Thursday, April 29, 2010

Issue 40 in the works--organizing a census search

Issue 40 is in the final stages of revision. It discusses my organization for another 1870 census entry I cannot find. There are several potential issues with why John Ufkes cannot be located in the census, some of which have to do with his ethnic background and some of which do not.

Having located people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and areas in the 1870 census, much of the discussion of the search for John applies to more than just people who were natives of the same area of Europe as him.

We'll see how my search was organized, both with maps and charts to help me. I simply can't type his name in a search box and find him.

Subscribe now and see how I organized my search. At $17 for 52 issues, it's a bargain.

1869 Manifest for John Ufkes

This is the manifest entry for Johann Ufkes, whose 1870 census enumeration (or the failure to find it) is the focus of issue 40. We'll have a complete citation for the manifest in issue 40 and a lengthy discussion of the organization of my search for him in 1870.
Not every ancestor requires the amount of organization when searching in the census, but when the "easy" route fails, it's time to get organized.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues now and you'll get issue 40 (it goes out on Sunday), see the charts I've set up to help me and get in on the fun and the search.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Issue 40--Searching For John Ufkes in 1870

We take again at another missing ancestor in the 1870 census: John Ufkes. This ancestor is different from the other one I am trying to find in 1870--John is extremely well documented. The other person I can't find in 1870 is very hit and miss in the records, John is different.

For John:
  • I have his christening record.
  • I know when he arrived in the US (have the manifest).
  • I know when he declared his intent to become a citizen.
  • I know when he filed a homestead claim in Nebraska.
  • I know when he abandoned that claim.
  • I know when he married.
  • I have dates and places of birth for all his children.
  • I have deeds for all his property in Illinois.
  • I have his 1880, 1900-1920 enumerations for the census.
  • I have his death certificate.
  • I have seen his tombstone.
I just cannot find him in the 1870 census. This week we take a look at my attempts to completely organize my search for him in the 1870 census, so that I at least leave no locality unsearched and that I use every possible combination of searches possible for him, including the four last names he could have had, the four first names he could have had and all the alternate spellings.

Susbscribe now and see why all the names were necessary and how I have organized my search.

Remember, Casefile Clues is about the process and the analysis, making that clear to readers so they can apply it to their own research--we know there are no guaranteed results.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Test Post-Spread the News

This is actually a test post to see if the Fan Page on Facebook is integrating correctly.

Since I've got to have something here, I'd like to encourage subscribers to let others who may interested in the newsletter know about it.

This blog has moved

This blog is now located at
You will be automatically redirected in 30 seconds, or you may click here.

For feed subscribers, please update your feed subscriptions to

For Our New Subscribers--some of our philosophy

It has been a little while since I posted anything to the blog about our philosophy here at Casefile Clues and since we have some new subscribers I thought I would.

Casefile Clues is not geared towards the totally new genealogist. There already is a great deal of basic how-to information on the internet and in print form. Our audience is the experienced genealogist. Our focus is also on the process, why certain things were done, what worked, and most importantly what did not work.

Michael only writes about families he is actually researching. That does limit the scope somewhat, but my children have a fairly diverse background so there is variety. Suggestions for ideas are welcome, but unless you are related to me (as one gentleman in Topeka was), I'm probably not going to write about your family.

Casefile Clues does not accept any advertising, either in the PDF version of the newsletter or on the Casefile Clues website. This is partially because what time I do have for the newsletter is I want to devote to researching and writing. I don't want to have to worry about advertisers, ads, etc. And...since Casefile Clues has no advertisers there is no one to worry about irritating. We really don't get controversial in Casefile Clues, but this way I don't have to worry if an advertiser won't like that I "left out" their site, book, etc. I also don't want readers to think I'm writing about a certain site or service in an attempt to promote it. I write about how I actually research. It is that simple. And suggestions are always welcome if you think I have overlooked something, because sometimes I do. Everyone does.

Some blogs, newsletters, and websites write about vendors or sites in hopes that their blog, newsletter, or website generates traffic to that site and generates them income. I'm certainly not opposed to income and I'm certainly not opposed to advertising (I use it on my site just to be upfront about it), but I really want Casefile Clues to be completely about the research.

There was a good response to Casefile Clues at the Topeka Genealogical Society Seminar I lectured at this past weekend. I appreciate their support and the suggestions I got from attendees.

If you've found Casefile Clues helpful to your research, consider:
  • mentioning it on your website/blog
  • sharing information about the newsletter with others
It really does help and I do appreciate it.

And your positive comments and support are also appreciated. There are a few taped up in my office for motivation when deadlines are looming.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Michael's Not at NGS discount on Casefile Clues

This week is the annual National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Work and other travels prevents me from going to NGS. I know some Casefile Clues subscribers are going to NGS, but I know quite a few others won't be able to for a variety of reasons.

Vendors often offer discounts at the NGS conference. Casefile Clues is offering a discount on a combination of all the back issues (1-39) and a year long subscription. Normally this would cost over $35. This week, through Saturday when the conference is over, we are offering all 39 back issues and a year long subscription for $30!

Click here to process credit card payment or email me for information on other payment options (

I'll be working this week and would love to have fans and blog readers take advantage of the "I'm not at NGS" offer.

Back Orders Processed

All orders for back issues and missing issues received as of 6:00 p.m. CST have been processed. If you still have missing issues or have ordered back issues and have not received them, please let me know so I can take care of it.

And if you'd like to order back issues, please let me know!


