Wednesday, March 31, 2010

1850 Census for Abraham Wickiser

This is part of the 1850 census entry for Abraham and Catharine Wickiser in Delaware County, Ohio, after they "disappear" in the 1840 census.
Their disappearance will be part of the focus of Issue 35 of Casefile Clues. Subscribe now and see where they likely went in 1840.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Need Issues 30-34?

A few subscribers because of how they purchased issues and subscribed missed out on issues 30-34. Those issues can be purchased here separately for $2.75.


The "missing" 1840 Census Entry

Abram Wickiser cannot be located in the 1840 Ohio Federal Census. He can be found in 1830 and 1850. Issue 35 of Casefile Clues discusses great detail why. I've written about Abram and the missing census years ago for, but we'll put the piece together with citations and more indepth analysis than was possible there.

Stay tuned--or subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Monday, March 29, 2010

35 is now out

There was an email glitch and issue 35 did not go out when I originally thought it had. PDF subscribers should have issue 35 in their inbox this time. If not, please email me at and let me know.

Reminder About Updates

Announcements regarding newsletter distribution are posted to the Casefile Clues website ( and our fan page on Facebook. Just a reminder for our subscribers.

Issue 35--A 1910 Birth

Issue 35 of Casefile Clues has been sent to PDF subscribers. Subscribe now and I'll start you off with issue 35.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back Issues, Subscriptions, etc.

Subscriptions and back issues requests received as of 3:30 P.M. CDT. If you are missing something, please let me know. There is still time to subscribe and get issue 35!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Genealogy Survey Continues

Our genealogy survey on Survey Monkey continues. I have gotten some very interesting responses which I'll share when the survey is closed. If you have not taken the survey, it is not too late and you can share information on the survey with others interested in genealogy. The survey is at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Surveying Genealogists

Casefile Clues is surveying as many genealogists as care to respond to our survey regarding their genealogy experiences. The survey is non-scientific, but results will be posted on our website once the survey is completed.

Come and give us your feedback on genealogy research in general. The link is:

Feel free to share with other interested genealogists.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Christening from Issue 35

Issue 35 which discusses two records of a birth and some "extra" evidence is still in the works. This is part of the christening entry for the individual in question. Interestingly enough these children were christened at the parents' home instead of the church.

Monday, March 22, 2010

If You Could Ask Genealogists.....

Casefile Clues is going to survey up to 1,000 genealogists (ok, the survey will NOT be random, please do not send me lectures about that).

What questions would you like to ask genealogists? What would you like to know? We'll pick from your questions and set up a survey by the end of the week. The survey results will be posted here for anyone to view as soon as they have been tabulated.

Please post suggestions as replies to this message and please don't spam us. If your question has a list of possible answers, include at least some of them to help me when I'm formulating the question for the survey. For example if your question is "what newsletters do you read?" then include titles of some so I can give respondents a list to choose from instead of having them type them in.

Submission of a question does not guarantee it will be included in the survey. Inclusion of questions is at Michael's discretion. Deadline for submission is noon central time Thursday 25 March 2010.

Get Beyond the Surface with Casefile Clues

One of the goals of Casefile Clues is to help subscribers get beyond the surface with their research. There are many sites out there with a variety of kinds of data, compiled databases, original records, etc. Casefile Clues focuses on analyzing and interpreting--we don't tell you what census records are, you already know that.

Once in a while we do discuss a record type in general terms, but usually discussion is done within the context of one document or family. and find out more--or request a sample copy today!

Primary, Secondary, etc.

Part of issue 35 concentrates on the difference between primary and secondary information. We even look a little at information beyond secondary.

Issue 35 focuses on my paternal grandmother's birth in 1910. Earlier we discussed a 1913 birth in Chicago (my wife's grandmother). This birth is rural, but no less interesting in terms of the records and the analysis.

Just remember, all families have a story. It's your job as the descendant with an interest in family history to gather all those documents and see what the story is. Subscribe now and be on the list for issue 35.

1910 Census Image for Issue 35

This is one of the circumstantial pieces of evidence for the place of birth that will be discussed in issue 35 of Casefile Clues which will come out next week.

My citation here is not done according to form---it will be correct in the newsletter. Subscribe now and see how it all fits together.

It has nothing to do with the upcoming article, but this family is another one where the names are interesting. John J. had John M. on his tombstone, Ella Louise went by Luella, George E[lmer] used Elmer, Karl went by Babe, and Lily Marie---well she's another story entirely.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What do you want to see updated?

Some of the items I have written about for Casefile Clues already have updates in the works. Some do not. If there are any topics/families you would like to see updates on, please let me know and I'll add them to my list.

