were living. Of course, sometimes we search but never find them.

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1920 Census-Anthony Quinn

His real name was Antonio Quine (at least in the 1920 census). Those of us with ancestors for whom English was not their native language must always be on the lookout for the "original" name of our ancestor or how their name might have sounded to the census taker. The rest of the image can be viewed on our site, along with the year the Quine family came to America. They were living in California in 1920 where Antonio was a little too young to be an actor.
Search the everyname index to the 1920 United States Federal Census for your ancestor--and keep those alternate spellings and names in mind.

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The Voice of Snow White in 1930

Her father was a voice teacher, so I guess Andriana Caselotti got her talent naturally. Fortunately the apple that didn't fall far from the tree in this case was a good one, not one like Snow White (for whom Caselotti provided the voice) ate in the movie.

The 1930 census finds the 13 year old living with her family in Los Angeles, where her father is employed as a voice teacher.

Some occupations and talents tend to run in families. Some are re-developed every generation. And some are just stuck. You can search of the 1930 census at Ancestry.com and see what category your relative falls into.

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13 March 2007

Harry Houdini didn't escape from the manifest

Harry Houdini returned to the United States on board the Imperator in 1920. Obviously he didn't escape from the manifest and hopefully no one tried to throw him overboard with chains or leg irons on.
Indexes to these records are a part of the Ancestry.com's set of databases. Search for your own relative in ship manifests--hopefully he wasn't thrown overboard in leg irons either.


Can You Read It?

This comes from a 1860s era probate in Chariton County, Missouri. It is the listing of a person who purchased property at the estate sale.


Federal Land Patents

An article I wrote several years ago about the Bureau of Land Management website is still accurate--thankfully they leave the search interface alone for the most part.

A search for William Newmans in Indiana resulted in one match for my William. The legal description for his property is as shown in the image below.
The legal description is available on the patent image, but the quarter section can be viewed on the BLM site as part of the database entry for William's patent.

Then using the legal land description of William's 40 acres, I searched the BLM database of patents again. This time I searched for patents granted to people for property in the same section of the township.

I was excited when I viewed the names. One last name was the same last name as William's wife, Rebecca Tinsley. Viewing the patent for William Tinsley indicated he was living in the same county William was when William purchased the land in Tipton County. Both men were listed as residents of Rush County, Indiana.
Patents are not only for "early" or pre-statehood settlers. There were federal land sales in many states long after statehood. After all, these sales are in Indiana in 1850.
The article goes into more detail on using these patents. I would view the BLM website's information on patents and the rectangular survey system descriptions before I did extensive searches.

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Can You Read It?

From an estate settlement in the 1860s in Chariton County, Missouri.
Feel free to post a guess--it's not too hard.


Looking for Images of Farm Implements?

I just had a thought...

Those who are looking for images of those items mentioned in an estate settlement from the 1800s or so might want to consider searching for the item on the US patents database at Google. While search for patents with a location of the town where I grew up, I happened upon an 1871 patent for a hand corn husker. There are images of every patented item on the website and Google's US Patents Database may be a good way for researchers to locate images of items with which they are unfamiliar. The patent description may also provide some information on what the item was used for.


Patent Searches at Google

Don't forget that US patents can be searched at Google.

A search of one of my wife's surnames turned up a relative of hers being a witness on a patent for a feeding trough put together by Chester A. Barnes of Blue Grass, Iowa.

The full text OCR search is really neat and as can be seen in the image, the search term is highlighted on the results. Fun stuff at http://www.google.com/patents

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Candy is Dandy, but Ogden's Not Legal

Ogden Nash penned "Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker," but he probably had not written it at the time of this 1920 census enumeration in New York. The 17 year old is living with his parents on 5th Avenue in Manhattan where his father worked in the export business.

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1920 Census--Jazz Great Louis Armstrong

The 1920 census found Louis Armstrong living with his mother in a boarding house in New Orleans. The 19 year old is listed as being employed in the "theatre" as a musician. Armstrong was not too difficult to find, but common names in large cities combined with bad handwriting always makes for a challenging search.

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1920 Census-Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart and his family were living on West 103rd Street in Manhattan at the time of the 1920 enumeration. The partial image to the right shows most of the household members. The future actor is listed as a 20 year old railroad clerk. I'm not quite certain what the father's occupation is supposed to be.

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12 March 2007

Hizzoner Richard Daley in 1920

Future Chicago Mayor Richard Daley (the father of the current may0r) is enumerated in the Chicago census at 7621 Green Street--his grandmother is also living there.
You can search the 1920 United States Federal Census for your ancestor who may or may not be living with grandparents and future mayors.