Casefile Clues Past Topics

Here are recent Casefile Clues article topics (this page will be updated as time allows):

  • 39--Multiple Marias--Analyzing more than one 1893 obituary for a Swiss immigrant in Iowa.
  • 38--From their Mouth to Your Screen. Discusses all the "filters" information passes through.
  • 37--Pullman Car Company Employment Records. Discusses several employment records from the Pullman Car Company in Chicago. Discusses William Apgar, Thomas Frame, Louis DeMar.
  • 36--Where are they in 1840? Analyzes an individual who is "missing" from an 1840 census. Includes a discussion of how he was "found" and how land records actually solved the problem. Discusses Abraham Wickiser.
  • 35--A 1910 Birth. Analyzes primary and secondary sources for a date and place of birth in 1910 and how differences might not be all that different. Discusses Ida Trautvetter.
  • 34--Ready to Go? Discusses some things to contemplate regarding your genealogy material before you die.
  • 33--Where there is a Will there is Confusion. Analyzes an early 19th century will from Maryland and what the different bequests likely mean and what potentially brought them about. Also discusses different ways some things can be interpreted. Discusses John DeMoss.
  • 32--When There is No Probate. Some things to think about when there is no probate file.
  • 31--Analyzing the Mortgage. Discusses an 1870 era mortgage in Illinois. Discusses John Ufkes and Rolf Habben.
  • 30--Behind the Scenes Chaos. Discusses the importance of thinking about what "caused" a record to be recorded.
  • 29--Un-American Activity. Discusses an invesigation by the fore-runner of the FBI into a German-American family in World War I. Discusses the Fecht family.
  • 28--Do You Ear What I Ear? Discusses things to remember about how things are heard.
  • 27--Analyzing Andrew Trask. Discusses work on an Mass. native (born ca. 1814) who lived in St. Louis, southern-Illinois, and western Illinois where he died in the 1880s. Focuses on analyzing and working on later records to discern patterns, etc. Discusses Andrew Trask.
  • 26--Using Google Books.
  • 25--Finding Valentine. Steps in locating a man whose only real mention is in an 1870 era estate settlement. Discusses how I organized my search for him.
  • 24--The Brick Wall is in Your Head. Talks about ways you may have made your own genealogical brick wall.
  • 23--You Ask and I Wonder. Things that pop in my head when a person asks a certain genealogical question.
  • 22--Crossing the Pond.
  • 21--One Clipping Leads to More.
  • 20--Organizing 1870 Census Search
  • 19--Public Sale
  • 18--Analyzing the Biography
  • 17--Working with the Professional. Getting started with the professional genealogist who is performing Chicago area work for me.
  • 16--A Lot from Barbara's Lot. Clues from a series of records on a small lot in a town in rural Illinois betwen 1856 and 1905.
  • 15--Finding Gesche's Girls. Tracking down an "evaporating" German native who "condensed" somewhere in the United States.
  • 14--Jumpstarting Your Research. Just some ideas to get you started.
  • 13--Brick Walls and the Census Taker
  • 12--The Heirs Complete the Homestead
  • 11--Is the Wrong Name Correct?
  • 10--Connecting the Iras. Working to determine if two men of the same name are the same man.
  • 09--Pre-1850 Census Analysis. Analzing pre-1850 census records for a family to determine the household structure. Discusses Thomas and Sarah Sledd.
  • 08--Platting Out Thomas Sledd's Heirs. Platting out the estate division of the Thomas Sledd estate in Kentucky in the 1830s. Discusses Thomas Sledd family.
  • 07--Looking for Ira's Lucretia. Working on my "brick wall" Ira through his sister Lucretia. mid-to-late nineteenth century work.
  • 06--The Civil War Pension file of Riley Rampley. An overview of a Union Civil War pension record.
  • 05--Finding a Chicago Christening. How a 1913 era Chicago christening record was found. Discusses Anna Apgar.
  • 04--Multiple Parents
  • 03--Preemption Claim. The Missouri pre-emption land claim of John Lake. Discusses John Lake.
  • 02--Passport Records. Discusses an early twentieth century passport application. Discusses Robert Frame.
  • 01--Lessons from an Estate Record. Analyzes an 1870 era Illinois set of estate records.

Want to order back issues? These are the current prices. We will honor any other prices on the site obtained via PayPal links that have not been removed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Issue 39 PDF version out

The PDF version of Issue 39 "Multiple Marias" has been sent. The in email version will go out later this evening.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thanks and Spread the News

I wanted to thank all of you who have supported Casefile Clues since I began self-distribution in July. I also appreciate the suggestions and comments I have recevied. They have been really helpful.

And if you know anyone who would be interested in Casefile Clues....please let them know!



About Casefile Clues

Every week Casefile Clues brings you one or more of the following:
  • Sources--Some weeks Casefile Clues focuses on a specific source or type of record, discussing how that source can be accessed, researched, and interpreted.
  • Methodology--Some weeks Casefile Clues works on one of Michael's problems. Many times these problems are "in progress," and Casefile Clues reflects that by explaining what was researched, why it was researched, and where to go next (and why).
  • Case Studies--Some weeks Casefile Clues focuses on a specific record on a specific person and analyzes that record, discusses what it says (and what it does not) and where to go next based upon that person and the specific record.
  • Citations--Casefile Clues includes citations of sources and records. Articles can easily be read without them, but we include citations for those who prefer to have them and we do try and model citations in the style of Evidence Explained.
  • Reasons--Casefile Clues tries to give you insight into why certain research avenues were pursued over others. Often the genealogist simply does not have time or money to locate every piece of paper available. Sometimes it is necessary to go with what likely will give us the "most bang for the buck."
  • Readable--We work very hard to make Casefile Clues readable. Columns are not "fluff" or generic "how-to" pieces.
  • Coverage--Casefile Clues covers all American time periods and records. All families discussed come from the ancestry of Michael's children who lived in a variety of states and countries. All examples are from actual families on which Michael has worked or is working. If you are subscribing when Casefile Clues begins discussing Philip Troutfetter, you'll see that you just can't make this stuff up.


