Sunday, October 31, 2010

Issue 9-Inheriting with the In-Laws

Issue 9 is being wrapped up for proofing as this blog post runs live.

Thomas dies in 1907 survived by his wife and no children. With no will bequeathing his entire estate to his wife, his siblings and nieces and nephews also are heirs to his real estate. The partition suit filed by his widow against his heirs demonstrates several inheritance concepts.

Not to mention that it also clarifies relationships.

Subscribe now and receive issue 9 when it runs live.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How Is Casefile Clues Different?

When I started distributing Casefile Clues in July of 2009, I had no idea how it would develop. For a variety of reasons that no one really cares about bseides me, it was time to stop writing for someone else and start writing for myself.

From 1989 until 2009, I had written for just about every trade genealogical publication there was. I had numerous articles published, but I had a lot of interesting ideas and content turned down. I also felt that most of the trade magazines were really not giving readers the content and analysis they wanted. There was simply too much fluff.

Editors and managers also told me that no one wanted to read articles written about my ancestors. I was told that  how-to articles based largely on case studies were not wanted by the genealogy public. But I knew that there were already plenty of articles about what was in the 1880 census, etc. I was told that readers did not want to read long articles--"anything over 1,000 words people simply were not going to read. It has to be short." I was also told that what  I wrote sometimes sounded too much like an NGSQ article with too much analysis and that "internet genealogists" simply were not interested in that sort of content. While I know there are researchers who are not interested in "analysis," I know a large number are.

So I started Casefile Clues writing basically for myself. I'd already written over 1,000 articles for others. It has been fun, but there have been challenges along the way.

I don't accept any advertising in the newsletter or on the Casefile Clues website. Other than generating more subscribers (grin), there is no agenda for Casefile Clues, we're not selling anything else on the website. I don't review materials in Casefile Clues and I don't mention sites or databases that I don't personally use. I'm also not one to immediately latch onto the "latest" and "greatest" thing. Because of that, you won't find "news" and "latest developments" mentioned in the newsletter. Personally, I tire of much of the hype and exgaggeration that seems to envelope certain aspects of "online genealogy." You'll never find a copied and pasted press release information in the newsletter or on the website (or the other websites I maintain either). Content, errors and all, is fresh. The newsletter is proofread, but the websites are not. And because I pretty much march to my own beat, the genealogy marketplace usually doesn't invite me to the "behind the scenes" events. And that's fine with me too.

If you know of someone who might enjoy Casefile Clues, I'd appreciate you letting them know about the newsletter. Our rates are low in an attempt to be affordable to just about everyone, but because of that the more subscribers, the better.

If you've read this far, thanks for listening. And now, back to work. As regular readers know, I've got several research projects underway and I need to get back to them.



Get 7 issues for Free (new subscribers)

Subscribe this weekend and I'll include issues 1-7 of Volume 2 for free. Your subscription will start  issue 8 of volume 2. This will be our last offer for a while as I've got two weekends of seminars coming up and there just won't be time.

Subscriptions can be processed here securely.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Renewing, General Type Articles, Etc.

We've been getting a steady stream of renewals which I appreciate. Subscribers can renew via the link in their cover email with the newsletter. That helps cut down on the number of renewals who come through PayPal as new subscriptions. If you have questions about your subscription, please send me an email at

Any feedback on articles can be sent to me as well. Let me know if you like the general articles as a few sneak in. I tend to prefer case study type pieces myself and we will continue to concentrate on those.

Hiring a Researcher

This series hopefully will pick back up by November. It got put off and will take me a little while to get back on track with it. Suggestions for questions you'd like to see answered in this series can be sent to me at The actual case study used will be a Chicago one. That's where I have a problem that needs work and where I can't easily do the research myself.

More Insanity

Ira Sargent's insanity case suggested he had been institutionalized by the same county court before. I'm going to see if the record searcher can find this case for me. The person whose done work for me in Adams County, Illinois, has pretty much worked on an item by item basis for me becaues that's really all I need there. I have other Adams County families besides Ira--several in fact and I don't think I've written about any of them.

