Monday, November 30, 2009

Problems with PayPal for Cyber-Monday Discount?

If anyone is having difficulty with PayPal processing a payment for the cyber discount, please let me know at and we will figure something out (either tonight or tomorrow). Thanks!

Issue 18 is out

Issue 18 has been sent to subscribers. It analyzes a biography from Iowa in the 1880s. If you did not receive it, please let me know.

And if you'd like to receive Casefile Clues, you can subscribe via our website at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Answers about our Cyber Monday discount

In response to emails I've had today:

Thanks for all your interest and support. I appreciate it.

One little word led to a major discovery

In writing up this week's column, one little word made me research a record on my Iowa uncle that I had never searched before. Actually I never had given the word too much thought until I was writing the column for this week.
I had to work very hard not to get distracted with the discovery that Augusta Newman was in the War of 1812.
Analyzing a mug book biography is the focus on this week's column. One just never knows where things will lead. We'll be having a followup on Augusta's War of 1812 service after the first of the year.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and get some biography analysis techniques and see how I inadvertantly made the War of 1812 discovery.

AnceStories Reviews Casefile Clues

Miriam over at AnceStories reviewed Casefile Clues on her blog. Miriam had nice things to say about the newsletter and indicated that it's helped her with her own research. That's really good to hear.

It's helped her with her own brick wall ancestors--something I am glad to hear. She mentioned our Cyber Monday discount and to quote her:

"This publication is definitely worth putting on your Christmas wish list!"

Thanks, Miriam! Now to get back to can read Miriam's review here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Charles A. Liddle Biography

Regular Casefile Clues readers will remember an earlier article (from 9 August 2009) on passport applications included discussion on the application of Robert Frame. A search of the 1941 Chicago Who's Who included this biography of Charles Allen Liddle, the executive who signed a letter requesting that Frame receive a passport for business purposes.

Robert Frame's maternal grandmother's maiden name was Liddle.

Work on the Liddles in Pennsylvania is beginning, but there is a chance of a connection. Robert Frame's parents spent a year or two in Pennsylvania (mid-1860 era) before settling in Chicago and research (in census records thus far) on Charles Allen Liddle indicates his paternal grandparents were English natives. This may be more than just a coincidence. We'll keep readers posted with an update as more information is uncovered. One should always keep looking for those family connections.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Frames in 1870--more questions than answers

While doing a little groundwork for a down the road article, I reviewed the 1870 census for the Frame family in Chicago, Illinois.
Husband Thomas is not enumerated and Elizabeth is listed as living in a $10,000 house. For a woman who was married a painter (and not the "artistic" kind, the house value seems a little high to me). I'm not certain what the story is here, but I'm hoping to get to the bottom of it for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cyber Monday Sale On Casefile Clues

Our Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale on Casefile Clues is now over. I appreciate all the support. You can still subscribe at the regular price of $15 a year--which includes 12 months of weekly issues which still is a bargain. If you'd rather send a check or money order, contact me at to get the address.

Casefile Clues--genealogy how-tos, is a weekly newsletter where every week one document, family or record series is analyzed and discussed.

Casefile Clues is about showing you ways to research to help you with your own genealogy.

Don't take our word for it, read what bloggers have had to say about Casefile Clues:

Casefile Clues is not "news." Instead it is genealogy how-tos. Jump start your research by subscribing today. Casefile Clues is delivered weekly as a PDF file straight to your inbox. No site to visit, no passwords to remember. It comes to you instead of you coming to it.

A Bit of our Philosophy

I'll post this here to answer a few questions I've received over the past week and to expound upon a few additional topics.