We have several topics coming up over the next several months:

  • Continuation of our "hiring a professional" series.
  • Discussion of whether Michael should get pension, bounty land, and service records on three War of 1812 veterans.
  • Continuation of Michael's search for the parents of Ira Sargent, born ca. 1846 in Canada and dropped off by the UFO into Illinois in 1880.
  • A continuation of our series on the Frame/Apgar-Demar family of Chicago, including name changes, "evaporating husbands," and more.
  • Work on Sarah [---] Willis Hudson Rush Turberville who died in Orange County, Virginia, in the 1760s.

Join us and get in on the fun! An annual subscription to the weekly Casefile Clues is only $17. Casefile Clues is delivered weekly to your email inbox as an attached PDF file. Casefile Clues is unique and won't break your genealogical piggy bank!

Issue 39 Discusses two Obituaries

Issue 39, scheduled to go out this weekend, discusses two obituaries for a woman who died in Davenport, Iowa, in 1893. Several lessons in the text of the article and quite a few clues in the obituaries as well.

Also included are some general search techniques for searching newspapers. Subscribe now and get it on the discovery.

Google Map for Issue 39

This is a Google Map I created of the locations mentioned in the obituaries of Maria Cawiezell discussed in issue 39 of Casefile Clues. Subscribe now and get in on the discovery and analysis.

View Marie Cawiezell Locations in a larger map

Thursday, April 22, 2010

1880 Christian Troutfetter

This is the 1880 census enumeration (in part) for Christian Troutfetter and his family. He was living as a butcher in Alexandria, Clark County, Missouri, right across the Mississippi River from his Trautvetter relatives in Hancock County, Illinois.

The infamous Philip is listed as fourteen in this enumeration. This entry completes every census entry for Christian between 1860 and 1910.

I'm working on an article on Philip for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

My work on Christian himself might generate an article at a later date.
Careful readers might notice that Christian is listed as Troutfetter and the rest of his family is listed as Trautvetter. I'm not certain what caused him to use a slightly different spelling from his relatives who stayed in Illinois.

Working on Philip Troutfetter at Kansas Historical Library

I'll be spending part of Friday at the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka, the day before my seminar.

The main thing I'll be doing there is newspaper work on Philip Troutfetter. To be perfectly honest with blog readers, I decided this last night while walking the dog. Consequently I am not as prepared as I could or should be. I already have several newspaper clippings about Philip which I obtained from, Genealogybank and other online sources. Some of these newspaper items mention various events in Philip's life. I wanted to see what if anything his hometown paper had to say about these events. I made a quick, down and dirty chart of events I had. It is not sourced completely, but with enough detail that I can go back and clean up the chart (which I plan on doing for a future issue of Casefile Clues).

Sometimes we can't always be quite as organized as we want to be, but I think it is important to see how things progress and how one can try and be organized, even at the last minute. The chart is attached to this blog post as a PDF file. The completed chart (cleaned up with citations, etc.), and the original (for comparison) will appear in a future issue of Casefile Clues.

philip_ks_historical.pdf--this is the file.

I may do periodic updates while researching or I may just make one post at the end of the day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Off to Topeka

I am off to Topeka to lecture at the annual conference of the Topeka Genealogical Society on Saturday. On Friday, I'll be at the Kansas State Historical Society doing research. The society has a folder on Philip Troutfetter, my relative, who traversed the western hemisphere between the late 1890s and 1901 or so.

He owned the newspaper in Thomas County, Kansas before he started globetrotting and I've decided to review the microfilm of the newspaper for key events in his life to see how they were mentioned. Philip made national news several times and hopefully his local newspaper had more to say about him.

Stay tuned....I don't think I'm done with the Philip story yet.

John Habben 1880 Census enumeration two

This is the second 1880 census enumeration for a John Habben in Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois. In issue 40 of Casefile Clues, we'll see how the two John Habbens compare and see what the "real deal" was.
In the issue, we'll cite each census enumeration and discuss both entries--there's more to this story than just the two Johns. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

1895 Kansas Census Index Entry for Christian Troutfetter

Some names are easier to read incorrectly than others, especially when the census taker uses a creative spelling.

This screen shot is from the 1895 census index entry for Christian Troutfetter in Thomas County, Kansas.

He's indexed with a last name of Tronttefitter. He was found by searching for men whose name started with "Chris" in Thomas County, Kansas.

I submitted an alternate spelling for on this one. If the name really does look like "Tronttefitter" then Troutfetter is not a correction. We don't correct the census. We note that that the name was not spelled the way the family usually spelled it.

Of course, it the census actually said "Troutfetter" then changing it from "Tronttefitter" to "Troutfetter" would be a correction and should be done.

Regular readers of Casefile Clues have seen the name Trautvetter before. For reasons that are not known, Christian and his descendants use the Troutfetter spelling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

1880 Census for John Habben

This is one of the 1880 census enumerations for John Habben that we will be discussing in issue 40 of Casefile Clues. There's another John Habben on an adjacent page.
In the issue, we'll cite each census enumeration and discuss both entries and see what really was going on underneath the surface. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Christian in 1880

I'm working on part of an upcoming article today and am missing one census entry for a Christian Troutfetter and cannot seem to find him.

I am looking for Christian Troutfetter, born Sept 1831, Saxony (from the 1900 Census) and his wife Elizabeth (born Oct 1835 in Germany) for an upcoming Casefile Clues column on his son, Philip. I have Christian in the following years and places.