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President Richard Nixon in 1920

Future president Richard M. Nixon was enumerated with his parents and several siblings in the 1920 census for Orange County, California. His parents were not native Californians; his father was born in Ohio and his mother was born in Indiana.
Search the everyname index to the 1920 United States Federal Census at Ancestry for your ancestor--whether he was living in California or not!

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Making Certain you have the "right" Guy

Tracking ancestors across state lines can be difficult, especially so when they have left few records and the searching is done before the everyname censuses begin in 1850. Some time ago we posted an article on my search for Levi Rhodes across Missouri and back into Tennessee. The discussion is still relevant today.

Here are a few reminders from our searches for Levi in Tennessee:

  • Don't just grab the first name that matches. Check all possible reasonable matches in the area and eliminate them systematically.

  • Make logical connections.

  • Fit as many pieces together as possible. Realize that some pieces may not fit, but make note of the fact that they do not fit.

  • Research the most recent era first.

  • Make certain you have copied everything you needed.

The rest of the article can be viewed on our website.


It Looks Like Stone-Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1860

Harriet Beecher Stowe (of Uncle Tom Cabin's Fame) is enumerated in 1860 with her family---but the last name certainly looks like Stone in the image shown in this post.
Think about how your ancestor's name might have been written when searching in the index for her. It might be that an incorrect spelling might not be as "obvious" as you think. Search the 1860 Census at Ancestry.com for your relative---who may also be hiding under an alternate surname.

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Google Warning--website may harm computer

I did a search for a well-known person who died recently and Google popped up this warning before I could proceed to the person's home page. I do a lot of google searches and have never seen this before.
I deleted the name of the website, but it was nothing that I thought was going to cause any trouble.
I'd be interested in any comments from readers on this warning.

Shoeless Joe Jackson Draft Card-WW I

Draft cards and census records can provide unique insight into the personal lives of individuals. The draft card of baseball great "Shoeless" Joe Jackson indicates he supported his wife and a younger sister as shown in the image. The complete card indicates he is a professional baseball player. This card comes from the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database at Ancestry.com where you can search for your own relatives who might have registered.

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1930 Census--Marilyn Monroe

We "think" we have Marilyn Monroe in the 1930 census--to be perfectly frank, I'm not 100%, but what follows is the text from our page that contains an image of her suspected 1930 census enumeration.

The Marilyn Monroe Facts Page at http://marilynmonroepages.com/facts.html indicates that Marilyn (formerly Norma Jean Baker) lived with the family of Albert Bolander at 459 E Rhode Island St., Hawthorne, CA, from 1926-32, which is the address of this enumeration (noted on the side of the page). There are other references that provide similar information. Numerous sites indicate that Norma Jean's mother, Gladys, also lived with the family at various times during this period.

There are a few errors in this enumeration, most notably the age (which should be 6--unless it is to indicate 6 years and some months) and the places of birth listed for Norma Jean and her parents. This Norma Jean is listed as being widowed as well. I don't have the answer for this particular discrepancy. However, given the family structure it is likely that whoever answered the questions for Norma Jean was not certain of all the answers.

Gladys Baker's husband, Mr. Baker, went to Kentucky after his divorce from Gladys and this Norma Jean Baker is not his mother. As Gladys was likely estranged from the Baker family, I find it difficult to believe that a member of the extended Baker family would be living with Gladys at the Bolanders.

It seems really coincidental that Marilyn Monroe (formerly Norma Jean Baker) lived with the Bolanders in the late 1920s and early 1930s and yet there is ANOTHER older Norma Jean Baker enumerated in their household and younger Norma Jean Baker is somehow omitted.

If you think she's elsewhere, give a search of the 1930 census and let us know if you find another potential match.

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1850 Census--Siamese Twins Chang and Eng Bunker

Talk about a combined household.

The 1850 Census enumerator for Surry County, North Carolina put Chang and Eng Bunker's family in the same household and then simply listed the children in order of age (partially shown in the image on this post). It even looks like the enumerator started to put an "&" after Chang's name as if he were going to put them on the same line. Our site contains the complete image of the Bunker's enumeration.

We've blogged about the 1860 enumeration which lists the twins households separately. Oh the things they don't mention on the list of enumerator instructions.

Those with an Ancestry.com subscription can search the 1850 Census--everyname index.

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1920 Census--Roy Rogers

Roy Rogers wasn't always Roy Rogers and one of Hollywood's most famous cowboys didn't grow up on a western ponderosa either. In 1920 he is enumerated as eight year old Leonard Sly in Scioto County, Ohio, with his family (see the complete enumeration). The Ohio native did not move to California until after the 1930 census enumeration.

Those who want to search for less well-known relatives in the 1920 census can do so at Ancestry.com--just make certain you know their correct name and if that name is common, have an idea of where they would be living and others who would be enumerated in the same household.