Casefile Clues (both the newsletter and the website) does not include or accept any advertising. There are no image ads, no clickable graphics where I get a commission and no affiliate links on the website. Not one. There are several reasons.
  • Less hassle for me. I do good to get the text, citations, images, and other items put in the newsletter and formatted as it is. Ads would be an additional hassle eating away at my deadline and the revenue wouldn't be worth the frustration.
  • No worries about what advertisers think.
  • Sometimes managing affiliate links is a major pain the rear. I don't need the additional stress. And the amount of traffic necessary to generate significant revenus is quite a bit higher than gets.
  • Less clutter for readers.
  • When I mention a site or a product, it is because I use that product and I felt it did a good job and served the purpose. I don't mention materials that I do not personally use or would not recommend (I've never done that in my lectures either which doesn't always make me popular).
  • I want to focus on good writing that helps readers with their research. I don't want to spend time designing a site/newsletter to maximize ad revenue.
  • I find writing, research, editing, and even the citations a pleasant challenge. Dealing with ads is not a pleasant challenge (Ok, citations are the least pleasant thing to deal with.....I'll be honest).

Because there is no advertising, we do have to charge something. I felt that $15 was a very reasonable price, although I understand that there are some that cannot afford it. However, maintaining the website does cost money and obtaining new items for article content and illustration can't always be done without expense either. And if you watch, there are occasional 10% discounts on subscriptions. And we do have a page where someone can give you a gift subscription to Casefile Clues for the Holidays or any other occasional actually. Casefile Clues is still one of the most affordable newsletters out there.

Because of our low subscription price our marketing budget is virtually $0 as well. Consequently our marketing efforts are low-cost. I appreciate those who have helped to spread the word about Casefile Clues to other genealogists. It does make a difference and has helped. Anyone seeing an opportunity or an idea for helping to get the word out about Casefile Clues is encouraged to send me an email at Having no advertising budget also helps to keep our subscription cost down.

Thanks for all the support, encouragement, and suggestions I have received for Casefile Clues since I began self-distribution in July. I specifically would like to thank Sue Hawes for proofreading me since around issue 4 (my memory isn't quite clear on when she started). That has been a big help and I really appreciate it.

We've made some changes since our first few issues:

  • issues are now sent as PDF files which makes the preservation of formatting much easier
  • citations are now included in every issue
  • illustrations are included in every issue
  • general formatting changes, hopefully for the better
  • working on consistency of design and layout

I'm hoping to include more of the "why" in future articles. Not because I think everyone will agree with me, but because I think it helps to see what someone's thought process is--if for no other reason than to say "I don't agree with that."

Don't forget if you have questions or concerns, I can be emailed at And if you'd like to subscribe to Casefile Clues, you can do so on our site. If you would rather pay with a check/money order, email me for that information.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Getting the Spot Out

This 1908 marriage license from Cook County, Illinois, is for Albert Haakman and Eleanor M. Frame. Eleanor is a member of the Frame family that I've been mentioning occasionally in Casefile Clues.
I discovered this license on the website while working on an upcoming article.
If readers are interested, I'll have the researcher add this license to her list of actual items to pull. Then maybe we can determine exactly what the spots actually are.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Casefile Clues on Reclaiming Kin

Robyn Smith over at "Reclaiming Kin" reviewed Casefile Clues in her blog. I appreciate the mention and the favorable comments she made about the newsletter. Robyn is an engineer in her non-genealogy life (is there such a thing?) and has some really neat organizational tips and ideas on her site as well. I appreciate her help in getting the word out about the newsletter.

There's a lot of good stuff on Robyn's blog as well.

Issue 17 is out!

Issue 17 has left my email inbox. Subscribers should have theirs by now as I'm a little slow in updating this page tonight. If you don't have it, let me know so we can follow up on it. Thanks!

If you're not subscribing, feel free to join us! An annual subscription to Casefile Clues is only $15--and it's very green. No postage and unless you print out an issue, no paper either!

Back issues of Casefile Clues

If there are subscribers who have any pending requests for back issues, please let me know at and I will send them to you. Remember back issues are grouped in sets of 10, anything after the last "grouping" will be sent to you on a complimentary basis when you subscribe. Issues 1-10 can be purchased as a set for $5.50.

Subscribe today and get in on the fun.

Student Discount on Casefile Clues?