  • 1860-Wilcox, Hancock County, Illinois, page 84.
  • 1870-Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois, page 4.
  • 1880-??
  • 1895--Colby, Thomas County, Kansas, page 12.
  • 1900-Morgan Township, Thomas County, Kansas, Sheet 2B
  • 1910-Colby City (3rd "class), Thomas County, Kansas, Sheet 7A
These are not complete citations--just enough to help someone else find him.
The problem is locating him in 1880. He probably was in Illinois, but I am not certain. His occupation varies from a farmer to a butcher.

Any suggestions from readers with a little time on their hands? A more complete summary on him and the searches will appear in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. His likely location in Illinois would have been in either Montebello, Warsaw, Wilcox, or Rocky Run Townships.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Issue 39--Names and Identities

There is no title to issue 39 as of yet, but it deals with differentiating between two individuals and merging individuals together. The family discussed is German, but don't be put off because you don't have any Germans. The concept of similarly named individuals being "merged" into one person happens in many backgrounds.

We'll also see how naming conventions created problems as well.

Getting Ready for Topeka

I'll be making four presentations for the Topeka, Kansas Genealogical Society's conference this upcoming Saturday, April 24th. The conference will focus on female ancestors, which cover half of the family tree--quite a bit of ground for one day.

The society is still accepting registrations for the conference--email me at & I can put you in contact with the society representative. We'd love to have you join us.

I'm going to research the family Philip Troutfetter at the Kansas State Historical Library Friday, hoping to find some information for the newsletter.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Issue 38 completely sent

All copies of issue 38 have been sent. Please let me know if you haven't received yours. If you aren't a subscriber, join now and I'll start your subscription with issue 38.

Issue 38 has been sent

PDF subscribers have been sent issue 38. In text emails are next.

Issue 38 getting ready to go...

Issue 38 being finalized for distribution into cyberspace. Susbscribe before I send it out and I'll put your name on the distribution list. 38 is a piece to get you thinking about the "flow" of information to your computer screen. You can subscribe here

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Our Proofreader: Sue Hawes

Sue Hawes, a genealogist based in Portland, Maine and Massachusetts native, has served as the very able proofreader for Casefile Clues since September 2009. Her genealogical education includes the National Genealogical Society's (NGS) American Genealogy Home Study Course and Advanced Methodology and Analysis at the Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research (IGHR). In May 2010, Sue will lead a group of Rev. William Crain (1802-1884) descendants to southern Hancock County, Illinois for cemetery and other family research. When she is not busy with genealogy or her full-time job in technical support, Sue enjoys camping and spending time with her husband and teenage daughter.

Michael's Note: Sue always keeps me on my toes, but readers should remember that any errors, omissions, or general "boo-boos" rest at my feet, not hers. Her help in getting Casefile Clues off every week is greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Facebook Fans

To celebrate our new "Genealogy Tip of the Day" fans on Facebook, until 6 PM Thursday, 3 Feb 2011, we're offering a year of Casefile Clues for $15.

Request samples by emailing

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Want to Join Michael in Salt Lake this May?

Anyone who wants to join me in Salt Lake at the Family History Library in late May...check out my group trip page:

To Our New Subscribers

Just to make new subscribers aware:

  • Casefile Clues is distributed as a PDF file attached to an email.
  • Make certain is on your "allowed" list.
  • Newsletters are normally sent on Sunday or Monday.
  • Newsletter distribution is announced on and on our FanPage on Facebook.
  • Back issues can be purchased. Email me at for details.
  • We really appreciate it when readers let others know about Casefile Clues.


Buying Back Issues 1-36

For our new subscribers, back issues 1-36 can be purchased for $13.50 by using PayPal to process credit card payment. Need other payment options? Email me at PayPal is really easier for the "one-man show" to process if at all possible.

Upcoming Topics and Some Items

Here is what's coming in Casefile Clues:
  • Issue 38--A little speculative fiction
  • Issue 39--An unusual 1880 census entry
  • Issue 40--Comparing William Frame with William Apgar (analyzing handwriting, ages, etc.)
  • Issue 41--A War of 1812 Pension
  • Issue 42--Finding John's missing thirtysome acres

Spring is busy for many reasons, so I really have to keep on a schedule and plan more than usual. Next week, I'll be in Topeka, Kansas, for the Topeka Genealogical Society's workshop. In May, I'll be in Salt Lake City for my trip. In June, I'll be in southern California for the Genealogy Jamboree and in Loveland, Colorado for the Family History Expo. In July, I'll be in Norman, Oklahoma, for the Cleveland County Genealogical Society's seminar.

I would love to meet readers at any of these events and I'm sure the organizers would love to have additional registrants.

And if you aren't a subscriber to the weekly Casefile Clues, you can process a subscription here.

And if you'd like to have me present for your group's seminar, have the society or the program chair contact me at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anything You'd Like to See Updated?

Here is a partial list of old articles I wrote as long as ten years ago. If there is something you'd like to see updated, post here or drop me a line.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recent Topics on Casefile Clues

For those who are unfamiliar with Casefile Clues, here are some topics we have covered recently:
  • A missing 1840 census entry
  • Pullman Company employment records
  • World War I Alien Registrations
  • A Brick Wall Ancestor born in 1814
  • Analyzing a 1870 Mortgage
and lots more.

100 Reasons Why People Like Casefile Clues

These are from 100 of the responses we had to our recent Casefile Clues reader survey...

I like to see how others do research and maybe also learn something new.

Gives me another way to look at things

The well organized presentation of facts makes me try to figure out what should be done next in the research, and I also like the variety of resources covered-many of these I haven't used yet.

I enjoy your personal touch, relating research to your own family.

The case studies.

Case study approach - analysis of your thought process as you work through the problems
It gives me ideas about new ways to find and study sources and how to better use documents found in my own genealogy endeavors.

