Saturday, July 31, 2010

Issue 51-Clarifying Clara

Issue 51 of Casefile Clues looks at a widow's application for bounty land based upon her husband's War of 1812 service. Included in the application are a variety of letters and a comment from the lawyer that the widow Lake really didn't have any idea of how to complete her claim.

Issue 51 includes images from the file, transcription of key documents, abstracts of key points of others and analysis. Citations are also included.

Subscribe now and I'll start your subscription with issue 51.

Questions or problems can be sent to me at

Off to work on issue 52.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Benjamin Butler's Probate

Regular Casefile Clues readers will remember Benjamin Butler.

He was identified as the probable father of Ellen Butler, who married William Ira Sargent in Davis County, Iowa, in 1870.

After some searching, I found a man I think is the same Benjamin Butler in Vernon County, Missouri.

An online index to Vernon County materials indicated there was estate information for Benjamin in the 1880s. The Missouri State Archives has located the records on their microfilm and sent an email in response to my request.

I've ordered the copies and will be posting an update when they arrive.
We'll include the search procedure, why I think this is the same person who was in Davis County, Iowa in 1870 and what the contents of the file were.

Stay tuned.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues now and get in on the fun!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Were they brothers? Or did they have the same teacher?

John and Zachariah Jenkins signed a statement in the 1852 bounty land application of Clarissa Lake in Mercer and Washington Counties in Kentucky.
Does it look like they had the same teacher for their handwriting? They look very similar. I'm not certain what the relationship is between the two men, who shared the same last name as the widow's maiden name.
Casefile Clues 51 doesn't answer the sibling question for these two--we're focused on the bounty land application.
Subscribe now and see what's in a typical widow's bounty land application for the War of 1812. Issue 51 will be distributed in the next several days.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Renewal Notices Delayed

I'm headed out of town for the Kansas City Family History Expo this weekend. My spare time will be spent getting caught up on the newsletter.

Renewal notices will not go out until I get the newsletter caught up which will be a little while.

If you'd like to renew before your subscription expires, you can do so here. That link is for renewals only. New subscribers can join us here.

I'll only be processing new subscriptions as they happen. I'll take care of renewals and sending out notices when I get caught up.

Thanks for your patience and thanks to those who have already renewed or extended their subscription. It is appreciated.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Insanity Records

Ira Sargent, who has been discussed in several issues of Casefile Clues, was declared insane in Adams County, Illinois twice in the early 1900s. I have copies of selected pages from his casefiles. I'm going to have a researcher get a set of the entire files for me and we'll be using them in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues, after we get caught up. These should be an interesting series of records. The records for that issue are public court records, different from the actual institutional records for Ira.

I'm getting back on obtaining those records, but that takes a little more work.

Stay tuned.

Contacting Michael

Please remember if you need to contact me to send me an email at or These addresses are checked regularly.

Posting to the fan page on Facebook won't necessarily reach me all that fast sometimes as there are times when I don't check the fan page daily.


Friday, July 23, 2010

A Reader Success Story

I received the following email from a subscriber earlier today:

I am a new subscriber to Casefiles, and I have learned a great deal.

I want to tell you I believe I finally found a Census record for my Grandfather in 1870. Using suggestions from your newsletter and your tips, I explored the 1880 Census for families that lived near the target family, checking for those that had immigrated from the same or nearby area. I checked to see if they had a child over ten that had been born in the state. I selected 3 possible names, and did a search for one, and found the family living near the same area. Because the name I was looking for has many, many possibilities, I decided to find the family and search 10 pages forward and back. The 10 forward were not successful, but about 5 pages back, I believe I found the family, and there no way I would have found it from the indexers spelling. The first names, ages, and place of birth all matched. I now have one more piece of my puzzle, with many more to go.

Thank you for giving me, a way to focus in on my search. I am looking forward to the coming issues.
Thanks KG for the positive comments. I really appreciate it.

Remember, Casefile Clues is not about fancy graphics, lots of color splash, and marketing "savvy."

It's about research, pure and simple.

Get your research back on track for only $17 for 52 issues--join the growing Casefile Clues family today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Almost One Year of Casefile Clues

On 27 July 2009, I began self-distribution of Casefile Clues. It is hard to believe that I've been writing and distributing the newsletter myself for a year.