Out of Wedlock Baby

There's a relative who had a child out of wedlock in Illinois in the 1870s. I wrote about the child before I was writing Casefile Clues and there's probably enough for an update. There was even a court case regarding the child after the child had reached the age of majority.

pre-1850 Census

I think it's time we revisted analyzing pre-1850 census records in Casefile Clues. This is a good topic and one that is applicable regardless of where your ancestors lived in the United States before the 1850 census.

Tennessee-Kentucky-Missouri Rhodes/Rhodus

I posted images from this family's 1860 census enumeration a while back. This one is too convoluted to describe in a short post, but it looks like a newly married couple was enumerated in the 1860 Missouri and Kentucky census. I'll make the case and let readers decide.

Benjamin Butler's "worthless" 1880 Era Probate

It's been a while since we looked at Benjamin Butler. Records on FamilySearch and the Missouri State Death Index lead me to believe he ended up in southern Missouri. His estate settlement  was a big disappointment, but we'll see what clues can be wrung out of it.

Questions, suggestions, and the like can always be sent to me at or

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Issue 8 Sent

Issue 8 has been sent.

Catching Up

To help catch up, we're going to have several issues in the near future that discuss general problem-solving strategies and organizational approaches. The proofing and editing on those is a little less intense and actually so is the writing. I've got more records we will be discussing/analyzing more families to write up as well.

I appreciate interacting with readers, either via email or in a seminar. I don't have time to always respond to emails, but I do read them. Often they give me ideas for future issues. And discusses with conference attendees also sometimes gives me ideas for articles as well.

If you need to renew, there's a link in your cover email for each issue.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whose the Mother?

I've had this document for years (my great-grandparents' marriage application from 1898) and just now got to thinking about 14--mother of the bride. I thought I knew what it said, but I'm posting it here for anyone who cares to try and read it.
This is also posted on "Genealogy Transcriber" as well for today, but thought since it relates to families I've written about for Casefile Clues, I'd post it here as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

pre-1850 Census Analysis Article

I've been thinking about doing another pre-1850 census analysis article for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. I did one over a year ago, but am thinking that it might be time for another.

This was one of the topics at the recent Tennessee Genealogical Society seminar I gave recently in Memphis and I think there's some additional comments, suggestions and methods I'd like to discuss. One of the concepts I tried to get across was the importance (in my opinion) of analyzing the pre-1850 census information by itself to see what family structure emerged--at least initially. I think it's best to look at this information without bringing in pre-conceived ideas of what you are trying to prove.

If you think another pre-1850 census article is a good idea, either comment to this post or send me an email at


I've been doublechecking that a few Columbus Day subscribers are on the distribution list and this was the response I received from one when asking if she was getting newsletters:

"I am getting your wonderful newsletter Casefile Clues."

Just the sort of pick up a person needs at 8:30 in the morning. Remember that suggestions for the newsletter are always welcomed.

We've got some interesting things planned over the next several months. Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Not Getting Newsletters?

If you are not getting newsletters, please let me know at either or Thanks!

SS5 for Martha Ann Greenstreet

This is the SS5 form for Martha Ann Greenstreet, daughter of the Ira Sargent we've worked on in Casefile Clues. We'll analyze it in a future issue of Casefile Clues.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SS5 for Martha Greenstreet Received

Maybe it was because I submitted the request on her 110th birthday (30 September 2010).

Today I received the "Application for Social Security Account Number" for Martha Ann Greenstreet--daughter of the Ira Sargent we've mentioned in Casefile Clues several times.

This is one of the earlier forms I've received--it is from 1943.

There are no great revelations on it, but Martha indicated her father was William Ira Sargent--good confirmation of his name being William Ira and not just Ira. It also gave the last name of her mother, Ira's second wife. The maiden name was a variation on a maiden name I already had and may help me trace this woman as well.