The way the reader is taken through the steps in research, warned of potential pitfalls and reminded of items that need more investigation or are not fully supported by evidence.

The detail of the cases, being able to follow along step by step.

Makes me think more about quality of evidence

gives new insight to your search and how to do it

Easy to read

I like that the research help is timeless...not connected to just the Internet or websites. In fact, I'm at a place in my research where I need to do more offline than online research, anyways, and Casefile Clues is the encouragement I need.

The articles give me clues to doing my own research and they are so interesting to read.

Real examples

I like hearing the though processes and seeing how things are organized. Seeing possibilities in new sources that I hadn't considered before.

In depth analysis of those difficulties all genealogists run into from time to time. Reading another person's solution or discoveries re: a problem I too, have been stumped by, often re-boots the brain.

It makes me think about alternate sources of information and how to find them.

I like the detailed research techniques.

Gives me ideas for my own research after reading about successful researches of others; also, gives me a chance to learn many bits of information I have not been aware of.

The details about how and where searches were made.

Alternative research strategies and other things I haven't thought of.

Variety of topics

The way a case is dissected and deconstructed - then laid out in parts and put back together
gives you ideas; shows how to write up information and find wholes

It is like you are sitting beside and talking to a competent genealogist as he is working on a problem.

The steps of the thought process, and reasonings of why something is researched.

Variety of topics

I like following your research methodology and how you convey to information in the form of a case study. I am using a similar format with some of my lines.

research process is emphasized rather than merely final conclusions

They talk about subjects I am working on.

your thorough treatment

logical sequences in research process, and emphasis on lesser-used records.

The ideas for research that I get from reading the case studies.

I can't SKIM! I HAVE to concentrate! And learn so much.

Reinforces my research principles; gives me new ideas on research possibilities; helps me to find hidden clues in information; helps keep me on track for research goals; and gives me new ideas for future research areas.

Discussion of how/why actual data is evaluated in a certain way.

Gives me ideas and locations to search for my ancestors.

it's interesting

Good reminders of primary vs secondary sources as I sometimes forget and use death certificates as primary, etc. Enjoy suggestions for further research as they help me think further and focus my personal research efforts.

Real research for beginners, intermediate and refresher ideas for the seasoned.

I like looking at your problem research processes and comparing them to mine.

Provides good problem solving exercises

I like that it is the actual work of genealogy problem solving not theoretical

Methodology explained.

Real case studies with detailed research steps and results.

using case histories to highlight use and analysis of unusual records

Gives me new perspective on some of my brick walls.

Real work but just words, theories or rules.

Shows the method that is used to solve a problem.

The variety and the depth of research

I like how structured it is and the methodology is easy to follow

The steps necessary for a complete search of any clues are spelled out in detail.

I like the thorough, detailed examination of a real genealogy case study. It's academic, not just entertaining. I can learn good procedures.

I like how in-depth you get on a focused topic.

It shows good genealogy procedures in action.

The personal touch

?? Haven't had a chance to read them yet. I just save them in a file for later use.

Lessons in methodology. Deeper examination of common sources.

Practical examples

I very much enjoy the methodology and the feeling of 'discussion' of problem solving with another genealogist.

Information provided, websites, Ideas, just about everything.

focus on problem-solving

You detail an orderly research process, beginning with framing the right questions.

Thought process. Logical approach. Demonstration of extracting all possible clues.

Case studies that are relevant to most researchers

I enjoy reading about the different approaches you take to solving problems. Many times I would have done the same; other times I learn something completely new.

sequence of steps to solve problem

I'm always learning something

Learning the importance of attention to detail, that things are not always as they seem.

Great research ideas!

one concise topic/problem/issue with steps for resolution of same

The emphasis on metholodology with real examples.

articles that help with research for all nationalities

I enjoy having another viewpoint when looking at case studies.

Your steps in the research process to arrive at the result.

I was not aware of some of the resources one could check - i.e. applying for the original SS application

Methodical examination of genealogical clues to determine facts and next research steps

I like your discussions of sources and also your pieces about your personal research: how you have analyzed the problem to decide which records to search and then what you found.

Practial work, not just words and theory.


How you use case studies to show how to overcome problems.

the focus on analyzing documents using case studies. casefile clues fills a void in genealogy information

the thoroughness and step by step process described, the enables me to use the same process for my "brick walls"

The detail in each newsletter on how to research a particular is written in such a way to make you think about what you are looking for.

The fact that it uses real case studies to show how and what can be done with various sources or in various situations. And that you attempt to cite those sources correctly.

variety of topics


Even though I am not actively doing genealogy right now it helps me to focus on research problems I still need to solve.

I enjoy the problem-solving focus of the newsletter.

Analysis of sources - explaining your thinking on what needs to come next

the logic applied to unpuzzle genealogy

Love reading the process of your research.

It seems to go over various situations that you run into with doing research of hearing things wrong or different... getting homestead records or railroad retirement records in the mail and (not thinking to number the pages as they are received) just mixing them up...
offers learning by example i.e. case studies, interesting, varied

Solutions to brick walls that perhaps I did not think of in my search

I can always find something relevant in Casefile Clues to apply to my own research.

Clearly explained ways of using a variety of sources to solve a genealogical question.

It's a great illustration of how to approach a genealogy problem by writing down all the collected evidence and analyzing it. This approach is one of the most recommended genealogy techniques, and Casefile Clues shows how it's done - and what benefits can be reaped from it.

Orders as of 7:00 a.m. CST today processed

If you subscribed or purchased back issues before 7:00 a.m. CST today, those orders have been processed. Please email me if you did not receive what you should have. Thanks!