Remember that Casefile Clues really tries to focus on the process and the method. Sometimes I have updates in mind when I write a column because I have done more research. Sometimes I really don't know where the research will lead because I am essentially writing about it as I do it. Personally I think that keeps it fresh and hopefully adds a little bit of "drama" to Casefile Clues.

I always loved teachers who showed the wrong way of doing things and then explained either why it was always wrong or why it didn't work in that instance. I think that is a great way to learn. Casefile Clues will also continue to have record analysis, such as was recently done with the Habben-Ufkes mortgage from 1870s Illinois, and the John Demoss will from Maryland in the 1820s. But our case studies generally will be research in progress, we'll try to keep showing those "wrong" paths as well as the ones that worked.

I'm not even going to say that research is finished. We all know better than that. I'm having fun with Casefile Clues and hope that readers are too.

Issue 34

Getting good response to issue 34, which some of you are finding contains a timely reminder. It raises some issues that for some genealogists are very important. I used part of it in a speech one time and an attendee raised her hand to speak and told the group in no uncertain terms that her information would be preserved because she "indicated it clearly in her will and it was there in black and white." I politely said, "ma'am when you are dead and gone you are dead and gone and you have no control over your genealogy papers, regardless of what your will says." She didn't like it, but that's the way it is.

Subscribe by Tuesday at noon central and I'll start your subscription with issue 34.

Upcoming Topics

The following topics are coming up in future issues of Casefile Clues:

35--Primary, Secondary, and Indirect Information on Grandma's 1910 Birth
36--Another set of pre-1850 census records
37--Pullman Employment Records

Other topics are in the works, but these are the specifics for the time being. I'm working on the 1812 records, the hiring a researcher, and a contested will. Hopefully I'll get to Rockford, Illinois, in the next month or two so I can have an update on good ol' Ira Sargent.

Stay tuned!
Subscribe now and get in on the fun...

Issue 34 has gone out--PDF version

The PDF version of Casefile Clues number 34 has gone out. In-email version going out later tonight.

Post comments about the issue either here or on our Facebook Fans Page.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Issue 34 and miscellaneous things

We're looking at Monday or Tuesday for issue 34...good news is that this means anyone whose not a subscriber can still get in on the fun. I'm still responding to emails from the past 4-5 days, so be patient with me please. With the except of Sue who proofs Casefile Clues, the newsletter is a one man show.

I'm working on a Style Guide and some type of article index. ETA on these is anyone's guess at this point. Keeping up with content and subscriber concerns has to take priority for right now.

I'll be in Topeka, KS in April for a seminar---let me know if you'll be there. I'll be in Oklahoma this summer as well. If you'd like to have me come to your group, send me an email.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

John Demoss farm--part of Patented Certificate

John Demoss (whose will was discussed in Casefile Clues 33) bequeathed his farm to two of his sons. The boundaries of his farm were listed in a patent dated 16 July 1802, which I discovered online while wrapping up issue 33.

I'm not certain when I'll get to writing about this, but there is a very significant clue in this metes and bounds description that I wanted to share with readers and site users. It mentions "Ramsey's Reserve." John Demoss' mother was Susannah Ramsey and this is the first connection I have uncovered that John Demoss was living near a farm sharing the last name of his mother. No hard and fast proof, but definitely worth checking out.

Those metes and bounds descriptions are good for more than simply an exercise in geometry--don't ignore them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Casefile Clues St. Patrick's Day Discount

The St. Patrick's Day Sale is over...thanks to those who subscribed.

If you missed out, you can subscribe at our regular rate here.

Hiring a Professional Researcher Series

I in the beginning stages of the next article in the series on hiring a professional. Readers with suggestions, ideas, or concerns regarding hiring a professional can email them to me at for possible inclusion in an article in this series.

Back Issues, Missing Issues, Other Issues

Emails regarding back issue orders, missing issues and other issues with issues have been replied to. If you have any of these concerns that have not been addressed, please advise me at Off to work on other Casefile Clues issues. If you are not a subscriber, join us at

Monday, March 15, 2010

Buying Back Issues 1-33

New subscribers who would like to buy back issues 1-33 can do so here for $12. A PayPal account is not necessary, you just need a credit card to process payment. Those who need mail-in options should email me.


Issue 33 is out

Issue 33-"Where There's a Will There is Confusion" has been sent.

Check your inboxes.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun...I'll send 33 to start your subscription.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Motivated to make a discovery by Casefile Clues

I Dream of Genea(logy) was motivated by Casefile Clues to search land records in Atlanta, hoping to solve a family history mystery. They found an interesting phrase in one of the deeds that really wasn't what they were looking for.

See what they found on their blog.