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1920 Census--Walter Cronkhite

11 March 2007

Draft Card--Robert Frost

The World War I Draft Card for poet Robert Frost has one of the most legible signatures I have seen. He lived in New Hampshire, but was a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts. If memory serves Frost was actually born in California but moved to New England at a young age.

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1930 Census--Actor Charles Bronson

Enumerated as Charles Bunchinski in Ehrenfeld, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, with his parents listed as Walter and Mary Bunchinski--this was a BIG family. I never realized he was one of twelve children. You can view the family's complete entry to see Mr. Bunchinski's occupation. His rent was $7 a month.
Search the 1930 for your ancestor and see how much he was paying a month for rent.

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1930 Census--Mike Wallace

Future journalist Mike Wallace is living with his parents in Brookline, Massachusetts. He's enumerated under Myron Wallace, which is his real name, with his parents Frank and Zina Wallace, living at 179 Rawson Road.

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World War I Draft Card--E B White

The World War I Draft Card for E B White contains his complete name of actual name of Elwyn Brooke White. His name is difficult to read, but if you know what it is supposed to be, it certainly makes it easier---just like with a lot of our on relatives' records.
This card comes from the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database where you can search for your family member to see how he signed his name on his draft card.

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Are You Paying Too Much for Vital Records?

Shop around before you buy a copy of that vital record. Experienced genealogists usually know where and how to get the best price on a vital record, but those who are just starting their ancestral search may pay significantly more than they have to.

Generally speaking, copies of birth, death, and marriage records are best ordered from the local (county or city) office that records and maintains them. Additional copies of these records may be at a state department of vital records, but typically their prices are slightly higher than local offices. Of course, there are always exceptions.

In some cases, the records may have been microfilmed and may be available at either a state archives or via the Family History Library. In some states the records have actually been placed online at no cost. This is true for at least Missouri, Arizona, and Utah for some records in some years.

It is never cheapest to order from one of the "online providers" of vital records and genealogists rarely need "immediate service" which significantly adds to the cost.

Before you purchase a vital record for the first time, search the UsGenweb page for the county where the event took place. These pages may have information on obtaining vital records for the county in question. If that does not work, consider posting a message to the appropriate message board at rootsweb http://lists.rootsweb.com or http://boards.ancestry.com. Someone may be able to tell you where to obtain records for the place in question.

Don't just type in "kansas vital records" into google and click and buy at the first site that comes up. Save that money for other copies ;-)


1870 Census--President William McKinley

The 1870 census found future president William McKinley living with his parents and working as a lawyer and living in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.
You can search for your relative in the 1870 census, but they probably aren't a future president....

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10 March 2007

Census Enumeration Forms and questions

1900 Census--Helen Keller

Helen Keller is enumerated in Alabama with her mother and siblings as shown in the image here .
The mother is listed as a landlady and the children are listed as students, including 19 year old Helen.
Search the 1900 census for your relative, who if they were like mine and nineteen years old in 1900 were likely employed--most as farmers or farm laborers.

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Where did they get THAT?

Confusion is often in the mind of the beholder. The every name 1900 census index at Ancestry.com has caused me to revisit some relatives in this census. When I viewed one entry, I remembered how confused I was when I first saw it. Like many genealogical records, the enumeration contained an error. And like many errors, the incorrect statement was a clue. In this case it was a clue that I failed to notice.

The article Where Did they Get That? continues on our site...

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1930 census--H & R Block

Henry and Richard Bloch were born and raised in Kansas City, the second and third sons of a prominent Kansas City lawyer, Leon Bloch. The 1930 census enumeration for their family indicates they were not living in the low rent district. They were the founders of the tax preparation giant H and R Block.

It might be a little taxing, but you can search the 1930 for your relative at Ancestry.com

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1900 Census--Al Capone

Al Capone was located living in New York with his parents and siblings, but because of statistical markings from the Bureau of the Census, it was a little difficult to find him at first.
Search the 1900 census for your relative-hopefully he's not on his way to a life of crime and the Bureau of the Census wrote marks on someone else's name.

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09 March 2007

1930 Census--Sam Walton of Walmart

The 1930 census found the future founder of WalMart living with his family and enumerated with the nickname of Sammie. You can search the 1930 for your relative at Ancestry.com--just remember they might just be listed under their nickname...

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Clipping Clues

"The bride, a pretty blonde, looked beautiful in her wedding costume of blue crepe with silver accessories." The 1936 description of my grandmother gives me an image I did not already have.

The Mendon [Illinois] Dispatch of 2 January 1936 contains a brief mention of my grandparents' 17 December 1935 wedding. Other than Grandma's attire, the clipping did not contain any new clues or leads. This week we will see how the information fits with other known facts...(continue reading the article posted on our site)

Just about any newspaper clipping can contain hidden clues---you just have to look. Of course this short notice has four spelling errors in it (Trautvetter twice, Keithsburg, and the wrong their). But one must remember, the editor did not have spellcheck in 1936.