All copies of issus 37 have been sent

All copies of issue 37 on Pullman employment records have been sent.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Issue 37 PDF sent--Pullman Car Company Employment Records

The PDF version of issue 37 has been sent to subscribers. Intext version will go out later tonight. If you didn't get it, please let me know.

If you'd like to subscribe to Casefile Clues---we'd love to add you to our growing list of subscribers.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

I will be making the following presentations at the following upcoming conferences/workshops over the next several months:

Topeka Genealogy Society Seminar, 24 April 2010
  • The Oft-Married Sarah
  • Female Ancestors: After the Marriage
  • Barbara's Beaus and Gesche's Girls
  • Widows Denied-Pensions for Widows and What they Can Tell You

Southern California Family History Jamboree, 11-13 June 2010
  • Restacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information
  • From New Jersey to Ohio: Establishing an Early Nineteenth Century Migration Trail
  • Pig Blood in the Snow: Court Records Can Solve Problems

Family History Expos-Loveland, Colorado 25 & 26 June 2010
  • Searching Tips and Tricks
  • Where Did the Farm Go
  • Where Do I Go From Here?
  • Restacking the Blocks: Organizing Your Information
Cleveland County, Oklahoma Summer Seminar, 24 July 2010--to be held in Norman, OK
  • Using Probate Manuals and State Statute
  • Barbara, Nancy and Antje-Three Midwestern Women and Their Records
  • Pig Blood in the Snow-Court Records Can Solve Problems
  • Organizing Your Information
More workshops seminars will be announced as they approach and as they are scheduled. If you are in the area, please consider attending! And if you'd like to bring me to your seminar or workshop, please contact me at for details.


Share the News: Casefile Clues

If you have found Casefile Clues helpful with your own research, please let your genealogy friends know about it. Spreading the word in the genealogical community is greatly appreciated.

Casefile Clues is one of the best bangs for your genealogical buck there is. For $17 a year, you get 52 weekly issues full of genealogy case studies, research situations, and example of actual research. Casefile Clues is not copied and pasted beginner genealogy information (not that beginning information is bad, just that many of us need something a little more). We don't gloss over the details and the reasons--we know readers can handle it and that they want it.

You can't subscribe to the bi-monthly or quarterly newsletters for $17 a year and Casefile Clues is delivered every week to your email inbox as a PDF file, for you to print or not as you choose. The only thing we ask is that you not forward copies of Casefile Clues to others. We try and keep our annual subscription rate as low as possible.

We emphasis the process of genealogy, analyzing materials, why certain records were accessed, etc. Casefile Clues is written in clear, concise prose. And we cite our sources, knowing how important that is for accurate genealogical research (you'd also be surprised to know how many additional discoveries are made just documenting our research). You'll never know how long an issue of Casefile Clues will just depends.

Casefile Clues focuses on American research, but we discuss immigrants into the United States and every so often we discuss our beginning work on a family across the pond. And sometimes our work across the pond is a little beyond the beginning stages as well. As always the focus is on the process and much of that is applicable anywhere.

Don't just take our word for it, read these blogger's reviews of Casefile Clues:
You can subscribe to Casefile Clues today by pointing your browser here.

Upcoming Topic--Finding Johann in 1870

Johann Ufkes cannot be found in any 1870 census enumeration, despite my repeated attempts to locate him.

Briefly, here is what is known relative to Johann's 1870 census enumeration:
  • Johann came to the United States in March of 1869, per his entry on a ship manifest.
  • Within a few weeks of his arrival in New York, Johann was living near Golden, Adams County, Illinois, where he would work as a hired man.
  • On 19 August 1871, Johann filed a declaration of intent to become a citizen in Hancock County, Illinois.
  • On 4 Sept 1872, Johann was in Franklin County, Nebraska, when and where he filed a homestead claim.
  • By 20 Nov 1873, Johann has abandoned his homestead claim in Franklin County, Nebraska, and locals there do not know his whereabouts.
  • On 10 March 1874, Johann marries Noentje Grass in Hancock County, Illinois.
Johann is in the 1880 census in Hancock County, Illinois. Additional details on his life will not be posted here, but the remainder of his life was spent in Hancock and Adams Counties in Illinois.

Johann could easily have been enumerated under the first name of John, Jann, Jann, or Janns.

Because of patronymics in the area in which he was from, John could have been enumerated with last name other than Ufkes. These last names are:

  • Frederichs
  • Hinrichs
  • Janssen
Or any of their concomitant variant spellings. Johann Ufkes was born in Ostfriesland, Germany, in 1838.

I'll post citation information for the chronology later or when the research results (or process, even if unsuccessful) appears in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

If we find him, we will post the citation for the 1870 census here, even if you don't subscribe to the newsletter, blog viewers will still be able to see how he was located.

Note: I posted this because Tina S. on Facebook asked about my 1870 census "problem" and this problem was simply too long for a Facebook post.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Few Pullman Links in Preparation for Issue 37

Issue 37 looks at some employment records from the Pullman Car Company in Chicago. For those who would like more information on the car company and the company town of Pullman, here are a few links:

Google searches will bring up quite a few results. There's a lot of history to the car company and the town of Pullman, which I won't repeat here. The town was eventually absorbed into Chicago, after a suit forced its separation from the Pullman car company. One shouldn't assume that all Pullman employees lived in Pullman owned homes during the time the company owned the town. Thomas Frame (discussed briefly in issue 37) did not live in the company town even though he was employed by the company during the time the company owned the town.

Both Thomas and his son Ralph were employed by Pullman during the Great Strike of 1894.

Our focus in 37 is on the records and what they have to say about the individuals being researched.

Get in on the fun and subscribe today!