And they started out their blog post with: "Thanks to the genius that is Casefile Clues (read my post about why you should subscribe to this wonderful genealogy tutorial resource"

Thanks for that reference, too!

Competing with the Big Guys

I will be honest. It is difficult competing with the "big" genealogy magazines that are out there (although there are less of them than there used to be). Casefile Clues doesn't have a big advertising budget, a staff I can dump numerous tasks on, or a website developer I can tell to do things. Consequently there are things the "big boys" can do that Casefile Clues cannot.

What we are trying to do is something slightly different and I think our survey results indicated it is reasonating with readers. I'm trying to have Casefile Clues be more than what you get in the "mass-market" magazines and not quite as formal as one gets in the journals (although we are citing our sources and striving to improve our citation form). Hopefully we are hitting that target.

Keep in mind there is just one person making editorial decisions at Casefile Clues--me. Suggestions are always welcome and please share the news about Casefile Clues with others. Our survey indicates that half of you already have done that---and it is appreciated.

Feel free to blog about your experiences with Casefile Clues, share it with your website readers, etc. Every spreading of the word helps.

Regions Where Subscribers Have Interests

The map should have been tweaked slightly, but here are the results. Clicking on the image will pull up a larger picture.

The results really tended to follow general migration patterns across the United States, which was not all that surprising. It was nice to know though that my general assumptions were correct. It can be difficult to get an idea of where researchers are working when for a significant number all I know is their email address.

This gives me some direction for future areas. Keep in mind that articles focusing on methods are applicable to other regions besides the one they are specifically about although the sources used may be different. In some cases, differences are more pronounced for the following:
  • frontier areas/settled areas
  • rural/urban
  • non-movers/transitory
  • relative position on the socio-economic scale

I've been trying to cover a variety of these groups in Casefile Clues articles. But remember, I almost always write about research I'm doing on my children's ancestry. They have great-great-great-grandparents born in the following locations:

  • Ostfriesland, Germany
  • Ireland
  • Thuringen, Germany
  • Coshocton County, Ohio (with Maryland and Pennsylvania ancestry)
  • Canada (with New England ancestry)
  • somewhere in Missouri (with Heaven only knows ancestry-see I have those, too!)
  • Rush County, Indiana (with Virginia and Kentucky ancestry)
  • Clinton County, New York (with French-Canadian ancestry)
  • Adams County, Illinois (with Ostfriesen ancestry)
  • Hancock County, Illinois (with German ancestry--via Ohio)
  • Ostergotland, Sweden
  • Mercer County, Illinois (with Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey ancestry)
  • East Flanders, Belgium
  • Scott County, Iowa (with Bavarian, Thuringian, and Swiss ancestry)
  • County Cumberland, England (via Chicago, Illinois)
  • Chariton County, Missouri (with Tennessee ancestry)
  • Linn County, Missouri (with Tennessee ancestry)
  • Mercer County, Kentucky

And cousins who scattered throughout the United States.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Applying for a Leave of Absence in 1925

This letter was in the Pullman Company Employment records of Louis Demar. The letter is dated 11 August 1925. What I'll need to do is see if this month is of any significance in his life.

Chances are Louis was headed to upstate New York to visit his two daughters. But that is just a guess.

We'll discuss Louis' employment record and others in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Subscribe now and join the adventure.

Pullman Strike in 1894

Students of history will remember the Pullman strike of 1894. This image is part of the employment record for Ralph Frame at the Pullman Car Company. There are several "O" in the entries for 1894, apparently indicating that Frame was not working during that time. This time period covers the time of the strike, which attracted national attention.
We'll be looking in more detail Ralph's records (and his father's) in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues which will include an actual copy of the employment records as illustrations.
Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Genealogy Tip of the Day

I would like to invite Casefile Clues readers to visit my other website Genealogy Tip of the Day, which is hosted at The site is free and you never know what's going to be added from one day to the next.

Every day a new genealogy tip is posted, often from things I've been writing about for Casefile Clues. Tip of the Day is where I host ads, so feel free to click on a few and make purchases. As always, there are no ads on the Casefile Clues website.

Issue 32 Has Been Sent--When There is No Probate

Issue 32 has been sent to all subscribers. Let me know if it is not in your email as it was sent a little while ago and I'm late in posting the notice.

32 is a discussion of what to do when there apparently is no probate record. As usual, it's not aimed for complete beginners. A few readers indicated they hadn't done too much with probate records and that this was giving them some ideas and impetus to get started. We'll have more indepth studies of probate records in coming issues.

Subscribe by Thursday and I'll send you issue 32 with my compliments.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What Makes Casefile Clues Different

I think there are some things that make Casefile Clues different from other genealogy how-to publications in the marketplace.