We'll analyze the SS5 form in a future issue of Casefile Clues. I was just excited to receive it so quickly.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Speaking Schedule for 2011 and 2012

I'm currently booking speaking engagements for 2011 and 2012. If you are looking for a presenter for your seminar, contact me for details and to determine if the date you need is still available. I can provide a list of recent engagements if needed.

Lectures are informative, educational, practical, and entertaining. Most of all they are engaging and I do not simply read the handout. I've lectured in over twenty-five states over the past ten years and in my other life I've taught in the classroom for twenty years. I also do not just stand at the podium. Examples are from actual research--not neat little things I "discovered" that are not tied to any other piece of real research. I hate that. I actively research on a daily basis and that's reflected in my lectures.

While I use a computer display I'm not a big fan of PowerPoint. I think bullets are over-rated and I'm more concerned about getting across content and information than I am letting people know that I can use every bell and whistle on PowerPoint. Images are easy to read and illustrate the points being made in the lecture. When asked questions, I'm not afraid to say "I don't know." When I don't, I offer a suggestion or two on where to find out, or offer to find out myself. I don't give lectures on topics on which I am unfamiliar and if someone asks a question outside my area of expertise I don't just give a "fluff" answer in order to make myself sound smart. I hate that and know that people usually see right through it.

There's always time for questions on the day of the presentation, either between sessions or after.

Contact me for more information at

I always love to meet Casefile Clues readers at seminars and workshops.

Benjamin Butler in 1865

This 1865 Illinois State Census enumeration for a Benjamin Butler in LaSalle County, might be the Benjamin we've been tracking in Michigan, Iowa, and Missouri. There's a reason I think he might be in Illinois in 1865, and we'll see if the enumeration is reasonably close to the family structure that's been developed for Benjamin using census and other records. We'll compare that structure with this enumeration and what is known about Benjamin.

The problem with the 1865 Illinois State Census enumeration is that age categories are all that is listed. 

Moving around seems to be the norm for Benjamin. We'll revisit Benjamin in a future of Casefile Clues, hopefully by the end of November.  We've also found his apparent second marriage on Beta FamilySearch. And that's the one fly in the ointment. His 1864 marriage is several states away. If all these records are him. Subscribe and see how reasonable the case is. We'll also have citations to all the documents used as well.

Comments on Emma Sargent Article

Getting a lot of good feedback on the article on Emma Sargent. This is part of one message:

"I glanced through this and it sure seems the BEST I have seen yet! Looking forward to a thorough read."

I am looking forward to continuing the research on Emma and adding updates in future issues of Casefile Clues as it warrants. I've gotten a few suggestions and hope to incorporate some of those into future issues. 

I'm trying to think of some way to display the information (at least the basic relationships) on Ira Sargent in some web-based format for readers and others to see. Any suggestions are welcome and can either be posted here or emailed to me privately. One requirement is that any method of posting be relatively simple. I don't have time for anything complex and don't want to take away from what time I do have for the newsletter. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Search for Emma Continues

There were some really good comments on the Emma Sargent (born about 1840 in Canada) article that was Volume 2, Issue 7. Readers know Emma lived most of her life in the United States, including:
  • Winnebago County, Illinois
  • Davis County, Iowa
  • Union County, Iowa
  • Lancaster County, Nebraska
  • Lawrence County, Missouri
  • Woodward County, Oklahoma
We still have several gaps in Emma's life so there could be additional areas of residence, but it's not likely she strayed too far from this area. There was a plan in issue 7 for continued research on Emma, considering what is known and what the real purpose of the research is. Briefly our immediate focus is on:
  • Emma's marriages
  • Emma's divorces
  • the 1870 and 1900 census
We'll post updates about Emma in future issues of Casefile Clues as research warrants and if there are lessons for genealogists in general in the research. Subscribe now and get in on the discovery. We'll post brief summaries on the blog as time allows.