Don't forget you can get Casefile Clues delivered weekly as a PDF file to your email inbox. No stamps, no running (or walking) to the mailbox, and no paper unless you decide to print it out yourself.

An annual subscription of weekly issues is only $17. That's cheaper than most bi-monthly magazines!

Re-charge your research today!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Issue 37 Pullman Records and Ages

Issue 37 discusses the employment records I received from the Pullman Car Company for four of the Chicago people I have been working on. The record for one individual is analyzed in some detail, especially in terms of what it told me about him and how it helped establish a timeline for him and his family.

Also created a chart analyzing his age in the employment records to determine if those ages are consistent. In a later issue of Casefile Clues I will compare those ages with others.

Scans of records are included in the article. Issue 37 discusses the goals I had for those records, how those goals were (or were not met) and where further research should be directed.

If you aren't a subscriber, consider subscribing today and you'll be on the list to get the issue on the Pullman employment records.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Date of birth for Louis De Mar

This clip from an employment card for Louis De Mar at the Pullman Car Company provides his date of birth and the date he entered the service of the Pullman Car Company.

This also means he was in Chicago by January of 1903 when he started working for Pullman--helpful because I'm trying to estimate when he came to Chicago.

We will discuss more about the Pullman records in issue 37 of Casefile Clues. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

A Reminder About Contacting Michael

Just a reminder....if you need to contact me regarding your subscription, please do so at either (or both):

One is not really faster than the other, but I do not always respond instantaneously. While I use the Facebook FanPage and post to it, I do not view it 24/7/365. Facebook does NOT send me a notice when someone posts to the Casefile Clues Fan Page and occasionally posts there bypass my "radar."

I usually answer questions about missing issues first, errors in the newsletter second, and then I go from there. Any compliments on the newsletter are immediately forwarded to my Mother and printed and framed (just a little humor there...).

Seriously, if you don't hear from me within a couple of days please send a reminder email. Sometimes other things come up or if I'm travelling responses may be delayed.


Survey Results--Newsletter Subscriptions

I'm experimenting with the results from our Casefile Clues Genealogy Survey.

This is a pie chart for the number of newsletters genealogists subscribe to.

We had 584 respondents to our survey.

More results will be posted.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Going To Topeka

I'll be the featured speaker at the Topeka Genealogical Society Conference on 24 April 2010. I'm arriving a day early in hopes of doing some research in Topeka to get some material for the newsletter. The Kansas State Historical Library has some materials I'm hoping to get to research. I'll post updates here as I prepare for my trip.

One person I'm hoping to do some work on is Philip Troutfetter. I've blogged about him several times, but never written about him in the newsletter. That is something I hope to do. Philip owned a newspaper in western Kansas, homesteaded in Kansas and Colorado, was divorced in Colorado, found a couple girlfriends outside Denver (while he was married), traveled to Cuba and Columbia, and died at his parents' home in Colby, Kansas in his early 40s.

I forgot to mention he was arrested in Boston.

He appears in the Kansas Biographical Name Index. I'm debating how to best spend my time in Topeka and will post updates as I make decisions. Hopefully that helps someone.

I'll try and post an update on Philip's parents who took him and his siblings to Thomas County, Kansas.

Philip and my great-grandfather George A. Trautvetter, were first cousins. George A.'s life did not generate nearly as many records as did his cousin's.

Abraham in 1840--One Additional Follow up Question

Notice to Casefile Clues subscribers:

In reviewing the card record images to put on the website, I realized there was one follow up question I forgot to include which would go something like this--

"Is there any significance to the dates on the three quitclaim deeds to William Wickiser?" Of course, the parents are likely deceased by the dates of these deeds, but there may be significance beyond that. Someone else might have died, or turned of age, etc.

It is interesting to note that the three quitclaim deeds are not on the same date."

One Complete Card

This image is one of the complete cards that was used to create the table of land records that was included in issue 37 of Casefile Clues.

Clicking on the image will pull up a larger version of it.

This is the first card from where Abraham purchased the entire 100 acres of lot ten in Harlem Township, Delaware County, Ohio.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues today and I'll start your subscription off with issue 36 which includes a discussion of these land records.

Is this the same handwriting?

These signatures come from Pullman Company employment records in Chicago, Illinois.

Would you say the same person wrote both these signatures?

Find out in issue 37 of Casefile Clues. Subscribe today.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Issue 37--Pullman Employment Records

Issue 37 is in the draft stages here at Casefile Clues--it will focus on employment records of the Pullman Car Company in Chicago. Obtaining these records was a part of my professional researcher's list of tasks in working on the DeMar/Apgar/Frame problem that has also been discussed in the newsletter before.

We'll be posting some snippets from the article here over the next few days, but the real discussion will be in the newsletter. As mentioned before three of my children's ancestors were employed by the Pullman Car Company at one point or another--two for over 30 years and one was still working there at the age of 71!

Back Issues of Casefile Clues

To those who ordered back issues in the last few days...your orders will be emailed on Tuesday. If you do not have them in your inbox by late Tuesday, please send me an email so I can follow up.

And for those who need ordering information:

Spread the News....

Don't forget to let other interested genealogists know about Casefile Clues. Our main method of advertising is "word of mouse," as they say. I do appreciate those who have let others know about the newsletter, or mentioned it in their Facebook status, website, blog, etc. etc.

If you have found Casefile Clues helpful or it's given you an idea to help you with your research, please let others know.

And if you can think of some low-cost way I can promote Casefile Clues, please forward those suggestions on to me as well.

Thanks for all your support. I do appreciate it.

Intext version of Issue 36 has been sent

The in text version of issue 36 has been sent. All subscribers should have this issue. Please email me if you do not so that I can take care of it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Casefile Clues 36 is out...