Casefile Clues is written by a genealogist for genealogists. As a result, focus on research is our top priority and I'm usually aware of what works and what doesn't. Our proofreader also is a very highly experienced genealogist. Neither of us are new to research. I've been researching my family history long before I ever started writing ( I was 13 when I began my family research). For me Casefile Clues and my writing began as a way to hone my research skills and share my research experiences with others.

Casefile Clues accepts no advertising and isn't selling anything either (other than back issues). Consequently there are no advertisers I have to worry about keeping happy. I don't have to mention certain products or services every so often, nor do I have to plug specific websites, books, etc. If I mention a site, book, etc. it is because I actually used it, not because someone told me to. Not having sponsors is very freeing.

In many ways Casefile Clues is a one-person show, but there are exceptions.* I don't have anyone with minimal genealogical experience looking over my shoulder, approving content, making suggestions,telling me what to do, telling me what to write about, etc. Decisions about content, style, etc. are made by me. There isn't anyone else from whom I have to get approval, permission, etc. when I decide to write about something. Some genealogy "how-to" magazines have non-genealogists making content and editorial decisions. That's not the case at Casefile Clues. *The exception is the fact that Sue H. is a great help as my proofreader and she is a great asset (interestingly enough, we've never met in person). We also get help from R. M. which is greatly appreciated.

Casefile Clues is reliant on reader support to spread the news. I know there are several who have helped us by telling others about the newsletter. That is greatly appreciated.

We've got some interesting things coming up over the next few months. Join us and get in on the fun.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pullman Car Company furnishing information to Immigration Commission

Genealogy is a constant history lesson. This is part of the "Employe's Record Card" for Thomas Frame dated 4 September 1909. It contains information that was furnished to the Immigration Commission.

It indicates Frame was a 71 year old painter, born in England. The card was not completed, but there is more information on it than what is shown here. An upcoming issue of Casefile Clues will discuss this and other records from the Pullman Company's employment files in more detail.

Signature from the Employment File of Louis DeMar

I'm starting to go through the Pullman employment records for Louis DeMar--one of my Chicago area problem people. The image included with this post the signature of Louis DeMar as shown in his employment record.

An additional challenge will be in coming up with citations for these records. We will be discussing these records in more detail in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Help Me Help You

I really appreciate emails from readers. However as Casefile Clues slowly grows, my time to answer requests for personal research help is becomes greatly diminished. It is not that I do not want to help, it simply is that there is not time for me to do so. I'm trying to keep content in the newsletter fresh, new and engaging and my sources cited and accurate.

I would encourage readers to post their requests for research advice to one of the many genealogy mailing lists or groups online.

Roots-l and Gen-Newbie are good places to post questions. There are quite a few other email lists and message boards. Readers with additional suggestions on where to posts requests for help can post them as a comment to this message--either here on the website or on the Fanpage on Facebook.

Suggestions for article ideas are always welcome either based upon your own research or an item in a previous column that you would like to see expanded, explained further, or researched in another direction. I don't always get time to reply, but emails are read and I always appreciate the help and ideas.

Waiting for Pullman Car Company Records

Records have been ordered and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. Three of my wife's ancestors worked for the Pullman Car Company in Chicago, Illinois:
  • Louis DeMar, born 1862
  • Thomas Frame, born 1838
  • William Frame, born 1888
I've never used employment records from the Pullman Company and am anxious to see what they contain. We'll have image samples, record summaries, and interpretations in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Regular readers know that in this family the records could be pivotal. William Frame disappears ca. 1918 and there could be information in these records that documents his existence or residence location after that date.

Louis DeMar was born in New York, moved to Chicago by 1909 and (I think) returned to Chicago by 1930. We're fine tuning some details on him too and will update as time and information allows.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and get in on the fun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sample Copies of Casefile Clues

A request for a sample copy of Casefile Clues can be requested by sending an email to A respond email provides download instructions. Your physical address is not needed. Paper copies are not sent. Casefile Clues is entirely electronic.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What I Liked About Casefile Clues

I created a PDF file of what survey respondents had to say about what they liked about Casefile Clues.

If you would like to take a look at what readers had to say, the file is on our site here: what_i_liked.pdf.


98% of Readers Said....

98% of Casefile Clues subscribers said that they would recommend Casefile Clues to another researcher.

44% of Casefile Clues subscribers said they already had recommended Casefile Clues to another researcher.

Those are numbers I'm very happy about. And I appreciate those who have helped to spread the news about Casefile Clues.

More newsletter survey results on the way....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Issue 31 has been sent

The PDF version of 31 has been sent. In email version going out in morning---few layout concerns.

Subscribe by Tuesday at 5:oo and I'll start your subscription with issue 31.

Let me know if 31 hasn't made its way to your inbox.