In celebration of our first year coming to a close, we're offering a year of Casefile Clues at $15. Back issues 1-50 can be purchased as well at $15, which is the lowest price we've had on back issues.

Offer ends Sunday, 25 October 2010!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Levi Rhodes in 1850 and is he really the Dad?

This is the 1850 federal census entry for Levi Rhodes in Scotland County, Missouri. Levi's War of 1812 pension record was discussed in an earlier issue of Casefile Clues. I think that this William is the same William Rhodes/Rhodus that is my wife's ancestor, although the age is slightly off.

Other family members are not convinced, so I'm going back and looking again at my earlier research.

We'll look at the reviewed material in a later issue of Casefile Clues, but it will concentrate on discussing the consistency of information between census records, where these other individuals in the 1850 enumeration end up, and why the location of where Levi was probably born and raised makes more of a difference that might appear on the surface.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Riley Rampley

Riley Rampley's Civil War pension is partially discussed in issue 50 of Casefile Clues. The bulk of the pension concerns his widow Nancy's application, but there is significant information on his service and his medical condition and his health after the war.

Issue 50 concentrates on the report of the Special Examiner who was sent to interview his widow, her son and several neighbors in regards to her claim. Interesting stuff about Nancy's life and her financial status around the turn of the century.

Riley served in Company D, 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues today and I'll start your subscription with issue 50.

PDF version of issue 50 has been sent

The PDF version of issue 50 has been sent.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tina Sansone on Casefile Clues

This is what Tina Sansone had to say about Casefile Clues on her Facebook page:

"Casefile Clues is a great way to give yourself a different way of thinking to solve a genealogical problem. Each case I read I have learned something and it has been a wonderful investment in my family history education. Check it out...Tina"

Thanks, Tina!

Tina's webpage is here
I have difficulty linking directly to Facebook posts on the blog.

Norman Oklahoma Genealogical Seminar 24 July 2010

Those who live in the vicinity of Norman, Oklahoma may wish to attend the Cleveland County Oklahoma Genealogical Society's workshop on 24 July. I'll be giving four lectures, focusing on females, court, and other records.

There is more information on the Society's seminar page:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tapes of My Lectures from Genealogy Jamboree 2010

Jamb0-Inc. recorded sessions at the 2010 Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA this past June.

All of my sessions were supposed to be recorded, but I only saw two on the website:

  • FR010-Restacking the Blocks-Organizing Your Data
  • SA-031-From NJ to OH-Establishing a 19th Century Migration Trail

The website is

I can't make any direct links to the Jamboree (sorry!). Let me know if you have difficulty ordering any tapes.

Subscribe by US Mail?

Those who want to receive Casefile Clues weekly in their email can do so by making a secure credit card payment on our website at

Those who wish to may payment by check or money order can email me at for the mail-in form. I'm working on getting it posted here, but sometimes other things take priority--I am happy to email it to anyone though.

Sending out renewal notices

I am sending out more renewal notices over the next few days. Subscribers can renew at any time--there's a link in the email that comes with every issue. If you have questions about your subscription, please email me at


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Could this be the Benjamin Butler I Need?

I've been writing in Casefile Clues recently about Benjamin Butler who appears in the 1870 Davis County, Iowa Federal Census as shown in this post.

Notice that he has a nine year old child Charles, who is said to have been born in Kansas around 1861.

There is a land patent in Anderson County, KS in 1860 issued in the name of Benjamin F. Butler, which can be viewed here as PDF file.

This may be the same guy I'm not certain at this point. In an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues we'll see how I'm working to determine if the Benjamin on the patent could be the Benjamin in 1870 in Davis County, Iowa. It can be challenging trying to connect identities when individuals are constantly on the move.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and get in on the fun.

One Thing About Casefile Clues

One thing we try to include in each issue of Casefile Clues is the reasons that certain things are tried. Inclusion of the thought process is important so that readers can at least see the "method behind the madness." This is good to do in your own personal research as well.

I really try and include the reasons behind why certain records were chosen, or specific approaches were tried, and how conclusions were reached.