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If I won the Irish Contest

I won't win, because I never do. However, if I did win the Irish trip, I'd go to Newtown Limavady and the surrounding area in County Derry, Ireland. That's where my Neill ancestors immigrated in the 1860s, initially settling in Canada. Family always indicated the Neills were famine immigrants, but they weren't. They hung in there almost twenty years before immigrating. And they kept little of their Irish culture--none of that heritage has been passed down. In fact, I had a difficult time locating their origin in Ireland. Of course, my Neill ancestor married an Anne Murphy in Canada. She was born in the early 1840s and was an Irish immigrant. Of course, there are so few Anne Murphys that I am having a difficult time finding one who could be her (grin...)

Meet My Ancestors?

I won't say where...but I recently saw an ad that offered me the chance to "Meet my ancestors." I only have three ancestors in this world that I can meet. I met four others, but only remember two. If you're among the living and are meeting your deceased ancestors in your spare time, I'd be very selective with whom I shared that information. Interviewing the dead may be tempting, but it is a very slipperly sloap from a documentation standpoint. I have read Elizabeth Mills' Evidence! cover to cover and I never saw her give instructions on how to cite conversations with the dead ;-). She occasionally asks members of the APG list for unique documents so she can create citation templates, but I have yet to see her ask for a transcription of a conversation with the dead...

Ancestry's Irish Trip Contest

Ancestry is giving away a trip to Ireland in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Entries are accepted until St. Patrick's Day, but the prize is not announced until April. Leprechauns are apparently allowed to enter--at least I didn't see them on the usual list of disallowed participants.

Maybe you'll have the luck of the Irish and will win the prize. I wish they'd give away some Irish ancestors....I have a few I can't find.

1930 Census--Donna Reed

You can search the 1930 for your relative at Ancestry.com--just remember they might not have the first name you think.

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1930 Census-Cloris Leachman

The 1930 census enumeration for actress Cloris Leachman reminds us of several things to remember in genealogical research. Cloris was named for her mother. Apparently her uncle and aunt were living next door. One should always pay attention to the neighbors when doing genealogical research. And who knew she was from Des Moines?
You can search the 1930 for your relative at Ancestry.com

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1930 Charlton Heston

The websites say his name is actually James Charles Carter, but we found him in the 1930 census with his parents enumerated as Charlton J. Carter. Of course websites are not always correct---and the census is not always correct either. You can search the 1930 for your relative---just remember his name might not be exactly what you think it is.

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08 March 2007

1870 Census--Levi Strauss

He's not on page 501...nor is that his house number either.

The Levi Strauss of "Levi" jeans fame is living in San Francisco, California, in 1870.

You can search the 1870 census and see where your ancestor was living, but it won't tell you if he was wearing Levis or not.

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1870 Census--George Custer

George Custer is enumerated in Michigan with his parents in 1870.

His occupation is listed as Captain U S A. Of course, this is before his infamous "last stand." You can search the 1870 census and see where your ancestor was standing...err residing in that year.

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1880 Census-Frank Lloyd Wright

You never know...you may find your own relative twice in the 1880 census.

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1880 Census-Buffalo Bill Cody

Also in the Cody household are his sister and his neice--remember if you can't find your ancestor or relative in a census always consider looking in the households of other family members.
You can search for your own ancestor in the 1880 census. Of course your relative probably was not a cattleman and an actor--unless you are related to Buffalo Bill Cody.

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1920 Census--Charlie Chaplin

1920 finds Charlie Chaplin living as an actor in California. He is an alien, not because he landed on an UFO, but because he was born in England.

Search the 1920 Census for your own ancestor at Ancestry.com--maybe you'll find out they were aliens!

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07 March 2007

Clarifying Clara

I wrote "Clarifying Clara" long before the Missouri Death Index and images came online, but the article still makes valid points about how a record can be analyzed.
It is also important to note that a record can easily contain errors--the birth place of Clara's father, William Rhodus/Rhodes is most likely Tennessee and not Kentucky. The birth place of Matilda Jones, the mother, is likely Missouri and not Kentucky either.
Clara is my wife's great-grandmother and I'd love to hear from anyone else researching this family.

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Get Some Culture

Do you know enough about your ancestor's culture in order to research him or her effectively? It is very easy to make incorrect conclusions when we assume our ancestor would make decisions the same way that we would. Our upbringing, educational level, and personal experiences make a significant impact on how we make decisions. Our ancestors had different experiences from us, lived in a different time, and a different educational experience.
All this impacts how they made decisions.
Get Some Culture on our site discusses some ways to learn culture and common social practices so that we don't create more brick walls than we already have.