I've made contact with a researcher whose husband is a great-grandson of Emma, which is really exciting. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Buying Issues from Year 1

Issues from Year 1 can be purchased here. There's also a list of old topics on this page as well. It is probably best to read them from the beginning instead of in a random order.

If you ordered back issues in the past 3-4 days, they should be going out sometime today or early tomorrow morning. Feel free to order if you are a new subscriber.

Issue 7 of Casefile Clues Sent

Issue 7 has been sent. For now, Emma and her 5 or 6 husbands have been laid to rest--most likely scattered across 4 states. Let me know if you have not received issue 7.

If you subscribe today, I'll start you with issue 7. Otherwise, it's off to issue 8.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Has Your Casefile Clues Expired?

If your subscription to Casefile Clues started in July, August, or September of 2009, it has expired. I haven't removed names from the list, but will starting this weekend.

If you have not renewed, you can do so through this secure PayPal link.

If you do not know when your subscription expires, please send me an email at

If you're not a subscriber, subscriptions can be processed here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Issue 7-Slight Delay

Issue 7 has been slightly delayed in case you were wondering. I'm not buried in more research. My wife's brother passed away yesterday and I've gotten in the habit of working on the newsletter quite a bit on the weekends. I'll keep you posted on when 7 is going out. It'll be this week. Subscriptions processed before distribution will include issue 7 which is an interesting "first look" at a relative with at least 5 husbands (depending upon how you count...)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Married How Many Times

This is part of the 1910 Census record for the Emma Sargent I'm working on for issue 7. I can't tell how many times it indicates she has been married. I copied quite a bit of the image so that other numbers and entries could be seen. It is not a 1 or a 2, and I don't think it is a 3 either. Based upon what I currently know, anything higher than 5 would be accurate.

This enumeration will be in issue 7. I don't always give a great deal of credence to these numbers. In this case, it is difficult to read and might not even be accurate as did they count "repeat" husbands once or twice and if there was a former common-law husband, did he count? I'm not certain. The repeat husband applies in this case and the common-law husband might (or at least a "friend" with whom she reproduced about 1879).

Subscribe now and get in on the fun when issue 7 comes out. We'll have complete citations to all documents and records used.

6 Husbands, 4 States...

I've quit researching (for now) Emma Sargent, born ca. 1840 in Canada. The data collecting has stopped and I'm organizing what I have. I have derivitative sources for 4 marriages and we'll look at that. I have information that hints at two additional marriages or relationships which we'll see as well.

Emma (under one of many names), has been located in the following census records:
  • 1850 US Census--with mother and step-father-in Illinois
  • 1856 Iowa State Census--with first husband
  • 1860 US Census--with first husband-in Missouri
  • 1875 Kansas State Census
  • 1880 US Census--in Iowa
  • 1910 US Census--in Oklahoma
Readers are free to look for her in 1900 and 1870 after the issue has run live. Searching for her requires an understanding of her marriage chronology which I'm not going to post here. Subscribe now and get in on the fun!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Which Kids Are Hers?

The 21 year old Emma Pollard as shown in 1860 in Lawrence County, Missouri. This is the "missing" sister of Ira Sargent who we have discussed earlier in Casefile Clues. Emma apparently got around, both geographically and otherwise. We'll track her through four states, show how the material was analyzed and where we are going next.

She's not the mother of all the children in this census enumeration.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun. I've got to get back to work. 

Regrouping and Organizing on Emma.

Issue 7 will discuss organization and re-grouping on a "newly found" relative. Regular readers are familiar with Ira Sargent. His sister, Emma, has been located thanks to the beta site at In fact, quite a bit was located about her. After a while I had to stop data collecting/gathering and start doing some organization and analysis. That's the intent of issue 7.  Emma was born about 1840, probably in Canada. So far, she is known to have lived in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

There will admittedly be some secondary information used in this issue--we'll talk about that. Part of the point this time is analysis and problem-solving, getting to original sources, determining what's going on behind the scenes (as best we can), etc. Most of our sources used at this point are derivative and we'll discuss that as well.