Just to say "here's some neat stuff I found," really isn't enough at least not for the newsletter.

Subscribe today and see where our next projects are going.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Benjamin Butler in 1850?

Casefile Clues readers will remember Benjamin Butler from an earlier issue when he was shown to be the likely father of Ellen Butler who married William Ira Sargent in Davis County, Iowa in 1870. Benjamin could not be found in 1860 and some basic searches of 1850 were performed.

This entry from Port Huron, St. Clair, Michigan may be the Benjamin Butler in 1870 in Davis County, Iowa. The age matches, the 1850 location is consistent, but other details do not match exactly and the problem is that even if the 1850 Benjamin is the 1870 Benjamin, the children in the 1850 Benjamin's household have all "aged out" and he has new ones by 1870. Probably has a new wife as well.

A future issue will discuss my work on comparing these two men and how it was done. Right now, I'm not certain whether I'll conclude that they are the same or not. But we'll write up the research and the process.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Issue 49 distributed.

PDF subscribers should have their copy of Casefile Clues 49 on a set of War of 1812 pension papers.

Missouri Land Patent

This is part of the land patent that really got me researching again on Levi Rhodes. The Tennessee native obtained federal land in Missouri as partially shown here.

In issue 49 of Casefile Clues, we'll discuss the additional records that were located after this patent.

And we'll have a complete citation for the patent. Issue 49 has quite a few citations--but they enhance the discussion and don't take away from it. If you're not citing your own research, how do you know where you obtained anything?

Subscribe to Casefile Clues before 49 is distributed and get on the subscriber list.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Civil War Pension of Frederick Price

This is the pension payment card for the Civil War pension of Frederick Price (my post here tells how to search these cards which are online for free).

Frederick is the brother-in-law of Ira/William Sargent--my real focus.

Civil War pensions can contain all sorts of extraneous information, so I requested my researcher copy the papers (or at least go through them).

Slight problem--there are over 300 pages of documents. This is high since there is not even a widow's application.

In an upcoming column, we'll see what pages were chosen and why. I'm hoping it may reveal something about his wife Lucretia Sargent, but at this point I am not certain.

This is an UNUSUAL file as we will see. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Friends Discount Ends Today

Today is the last day of our friends discount--where you get Casefile Clues for 52 issues for $16 and your friend can get their subscription extended by one month.

But even if you don't have a friend/sponsor, you can still subscribe at the $16 rate today.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Many Days of Service and Were Sundays Common?

Issue 49 of Casefile Clues analyzes (in part) the War of 1812 pension file of Levi Rhodes who served from Hawkins County, Tennessee.

A secondary source in the file indicates his service was from 13 November 1814 until 2 June 1815. The file indicates this was 202 days of service. The website Wolfram Alpha indicates it was 201 days--maybe they are not counting the "start" day and the "end" date--but that's just a guess right now.

View what Wolfram Alpha has to say about the date range here:

It indicates Rhodes enlisted on a Sunday. Am wondering if that was typical?

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and see the pension analysis when the issue is completed. Those who subscribe before 49 goes out will have their subscription start with issue 48.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Germantown, TN for theTennessee Genealogical Society 16 October 2010

I will be the featured speaker at the Tennessee Genealogical Society's seminar on 16 October 2010 in Germantown, Tennessee. The following topics will be presented:

  • Organization of Information: Seeing the Patterns
  • Notetaking, Abstracting, and Extracting
  • Brick Walls From A to Z
  • Pre-1850 Census Records: Analyzing and Reconstructing Family Structure
More information is available on the Society's website at
Wish I had a little time to research my wife's Tennessee family while there, but that probably won't happen.

New Proofreader

We have a new proofreader and will be making an announcement later today. Thanks to all those who expressed an interest. It is greatly appreciated and your support of the newsletter really helps.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Subscribing and Need Back Issues?

Need back issues of Casefile Clues?

This page has a list of topics and general back issue ordering instructions:

If you need a slightly different set of back issues, email me at and I'll set something up.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Reader Quote

This is part of an email that one subscriber sent to her friends:

"I’ve been a subscriber to Case File Clues for almost a year and have found the weekly newsletter to be extremely helpful because it describes actual research cases and their results. It’s the most useful “how to” resource I’ve found."