If you are a fulltime student interested in genealogy, email me at for information on a student discount on Casefile Clues.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Grouping those transactions

I'm usually not one to use highlighters to organize, but this time I made an exception. I had an index showing several transactions on a lot in Chicago for Elizabeth and Thomas Frame.
To keep myself straight, I color coded them on a second copy I had made of the transactions (never do this on your only copy).
Orange is the original mortgage and release.
Green is the subsequent mortgage and release.
Blue are the deeds where they actually bought and sold it.
This is part of the article set to go out this week. Subscribe to Casefile Clues and see why even though these records were for the desired family I decided not to have the researcher pull them for me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Signatures on Mortgage Releases

One neat place to get copies of ancestral signatures is from releases written on recorded copies of mortgages. This signature is actually for my step 3rd great-grandfather when he released the mortgage from his step-daughter and her husband in 1879.

We'll be mentioning this family and some of the records in an issue of Casefile Clues after the first of the year. We've mentioned Barbara before, but these transactions center on her

third (or second) husband. I first learned of these deeds years ago before I knew very much about the family. Now that I have a context in which to put them, there's more of a story than I initially thought.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Casefile Clues Reviewed at BellaOnline

Tina Sansone at BellaOnline wrote about her experiences with US passport applications after reading about them in Casefile Clues. You can read the review for yourself on her genealogy page at BellaOnline.

Tina's review reminded me I had some leads in that passport application that are on my to do list. Most importantly, determining if there is a family connection between the passport applicant (my wife's great-grandfather's brother) and the vice-president of the company for which he worked (who signed a letter in the passport application).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Working on the Chicago Research Problem

Researcher working with me on the Frame-Apgar-DeMar problem are close to finalizing just what we're going to have her research for me. Part of the problem is staying focused on the goal (and my budget). Her initial survey revealed some interesting things about the mother that really won't help me tie the son to the parents more concretely or tell me where the son was after 1918. One has to stay focused.....

Readers--one question:

The initial research survey for the Frame-Apgar-DeMar problem indicated the mother (when her husband was alive) appears to be the purchaser of real estate (and the lead name on the mortgage). Is there interest in finding out "why?" It's not a part of my original "plan," but I'll modify if there's interest in trying to see what was going on there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Give Casefile Clues for the Holidays

Need that perfect gift for your genealogy friend? Give the genealogy gift that keeps on giving, every week for an entire year.

Gift subscriptions to Casefile Clues are $15 per year--you can give as many as you want. There is no wrapping necessary.

Here is how it works:

If you don't see the instructions section, do not worry. When you order a gift subscription, Paypal will tell me that YOU ordered a GIFT subscription and it tells me you ordered it (including giving me your email). If there are no instructions, I will contact you and get those details from you manually. It is that easy. You can specify when you want the subscription to start.

If you do not specify when the subscription starts, it will start the week of December 25.

If there are questions about giving gift subscriptions, just ask me at

A subscription to Casefile Clues is the perfect genealogy gift for your genealogy friend who has helped you out, given you advice, etc. Every issue is packed with methodology and research suggestions. And at $15 a year, the price isn't too bad either.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One must always be re-evalutating

It's not the most critical thing in the world, but it makes the point--one must always be re-evaluating and conclusions can always be revised in light of new information.

This is a scan of the receipt from the Hancock County, Illinois, Collector's Office for the payment of taxes by Herman Haase for the estate of his mother, Barbara Haase. The inventory of the estate indicates Barbara owned the middle 1/3 and the south 1/3 of lot 10 in Wilson's subdivision of Warsaw, Illinois. The Collector's receipt from 1904 indicates that taxes were paid on just the East 1/2. The difference is not a major revelation, but it does throw off the map I created for Barbara's property if the receipt is correct.
Issue 16 of Casefile Clues discussed Barbara's property and how it was disposed of after her death. The quit claim deeds (referenced in issue 16) make no mention of east half of the lot, but then again, quit claim deeds do not always have to be entirely accurate. In fact the quit claim deeds mention just the entire of lot 10 for reasons discussed in issue 16.
But the receipt reinforces the need for work on how the property was obtained. See, it just never ends.
Subscribe to Casefile Clues today and see how research progresses on Barbara and several other problems on which Michael is working.