My now wife is the late grantee

Terminology can get genealogists in all kinds of trouble--if for no other reason that misinterpreting something can easily lead us down the incorrect road and convince us there is a brick wall when the problem lies with us.
A while back we posted an article on our site with some basic legal terminology useful to genealogists.
Remember: "my now wife" doesn't mean I have had more than one.


1930 Census-Gallo Brothers

CNN is reporting the death of Ernest Gallo at 97. The image to the right is from the 1930 census for the family, a few short years before the winery was founded. As the slogan used to be they "will make no wine before it's time."
Search for your own family member in 1930, whether it's time or not.


1930 Census--Lucille Ball

Knowledge of the family structure is always important. By 1930 Lucille Ball was living with her mother Desiree and her stepfather Edward Peterson. While Ball was enumerated under her birth name, some individuals are occasionally listed in the census with the same surname as their step-father. You can search for your family member in 1930, but make certain you have their correct last name and are aware of any changes in their family structure.

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1930 census--Liberace

He probably could play some piano by 1930, but I bet the candles weren't on the piano yet. And his first name was Walter. Liberace is enumerated with his parents and siblings in the 1930 census in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You can search for your family member in 1930, regardless of whether they can play the piano or not.

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No Sandra Day O'Connor in 1930

Sources indicate:

"Sandra Day O'Connor was born on March 26, 1930 in El Paso, Texas, the daughter of Harry A. Day and Ada Mae Wilkey Day, but grew up in southeastern Arizona on a cattle ranch owned by her parents."

We cannot find her--either here with her parents or with either set of grandparents. Of course, the former Supreme Court Justice is not missing any more, but one wonders why she was not enumerated in the census as she technically should have been.

Just something to think about when you can't find your in the 1930 census index .

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Where was Jimmy Hoffa in 1930?

No one may know where he is now, but we do know where Jimmy Hoffa was in 1930--living with his mother in Detroit, Michigan. Even if you don't know how your ancestor met his demise, you can search the 1930 census index for your ancestor for him to see where he was hanging out in 1930.

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After the Marriage...

After a marriage, sometimes there is a divorce. Contrary to what some would have us believe, divorce and marital problems have been happening for a very long time. A recent article on our site discusses divorce records and how to search for them.

You may be surprised to find an ancestor divorced and what those records contained. These records should be a part of every search.


Proof of Marriage

One doesn't to get married to reproduce---theoretically we could have no marriage records for our ancestors. Fortunately, most of the time we do. A recent article posted to our website discusses the main types of marriage records and ways to search for them:

"I know they were married, but I cannot find it. They had to get married; after all they had children. Well . . . not necessarily. Usually a marriage precedes the children. It is finding the record of that marriage that sometimes creates headaches for the genealogist. "

The rest of the article is in our article archives.


06 March 2007

1930 Census--Rock Hudson

Rock Hudson was not born Rock Hudson. Raymond H. Scherer is enumerated in Cook County, Illinois in 1930 with his parents Raymond Scherer and Katherine Scherer. Even if your relative was not an actor, make certain you are rock solid with their name before you search the 1930 census index for your ancestor at Ancestry.com.

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A Young Blue Eyes in 1930

His eyes were blue in 1930 (there were no contacts to change your eye color back then), but it would be premature to call him "old Blue Eyes" when he was only 14. This 1930 census enumeration for Frank Sinatra and his parents finds them in Hoboken, New Jersey. Search the 1930 census index for your ancestor at Ancestry.com and remember---it's not necessary to know the eye color to use the census index ;-)

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1930 Census--Joe Garagiola

St. Louis was home in 1930 to at least two future baseball players--this one appeared for a short time as a host on the Today Show. Joe Garagiola is enumerated in 1930 with his parents, John and Angeline Garagiola, at 5446 Elizabeth Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri. He like neighbor Yogi Berra was of Italian extraction. You can search the 1930 census index for your ancestor at Ancestry.com but he's probably not enumerated as a baseball player or a talkshow host.

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From Lawrence to Yogi Berra--1930 Census

baseball great Yogi Berra enumerated as Lawrence Berra with his parents in St. Louis. Search the 1930 census index for your ancestor at Ancestry.com and remember that your ancestor's name in 1930 might not have been the name by which you knew him. Census takers occasionally use nicknames, but typically in 1930 that is not the case.

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1930 Census--formerly known as Marguerite Johnson

1930 Census--John Dillinger

Interestingly enough, he and the fellow inmates do have an occupation listed.

Search the 1930census index for your ancestor ---hopefully they are not working as shirt shop machine operators in LaPorte, Indiana.

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05 March 2007

Genealogy Computing Week Starts--Galesburg, Illinois

We have started our 9th annual Genealogy Computing Week at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Today was DeedMapper--how to use it, and how to enter and interpret deeds in metes and bounds.