Thanks Blanche W. for the kind words.

Back Issues Sent, Orders Sent

Requests for missing issues, accidentally deleted issues, back issues, etc. have all been sent.

If you ordered back issues recently and have not received them, please let me know.

If you subscribed on the July 4th special ($17.76) and haven't received those issues, email me at

If you subscribed under the friends discount (running through the 9th) and haven't received a response, email me. If your friend gave your name in the comments box when they subscribed on the discount and you didn't get notified, let me know.

Thanks and Happy 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our Email Address

Your issue of Casefile Clues may be sent from either or

Please make certain you have both addresses on your "allowed" lists. I respond to either email address, but often catch things faster on the address.


4th of July Discount Mentioned on Geneamusings

Randy Seaver gave a nice "shoutout" to Casefile Clues and our July4th discount on his blog yesterday. Check it out.

Issue 48--Out to email subscribers

Issue 48 on migration chains and links has been sent to subscribers. If you did not get your copy, please let me know. Additional suggestions can be posted as comments here or can be posted as a response to this post on our Facebook Fans Page.

Friday, July 2, 2010

"positive" 1930 census search story

A journalist contact is looking for a story (discovered within the last year) of a "positive" discovery made from the 1930 census.

Does anyone have any such situation, either personally or via a client?
Please reply off list.

A little bit about Casefile Clues

We've got some new fans, followers, and subscribers, so I'm reposting this about the newsletter.

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.
And no advertising---so remember to spread the news. We run on a shoestring budget.

And no agenda--because there are no advertisers to irritate, I can say whatever I want. I'm usually not controversial because it is about the research. But if I use something or mention it, it is because I actually use it.

And if really want to help---consider having Michael present at your seminar or workshop. Handouts and "overheads" are regularly updated, often with newsletter examples, and I've been called "engaging," "entertaining," and "informative." I know you're not going to remember every word I say, so I keep that in mind when presenting. The goal of my presentations is to motivate you by the use of examples to get out there and get researching and to write and analyze in the process.

If you took our $17.76 subscription offer...

If you took me up on the offer to get a year of Casefile Clues, starting with issue 48 (with issues 41-47 thrown in) for $17.76, you can purchase back issues here:

Back Issues of Casefile Clues:

The $17.76 offer is good through the end of July 4th if that somehow missed your radar screen.

Issue 48-wrapping up a migration issue

Issue 48 is in the final stages and it's a little bit different. To make it easier on me and the proofreader, it's a general methodology piece on locating personalized migration trails of relatives, particularly ones who cannot be found.

I've long been a big fan of chains of migration and the fact that not everyone took the same past across the country. I know that it's interesting to know how immigrants got across the country after landing, but if they went right from the port of arrival to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, or wherever, if they took the train or ship didn't interest me THAT much.

What I was more interested in was:
  • why they settled where they did
  • who came before them
  • who came after them
Knowledge of the mode of transportation was interesting, but these were/are questions that always were more interesting and more helpful to me from a genealogical standpoint.

And these questions are just as applicable to migrants from upstate New York to northern Illinois and into southern Iowa as they are for Germans to central Illinois.

And, as regular readers of Casefile Clues know, I've got some migrants with some interesting paths of migration that I'm still working on figuring out. Hopefully I'll have updates on these in future issues of Casefile Clues.

In the meantime, issue 48 has some ways to work on these things and these are approaches that we've tried before in the newsletter (at least some of them) and we'll be using more of them in upcoming issues.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

1900 era letter from the Philip Troutfetter in the depths of Columbia

Regular Casefile Clues readers may remember an earlier column about Philip Troutfetter based upon information on him contained in the Bristow Collection of the Kansas State Historical Society. He had quite a life.

The collection contains a letter he wrote (under an alias) from the Columbian jungle in 1900 to a friend back in Havana, Cuba. A regular reader of Casefile Clues sent me a copy of the letter, which briefly describes his adventures, somewhat under the shroud of secrecy.

Troutfetter mentions arriving in Baranquilla, Columbia and then heading inland. We'll post some information about the letter on the blog later. Down the road we'll have an update on Philip--subscribe now and get in on the fun.