Real Estate Inventory-Barbara Haase

This is the real estate inventory for Barbara Haase--which is discussed in issue 16 of Casefile Clues, which was just sent to subscribers. Barbara's property was handled outside of her estate, which in a way was a good thing as the deeds told me more than would have been included if the sale had merely been at an estate auction.
Subscribe to Casefile Clues today and I'll send the article on Barbara's Lots and start your subscription next week.

Issue 16-A Lot from Barbara's Lots Sent to Subscribers

Issue 16 of Casefile Clues has been sent to subscribers. If you are a subscriber and have not received your issue, please let me know so that I can take care of it.

This issue focuses on deeds to settle an estate that were recorded completely outside the probate documents. These quitclaims provided extremely good information on the family, including a reference to the original owner of the property who died 50 years before the deeds were executed.

Subscribe now and I'll throw in issue 16 at no charge.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Issue 16 Working up those Properties

I'm wrapping up issue 17 of Casefile Clues, which centers on lessons learned from locating the deeds where this property was transferred out of Barbara's estate after her death.
Several interesting lessons least to me and hopefully to readers as well.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Barbara's Lot on Google Maps

This is the approximate location of the lot discussed in the next issue of Casefile Clues, which should be going out sometime Monday.

The link to the map is:

The darned thing keeps moving slightly for some reason--but the corners are pretty close to where I initially had them when I made the image for the article.

The map is pretty simple, but take a look and see what you think.

If you aren't a subscriber you can do so here

There's more to the deeds on Barbara's house and lot that initially met the eye.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Famous Census Search Contests--second set

The first person to locate one of these individuals in the census year shown will win a year's subscription to "Casefile Clues" my genealogy how-to newsletter.
  • 1930 Georgia O'Keeffe - bio
  • 1930 Mae West - bio
  • 1930 Glenn Miller - bio
  • 1841 UK Mary Shelley - bio

To submit an entry email with information. Provide a COMPLETE census citation and indicate what person you think you have found. Incomplete citations or entries in the nature of "he should be in New York" will not be considered. The announcement of the winner is at the discretion of Michael John Neill. Winners will be announced on the website and via email.
And if you're tired of trying and would like to subscribe to Casefile Clues, we'd love to have you--an annual subscription to the weekly newsletter is only $15 a year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Famous Census Search Contest

The Famous Census Search Contest has been revived!

After a hiatus, our contests are back. The first person to locate one of these individuals in the census year shown will win a year's subscription to "Casefile Clues" my genealogy how-to newsletter.
  • 1920 George Burns-bio
  • 1930 Hank Williams, Sr. - bio
  • 1910 Bob Hope - bio
  • 1870 Thomas Edison - bio
  • 1920 Spencer Tracy - bio

We will announce more contests in the coming days.

To submit an entry email with information. Provide a COMPLETE census citation and indicate what person you think you have found. Incomplete citations or entries in the nature of "he should be in New York" will not be considered. The announcement of the winner is at the discretion of Michael John Neill. Winners will be announced on the website and via email.

And if you're tired of trying and would like to subscribe to Casefile Clues, we'd love to have you--an annual subscription to the weekly newsletter is only $15 a year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reverse those names

A Casefile Clues reader pointed out that Geske Fecht's husband Boede Heien is in the Macoupin County Coroner's Index at the Illinois State Archives website under the name of Heien Boede. It pays to search for non-English names backwards as well as forwards. If there is interest in what the records on Boede say, I'll get them from the Archives and include in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Just post here or let me know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Subscribers?

For new subscribers:

If you want, I'll send you back issues starting with 11, complimentary--just let me know. Back issues 1-10 can be ordered for $4.30, if you are interested and were not subscribing when they went out. Email me with questions or for more information.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weerts Obit-Warts and All

This is the obituary that was partially transcribed in issue 15 of Casefile Clues which was distributed to subscribers late last night. It appeared in the Mt. Olive, Illinois, newspaper in 1948.
Turns out there are several errors in this obituary which the article explains. It was a good thing that my research didn't begin with this obituary or I would have really had a brick wall.
If you don't subscribe to the weekly how-to newsletter Casefile Clues, you can do so for only $15 a year and I'll send you the article analyzing information on the mother of Anna Weerts.