Upcoming days include:
  • Military Research Online (Tuesday)
  • Preserving, Publishing and Promoting Your Research (Wednesday)
  • Using Genline for Swedish Genealogy Research (Thursday and Friday)
  • Using Ancestry.com (Saturday)

As of today (Monday night) we still have openings. Registration can be done by phone with a credit card by calling 1-877-236-1862 (ext. 5260--Nancy in our registration office). Those who wish to pay by check can pay before the workshop starts in our registration office which opens at 8:00. Workshops start at 9:00. If you call late the afternoon before the workshop, Nancy can tell you if there is still room and you can sign up the morning of the workshop before it starts. Any questions can be sent to me at mneill@sandburg.edu

More details on the workshops can be found at http://www.rootdig.com/sandburg.html

Chicago Voters

Voter registration lists are an excellent genealogical resource when they can be located. The image shown here comes from voter's registration lists from the late nineteenth century in Chicago. These have been indexed and are on Ancestry.com. The article contains complete image samples. These records are helpful for tracking movements and also include date/place of naturalization for those voters who were naturalized citizens. Of course in these records from the nineteenth century, women are not included. If you don't know why, a review of American history is in order.

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Can You Read it?

This comes from a deed

in Kentucky in the early 1800s. Hopefully it's not too hard.


What does that look like?

My forebear John Rucker revieved a patent in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in 1727. Part of the image of the patent is shown here--this is the part that describes the shape and size of his piece of property. There's a neat program that will allow you to type in the description of the property and get a grapical representation of that property--Deedmapper. Deedmapper is a great tool for genealogists who work a lot with deeds that contain metes and bounds descriptions.

The image shown below (we shrunk it) shows the shape of Rucker's piece of property. The goal is to plat out the properties of his likely neighbors and determine how the adjacent properties fit together. This is not a short or an easy process, but in an era with no vital records, land records are one of the few sources genealogists have at their disposal.

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More Money in Beer than in Soap

The 1860 census enumeration for Eberhart Anheuser (who was a forerunner of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company) indicates Anheuser was making soap not beer. Soap money may be clean, but apparently there was more money in beer, just as long as there's no soap in the beer. Search the 1860 Census for your ancestor and see if he was making soap, beer, or just earning a living in 1860.

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Backwards in the Census

Have you ever considered the possibility that your ancestor's census enumeration may have his first and last name switched? The 1930 census entry for my wife's step-great-grandfather, Panagiotis Verikios in Chicago does.
The image on the right shows the enumeration and the pattern here was for the last name to be first and the first name to be last--except for Panagiotis.
You can search the 1930 census for your own ancestor as well and if you don't find him, consider switching the first and last names.


04 March 2007

Undocumented Chaos

As genealogists looking to the past, we are forced to focus on paper records left behind by our forebears. We also use historical records and information about larger historical movements and cultural trends to reasonably infer things about our ancestor's lives. For many of us, there are times when neither of these sources or approaches is particularly helpful. Sometimes things just do not make any logical sense. There are times when our confusion stems from a misconception or ignorance we have about records, history, or cultural practices. But there are times when we've tried to learn as much as we can about the situation and perhaps have asked others more knowledgeable about the area to help us out. At times even the experts are stumped.

And so I occasionally wonder: Did some event in my ancestor's life throw the entire family into chaos?

Read the rest of the article Undocumented Chaos on our site


When There is No Probate

Probate records are one of the best genealogical sources. The problem is that not every ancestor who lived left a probate record. There are several research methods that should be done when a probate cannot be located and many reasons why your ancestor might not have a probate file even when they owned property upon their death.
Read the rest of the article When there is no Probate on our site...


Witness versus Bondsman

Do you know the legal difference between a witness to a document and a bondsman? There is a legal difference and it impacts how you should interpret the potential relationships among the people on the document. A witness is testifying that he saw the person sign the document. A bondsman is creating a potential legal or financial obligation if the person for whom he signs the bond does not act as he is supposed or was not legally able to get married (in the case of a marriage bond).


Occupation: Suffragist

Few women had occupations other than housewife in 1900 and very few were listed as "woman suffrage," but that is how Susan B. Anthony is listed in the 1900 census. Between the blurry ink and the census office notations, her name is very difficult to read, but there is no doubt it is her. You can search the 1900 census for your relative, but your female ancestors likely don't have any occupation listed. Sorry.

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1920 Census-Ronald Reagan

Future President's Reagan's family is split in the 1920 census--not in the literal sense--just over two census pages. His parents are both listed as working, father in a shoe store and mother in a dry goods store. Search the 1920 United States Federal Census for your own family members.

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1920 Census--John Wayne--who wasn't always John Wayne

1920 Census--President Kennedy

The 1920 census enumeration for future President Kennedy shows him as a small child

with his parents and siblings. His father is listed as a banker and the household had two siblings, including one who was an Irish native. The household staff were both unnaturalized aliens....