The hope of course is that something on Emma leads to more details on her parents.

Subscribe now and see how Emma's turning into a mini-series. This family is full of interesting characters.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Renewals--Don't Forget!

Thanks to those who have renewed. I do appreciate it. We are also getting some good comments on the newsletters from some of the people who are renewing. I appreciate those as well.

A renewal link is contained in the cover email with your newsletter. Please use it to renew as it makes it easier for me to track the renewals. If you want to know when your subscription expires, please send me an email at


Others May Come and Go

I've been doing some websurfing, looking at other online newsletters, websites, blogs, etc. My particular focus was how-to material, posted regularly.

Many start, but few continue after the "new" has worn off. There are some newsletters that continue for a period of time, some of which have been publishing for years. Those appear to be in the minority. Even blogs that a few years ago were updated regularly have fewer and fewer posts. That's not always bad as posting for the sake of posting sometimes leads to babbling.

At Casefile Clues, we continue to keep on plugging away. We're not going to stop because we got tired, etc. There are still quite a few ancestors I've researched that I would like to write about and quite a few more that I plan on researching so I can write about. I've also got a few records and sources that I've used that I'd like to write about as well. There's plenty of content stacked on my desk. And usually when I write one article, ideas for at least one more come along during the writing and editing process.

And then there's always ideas from readers.

I've also got a few things on the list based upon having read Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills and the Board for Certification of Genealogists' Stanards manual. There's never a lack of material.

We'd love to have you join us on the journey. Genealogy is about learning and there's quite a bit yet to do.

Re-Use of Issues of Casefile Clues

If readers would like to use previous issues of Casefile Clues for their own society newsletter, please contact me privately for details at There's no charge.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My Other Sites

Some already know about these, but just in case you do not. I maintain two "daily" sites which are both free and both have fan pages on Facebook.


Issue 6 was a larger one than usual

Because of the illustrations (which hopefully were helpful), issue 6 was slightly larger than usual. A few subscribers' emails were bounced back and some might have had their email sent to their spam/bulk mail folder.

If you didn't receive issue 6, please let me know and we'll get it to you. And if you subscribe now, I'll start you off with issue 6 which compares an original deed with the courthouse record copy.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Issue 6 released

Issue 6 has been sent. It is copiously illustrated.

Subscribers who didn't get it, please let me know. Non-subscribers can subscribe here and I'll start you off with issue 6

Subscribe Now and We'll Throw 6 in for free

Issue 6, "The Original versus the Record Copy" will be sent out in the next few days, barring any unexpected delays. Subscribe now and we'll get you on the distribution list in time for it.

Left Hand Corner Says?

This is the bottom half of the "cover sheet" of the 1863 deed that is going to appear in issue 6 of Casefile Clues. The top of this image is about the recording of the deed. The number in the lower right is apparently a document number assigned by the recorder's office. Any thoughts on what the word on the lower left is?

It looks like "Naill RG" but that doesn't mean much to me. Issue 6 will compare the actual deed with the recorded copy in the courthouse.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Deed Stamps from 1863

These are the stamps off the original 1853 deed that we're using as part of issue 6 of Casefile Clues. I think the writing on the stamps is the initials of the man who sold the property, but it is hard to read on the scan. I have the original deed and think that a color photograph might have been better.

Subscribe now and see what's on the whole deed and how it compares to the original.

Wrapping Up Issue 6

Issue 6 is being wrapped up this weekend. If you subscribe now you can get on the distribution list. Issue 6 compares an original deed with the courthouse transcription from the 1860 era. Rather interesting. I'm thinking in future issues, I'd like to compare other handwritten courthouse copies with the original documents. I will have to keep my eyes on Ebay for items that are for sale.

If you've never copied a document by hand it's a worthwhile experience to do so considering how many handwritten "copies" of records genealogists use. Writing issue 6 has been a learning experience for me as well.

Issue 6 will have complete images too!