Chicago Area Genealogy Work Hired Out

Pre-research proposal back from my Chicago area genealogist. Will focus on a few things from the Frame-Apgar-DeMar family I've written about before. Are readers interested the process of deciding what and how to search?

Casefile Clues Reviews and Comments

Casefile Clues has been mentioned in several blogs over the past month. Here is a current list of reviews or brief mentions of our newsletters by other genealogists/bloggers:

I appreciate the help in spreading the word. If I've missed one, please email me at and I'll add it. Thanks!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Typo In Issue 11

There is a typographical error in issue 11.

On page 7 it indicates that a search of probate/estate records for Rolf Habben should be conducted. The year this search should start is 1891, not the year stated in the PDF version.

I'd like to say the error was intentional to make an instructional point. Unfortunately that was not the case. Searches for probate records should always start the year the individual died.

Casefile Clues readers with good memories will remember an individual who did have estate records and was not dead. In fact, he had two!

Issue 15 has been sent out

Subscribers have been sent issue 15. If you are a subscriber and did not receive it, please let me know so that I can take care of it.

If you are not a subscriber, details about signing up are on our site. We have several interesting articles coming up over the next several months.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Upcoming at Casefile Clues

The following are scheduled topics before the end of the year:
  • an update on Ira Sargent, including why research at the Family History Library (even when they had the source I needed) was not the best idea
  • an update on the "second" homestead file referenced in the homestead claim filed by the heirs of Rolf Habben
  • my attempts to connect an early 20th century employee of the Pullman Car Company with the one-time chief executive of that company
  • my use of Kentucky court records to connect a father and a son
  • working on a problem by using the four step problem-solving approach
  • why the King George V of Hanover was the godparent of my ancestors' child

Suggestions from readers are always suggested. I'm working on a few things "across the pond" as well, but again the focus will be on the method and the sources. There are times after working on a Swedish family for a few days that I get an idea on one of my

Why write about false starts?

One thing we will be doing more of in Casefile Clues is write about the false starts--those approaches that sounded good (and perhaps were good), but did not work. This is an important part of the research process.

In my other life, I teach math. One of the dificulties students have in some classes with some teachers is that the teacher just works the problem the right way, showing every step correctly. Students need to see the right way, but they also sometimes need to see the incorrect way to see why it was incorrect. There is learning in that too.

Genealogy is a little different because what might have worked on every other family in the same time and same place doesn't work on another family for an unknown reason. Only showing the "right" steps in the finished product is not as instructive as showing a few wrong steps that didn't work out and explaining why they didn't work (if known).

We won't say that a method is good when it isn't.

About Casefile Clues

Casefile Clues is about using, analyzing, and interpreting records. Every week our focus is a document, a source, or a family. Casefile Clues is not a listing of new sites or what information has been released in indexed for this week. Online sites and databases are certainly used, but "news" is not our focus.

Casefile Clues focuses on the research process, what the next steps are, and how best to further your information. Issues are completely cited, in the spirit of Evidence Explained, if not always to the letter.

Columns for Casefile Clues are drawn from Michael's own research from a variety of time periods and locations. The focus is on the method, not the location.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Future Article Topics and Updates?

We've done an ongoing series on my search for Ira Sargent (born 1840s in Canada, lived in IL, MO, and IL). I'm working on more on the William Frame Apgar (born 1888 Chicago) as time allows. Is there anyone from an earlier issue you'd like to see an update on?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Numbering System

Here's a quick introduction for the fan who asked on our Facebook page.