Search the 1920 United States Federal Census for your own family at Ancestry.com

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03 March 2007

The "real" concern with Civil War Pensions

Genealogy blogs and email lists are abuzz with news of the proposed raise in fees for copies of Civil War pension records from NARA (the National Archives). I won't repeat that commentary here because I have another concern regarding these records that I have not seen addressed: the long term preservation of these records.

Records of Union Civil War pensions only exist in the original paper form. They have not been microfilmed. They have not been digitized. While I am concerned that the price of a set of copies may be come somewhat high, I am more concerned that the long term preservation of these records is not being addressed.

How long will those papers last under ideal conditions? I'm not certain. If we fail to address the long term preservation of these historical records, agruments about copy costs may be moot.


Infant One Year Married the Next

On the surface it seems a little strange: in 1814 my ancestor is listed as an "infant." A year later she is getting married. Seems a little hinky and perhaps immoral or illegal.
And yet it is not.
Someone who is an infant in the eyes of the law is simply not of the age of majority or the age of consent. The person could easily be termed an "infant" one year and old enough to get married the next.
Remember how the law defines a term is often slightly different from how that same term is used in everyday English.


1860 Census--Kit Carson--my wife's relative next door

Even when looking for famous people, it pays to keep your eyes peeled. Living next door to Kit Carson in 1860 is a Robidoux, a distant relative of my wife. Kit Carson is enumerated as Christoper Carson---a suggestion that searching for nicknames is not always a good idea either. Like many entries, this one is split over two census pages, always a good idea to page over and make certain you've got the entire entry (usually a new number for a new household is a good clue as to this). Carson's entry can be seen in full here; you can search the 1860 census for your own relatives as well.

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1860 Census--Jefferson Davis

This is part of the entry for future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. He is living with his family near Vicksburg, Mississippi. A likely relative (also surnamed Davis) is enumerated in the next household. Pay attention to neighbors when you search the 1860 Census for your ancestor (online at Ancestry.com)

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Spelled 4 Ways on One Census Page

Barnes, Barams, Barse, Barrus, all one one page of the 1860 census. All refer to several different members of the Behrens family of Golden, Adams, Illinois. Multiple spellings and odd variants are a way of life for genealogists, particularly those whose ancestors do not speak the local language. Because of oddities like these, it is necessary to always look for different family members when searching the census and to consider how your ancestor might have pronounced his name and how a census taker might have heard what came out of your ancestor's mouth.
Four ways is quite a few, but I'm certain somewhere there are five spellings of the same name on the same page.
What makes some kind of statement is that I'm related to half the entries on this one page of the 1860 census!


1920 Census--Katharine Hepburn

It it Katharine H. the younger who is the well-known actress in this 1920 census enumeration. The Hepburn children all apparently had the same middle name (Houghton) or else the census taker got bored or lazy (grin..). This family's entry is split over two pages, Mr. Hepburn is on last line of the previous page.
Search the 1920 United States Federal Census for your ancestor--hopefully their splits are only due to pagination issues and not marital problems.

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1870 Census--Boss Tweed

As the image indicates, several attempts were made to ascertain information on the family of New York City politician "Boss Tweed"

for the 1870 census. The ages of all household members are blank on the census form as are the property values. This note was made by the census taker.

You can search the 1870 United States Federal Census at Ancestry.com for your ancestor--who hopefully answered more questions than the Tweeds did

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Kewanee Illinois DAR

This morning found me in Kewanee, Illinois, giving a beginning level presentation to the local DAR group. A few topics came up and the links discussed are:

The LDS Church genealogy site:

The research guides we discussed can be linked to from here:
just click on the letter of the alphabet for the state or country you need

The National Archives and Records Service:

More information about pension and other federal military records can be found here:

Sample of US Civil War Pension records with links to more sites and information can be found here:

There's even a link to samples from the pension of Nancy Rampley, which we discussed briefly this morning as well.

Thanks for having me present to your group--it was an enjoyable time and hopefully everyone got their questions answered.

02 March 2007

More SSDI at Rootsweb

I tried it again...using a wildcard in the SSN box on the SSDI at Rootsweb because it looked like wildcards could not be used there. However, the search shown to the right just now brought up 3,080 results. It appears that the wildcard on the SSN works with a certain number of digits in the SSN box and not with other number lengths.

333* did not work
3333* did not work
33334* did work--as shown
333344* did not work
3333441* did not work
and I know there is someone in the SSDI whose Social Security number begins with that string of numbers.
Ok, I have toooooo* much time on my hands...


01 March 2007

SSDI Confusion

I am confused.