Casefile Clues 36 has been sent to PDF subscribers. In email subscribers will be getting their email version of the newsletter later today. Issue 36 discusses how an Ohio resident was "found" in 1840 using records besides the census.

Subscribe by Noon Monday CST and I'll start your subscription with issue 36.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Geneamusings Comments on Casefile Clues and the Survey

When mentioning our genealogy survey, Randy Seaver had this to say about Casefile Clues:

"I've been enjoying Michael's weekly Casefile Clues articles - he's up to Week 35 now and the collection is helpful and illuminating."

The full blog post can be read here.
Thanks Randy!

Not Getting Your Newsletters?

If you are not getting your issues of Casefile Clues, please email me at Thanks!

Previous Casefile Clues Topics

Here are a list of some of the topics/titles from our first 35 issues of Casefile Clues:
  • Using Google Books
  • Analyzing pre-1850 census records
  • Beginning my work with a professional researcher
  • Analyzing a 1910 place of birth
  • Finding a 1913 Chicago christening record
  • Analyzing a late 19th century estate settlement
  • Analyzing a land partition in 1830s Kentucky
  • Brick Walls from A to Z
  • Analyzing a Homestead Claim
  • Finding Geske and her Girls
  • Is that Wrong Name Correct?
  • Jumpstarting Your Research
  • Civil War Pension Analysis
  • US Passport Applications
And more! Including several on organizing and deciding where to go on several of my brickwall ancestors.

Not a subscriber?
Email Michael at for non-credit card payment options.

Get in on the fun. Your research will never be the same.

Upcoming Topics

We're working on some interesting topics at Casefile Clues. These include:
  • Pullman Company Employment Records
  • Update on Hiring a Professional
  • Tracing a Family Through pre-1850 Census Records
  • Getting Beyond the 1850 Census
  • Finding John Michael's missing 37 acres
And updates on a few of my "brick walls" that have been discussed in earlier issues. For those who are unfamiliar with Casefile Clues, my focus is on methods, sources, and process. Each issue is cited, keeping in mind that genealogy without citation is often myth. That said, the citations do not overtake the issue and I (and my proofreader Sue) work hard to make each issue readable. Our goal is to get readers seeing why I did what I did, even when it did not work.

Concentration is on American sources, but our methodology is applicable to a variety of areas and time periods. Casefile Clues has subscribers in every state, Canada, the UK, Sweden, and Australia.

Casefile Clues is sent weekly as an attached PDF file and is only $17 a year. If you've been looking for a magazine that gets beyond the fluff and is not the same general how-to advice you're used to, give us a try.

Read what 100 of our readers had to say in our first reader survey.

Our Genealogy Survey

Casefile Clues genealogy survey will close on 6 April 2010 at 9:00 AM CST. If you haven't answered our questions (generally geared towards American research), you can do so here Results will be posted when they are available.

Genealogy Tip of the Day

Don't forget about my daily genealogy tip site, "Genealogy Tip of the Day." It is hosted at blogspot and features a quick research tip just about every day.

These usually are generated when writing Casefile Clues articles, but not always. In some cases, you'll be getting a "sneak" peak at what's coming up. Or in other cases, a "quick review" of something I've recently done.

Check it out..."Genealogy Tip of the Day" is free.

Headed to Salt Lake--Reader Suggestions for Articles

I'm starting to really get to thinking about what I'm going to work on while I'm in Salt Lake on my annual group research trip. I usually have time for a little bit of my own research.

Is there anything Casefile Clues readers would like to see updates on in future issues of the newsletters? As readers know, much of the research discussed in Casefile Clues is ongoing and we do followup on articles as time and new material allows.

I have written on a variety of individuals in earlier issues:
  • the elusive Ira Sargent, born ca. 1843 in Canada
  • Andrew Trask, born ca. 1814 in Mass, and who lived in Illinois and St. Louis
  • the vague will of John DeMoss from Harford County, Maryland
  • missing Abraham Wickiser in the Ohio 1840 census
  • the ever frustrating Frame/Apgar/Demar family in Chicago
  • the Sledds of Kentucky
and several others.

If there's something you'd like to see, either post it here or email it to me at

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and get in on the research process. Join us in Salt Lake and get in on the onsite research fun!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

"Who Do You Think You Are?" on NBC and sponsored by is generating interest in genealogy, or at least people think it is. Comments on WDYTYA run the gamut, but generating interest in genealogy isn't bad.

Some have said that the focus isn't on "typical" people, the research is occasionally glossed over, and there's "someone else there doing it and everything is at their disposal." I hear comments that those who are seriously involved in genealogy want a little more detail.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues. We don't gloss over anything, explain the research process, and our focus is always on typical people. And the author doesn't have everything at his disposal.

And we cite our sources!

Subscriptions are only $17 a year and the newsletter will be delivered weekly to your inbox as a PDF file, complete with illustrations.

Don't take our word for it--here are 100 reasons why readers like Casefile Clues.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Card that Really Started it All

This is really the land transaction that really started my research on the Wickisers in Delaware County, Ohio. That research eventually moved to Abraham Wickiser, father of Lucinda. In issue 36 of Casefile Clues, I discuss the search for Abraham which centered on these deeds.

Archibald and Lucinda Kile are my wife's ancestors. Quit claim deeds are always interesting.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues now and see how Abraham was found.

Using the Land to Get to the Missing Census

This is one of the land index cards that was used to re-construct a series of transactions in Delaware County, Ohio, for Abraham Wickiser. There were 9 cards that were viewed to complete the family's transactions on this property.

In issue 36 of Casefile Clues we discuss how these transactions helped explain a "missing" census enumeration. Subscribe now and get in on the story.