Typically, one numbers in the following fashion on an ahnentafel chart:

1) You
2) Your father
3) Your mother
4) Your father's father
5) Your father's mother
6) Your mother's father
7) Your mother's mother
8) Your father's father's father
9) Your father's father's mother
10) Your father's mother's father
11) Your father's mother's mother
12) Your mother's father's father
13) Your mother's father's mother
14) Your mother's mother's father
15) Your mother's mother's mother
and so it goes

for me:

1) Michael John Neill
2) my dad--still living
3) my mom--still living
4) Cecil Raymond Neill (1903-1968)
5) Ida Laura Trautvetter (1910-1994)
6) John Henry Ufkes (1917-2003)
7) Dorothy Alice Habben (1924-2008)
8) Charles Thomas Neill (1875-1948)
9) Fannie Rampley (1883-1965)
10) George Trautvetter (1869-1934)
11) Ida Sargent (1874-1939)
12) Frederick Ufkes (1893-1960)
13) Trientje Janssen (1895-1986)
14) Mimka Habben (1881-1969)
15) Tjode Anna Goldenstein (1882-1954)
16) Samuel Neill
17) Anne Murphy
18) Riley Rampley
19) Nancy Jane Newman
20) John Michael Trautvetter
21) Franciska Bieger
22) Ira Sargent
23) Florence Ellen Butler
24) Johann Frederich Hinrichs Ufkes
25) Noentje Lena Grass
26) Jans Jurgens Janssen
27) Fredericka Marie Sartorius
28) Jann Mimken Habben
29) Antje Hinrichs Fecht
30) Focke Jansen Goldestein
31) Anna Margaret Dirks
32) John Neill
33) unknown
34) unknown
35) unknown
36) James Rampley
37) Elizabeth Chaney
38) William Newman
39) Rebecca Tinsley
40) John George Trautvetter
41) Sophia Elizabeth Derle
42) Peter Bieger
43) Barbara Siefert
44) unknown
45) unknown
46) unknown
47) unknown
48) Hinrich Janssen Ufkes
49) Trientje Eilts Post
50) Johannes Gerhardes Grass
51) Asselina Janssen Freese
52) Jans Janssen
53) Elske Tjarks Fecht
54) Hinrich Amelings Sartorius
55) Trientje Ulferts Behrens
56)Mimke Lubben Habben
57) Antje Janssen Jaspers
58) Hinrich Jacobs Fecht
59) Marie Bruns
60) Johann Luken Jurgens Ehmen Goldenstein
61) Tjode Anna Focken Tammen
62) Bernard Dirks
63) Heipke Mueller

That's all I'm going to type-these are from memory. I can't remember the middle name for Marie Bruns (59), but it's either Gerdes or Ubben. The last two didn't have middle names (actually patronyms, but that's another story).

The King of Hannover as a Sponsor?

This image comes from the 1862 christening of George Habben from Wiesens, Ostfriesland.
In a future column, we'll see why the Hannoverian King was listed as the sponsor of my uncle George. Hint: I'm not wearing any crowns yet.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Help us Spread the Word

If you know of someone out there in genealogyland who might be interested in Casefile Clues, please let them know about our newsletter and that they can get sample copy information by sending an email to

Readers who have any low-cost ideas for promotion are encouraged to send them to me at

I'm having a great deal of fun researching and writing the newsletter. Promotion and marketing is not so much my thing. However, I do appreciate all the support and encouragement I have gotten from readers. It means a lot and thanks!

One Obituary for Anna Weerts

This is one obituary for Anna Weerts, the lady on the far right in the tombstone that is part of the upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. The obituary was in two parts of the same page--the lighter part came from the bottom and the darker part from the top (and I didn't have time to lighten the image).
There are several details in this obituary that are incorrect--we'll discuss that in issue 15. This lady is actually my aunt, but you'd never know it to look at the obituary.
Subscribe to Casefile Clues today and find out how much of the obituary is on track and how much is not.

Issue 14 has been mailed

Issue 14 has gone to all subscribers just now. If you do not receive it, please let me know at

If you'd like to subscribe you can do so here.

Issue 14 in Progress

Issue 14 will be sent out later today. Subscribers should have it early this afternoon. If you aren't a subscriber, subscribe and I'll send it and start your subscription next week.

And if you are a subscriber and are not receiving issues, please let me know so we can take care of it.