I tried to search the SSDI at Rootsweb using a wildcard option on the Social Security Number as shown in the image to the right. I got no results. I must be doing something wrong. There are numerous individuals in the SSDI whose Social security numbers begin with the numbers "333," yet I kept getting 0 results.

Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? I feel like I must be missing something, but just do not know what it is.

This little problem started because I tried to search for my uncle in the SSDI using only his last name (Neill) and the first three numbers of his Social Security number (333). He is in the SSDI (Roger Neill-1937-2006), but I could not pul him up using a search of the last name Neill and 333* for his Social Security number. His entry in the SSDI is not a big concern to me; the fact that I can't pull him up using his last name and a wild card on his social had me confused.

Users can post a reply to this blog entry...just be kind to me if I'm overlooking something obvious.....

Social Security Death Index Updates

To be perfectly honest, I don't pay attention to how often the (Social Security Death Index) SSDI is updated at or at Ancestry. I search it at Rootsweb for two reasons: I like the interface and I can remember the URL (http://ssdi.rootsweb.com). Both sites have the same data (Ancestry requires a membership (or at least a free trial) to see the data). Rootsweb shows the same information for free.
Since I'm not often looking for the really recently deceased, I'm not overly concerned with how fast the SSDI is updated.
Out of idol curiosity, I checked Ancestry and Rootsweb versions of the SSDI tonight for my uncle who died in late December 2006. Both databases contained his entry (Roger Neill, 1937-2006 for anyone who is interested).


1910 Who is it?

It is easy to complain about indexes...until one sees the original handwriting that the indexers had to deal with. To be certain, indexers, as other humans, make mistakes. However, sometimes what they have to work with is very dificult. This is the 1910 census entry (partial) for a well-known American. Knowing that may help you read the entry, but if you had already read two hundred entries that day and had not known this was a "well-known" entry, would you have been able to read it "correctly?" Just something to think about the next time a census search leaves you frustrated. And remember---you can always search the old fashioned way....one page at a time. That's how many of us started out searching the census.

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What is a grantor?

Land records are full of terminology...and not knowing or guessing incorrectly could lead the researcher to incorrect conclusions. And there is always the case of spending hours looking in the "wrong" index. I always mention in a beginning land record lecture that researchers should think of the grantor as the "sellor." Of course that's not how "seller" is actually pronounced, but the key is remembering what it means...

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Genline workshop-8 and 9 March 2007

We still have openings in our workshop on using Genline for Swedish research on 8 and 9 March 2007 at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois.

All attendees have a computer to use and complete Genline access for the duration of the workshop. A Genline staffer will be available to answer additional questions.
Join us for two fun-filled days of learning how to access Swedish genealogical records in your very own home. More details are available at:

Relationships--Let's Get it RIGHT

CBS news discusses the Sharpton-Thurmond connection in a recent article on their site.

CBS news states, in part:

"The Rev. Al Sharpton said he wants a DNA test to determine whether he is related to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond through his great-grandfather, a slave owned by an ancestor of the late senator."

Let's get it right, Julia Thurmond Sharpton was a granddaughter of Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. She and Strom Thurmond are first cousins twice removed.

If the national media can't get this straight, how can we ever expect them to explain really complex issues to us? Heaven knows fixing health care, social security, etc. are more complicated than how Strom Thurmond is related to Julia Sharpton.

It is a good thing I'm not famous. I have cousins to whom I am related three and four ways. Heaven knows CBS couldn't understand that ;-)


Brick Walls from A to Z

A is for Alphabetize Have you created an alphabetical list of all the names in your database and all the locations your families lived? Typographical errors and spelling variants can easily be seen using this approach. Sometimes lists that are alphabetical (such as the occasional tax or census) can hide significant clues.

B is for Biography Creating an ancestor's biography might help you determine where there are gaps in your research. Determining possible motivations for his actions (based upon reasonable expectations) may provide you with new areas to research.

the rest of it is here...

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1920 Census--Coors means Pots not Beer

As noted in an earlier entry, the Coors family made pots (the ceramic kind) during Prohibition. The image here shows the occupation of several members of the Coors family in the 1920 census listed as being also being involved in the malted milk business. The servants are members of the Coors family household staff. The complete enumeration can be seen here. You can search the 1920 United States Federal Census and see what they were making (or where they were working).

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Albert Einstein Manifest 1933

Albert Einstein arrived in New York in October 1933 on board the Westernland--his occupation is noted as scientist on the manifest. His race is listed as "Hebrew," but the entry itself is pretty run of the mil.

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World War I Draft Card--Norman Rockwell

I'm not certain if it is how he signed his paintings or not, but this is how artist Norman Rockwell signed his World War I Draft registration card. He listed his occupation as freelance artist. This card comes from the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 database at Ancestry.com. The 23 year old was living in New Rochelle, New York at the time he registered. Search the World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 for your own family member.

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