Monday, February 28, 2011

Missing Issues

If your request for back or missing issues has gone unanswered, please let me know and I'll take care of it. I'm playing catchup from my travels and I think for some reason a request or two snuck past me.

Thanks.

Michael

If You Have to Do it Yourself...

Let's face it--most genealogists have to do the bulk of their genealogical research themselves. They may occasionally pay someone to look up a record or make a copy of a document, but they simply cannot afford to hand someone the papers they have, and say "send me bills as you go" and tell me what you find out.

That's where Casefile Clues comes in. We try and give researchers the tools to find the answers to their own problems by showing problem-solving approaches and discussing records. Casefile Clues usually focuses on ancestors that have given us problems as well..

You won't be researching the same ancestors as we are here at Casefile Clues and your people probably didn't live in the same areas either. That's not the point. We try and discuss the process and the analysis that lead us to do what we did. We don't skirt over the details of how the research was done and hope that by clearly explaining our process you will see ways you can continue work on your own research as well. We are not an academic journal and we don't write in fancy schmancy prose, but we do try to explain the process clearly and adequately.

I've long believed that some of the genealogical journals do not explain the process as well as they could. Focus is on the finished product, and while that's fine, genealogy research is like the study of math--in my opinion. Students learn best not by only seeing the problem worked out the "right way," but by seeing how that "right way" was arrived at and what the process was. So in Casefile Clues we show you that "struggle" and process as well. Some writers and genealogists believe that it's not needed, but most conversations I have with genealogists indicate that it is.

I'm also working on a genealogical research "model" for an upcoming issue of the newsletter as well. We don't like to be overly theoretical at Casefile Clues, but sometimes just thinking about "how" we research helps us to see where to go when we really are stuck.

Genealogists without  unlimited professional advice have ancestors who "disappear out of nowhere," "appear to have been dropped by UFOs," and fail to be in census records. We have them here at Casefile Clues, too. And we'll continue to write about our attempts to find them--even when those attempts are not successful.

We're not looking for famous ancestors or relatives--the ones we have are a challenge enough!

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Issue 25 is out

Check your inbox for a genealogical potpourri.

If you're not on the subscriber list, subscribe today and I'll start your subscription off with issue 25!

Issue 25-Potpourri--Being Wrapped Up

Issue 25 is slated to go out late tonight or early Monday morning. It is a compilation of several approaches I have had to use in the last few weeks to iron a few details out. Nothing too intense and the ideas are quick reads in issue 25. We'll return to more lengthy analysis in issue 26--stay tuned!

Subscribe now and have issue 25 be your first issue.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Headed to Utah

I'm leaving for Utah later today to present at the Family History Expo in St. George. I'll have intermittent internet access, so if you don't get a quick response that's why.

Issue 25 is in the works. Subscribe now and I'll start your subscription off with issue 24.

Back Issue Discounts Going Away

I've left the back issue discounts linger a little longer than I originally intended, but they'll go away by the weekend--so if you've been waiting now's your chance.
  • Year 1
  • issues 1-24 of year 2--email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com for the PayPal link

Monday, February 21, 2011

Preparing for Salt Lake

I'm continuing to prepare for my annual group trip to Salt Lake City. As a part of planning for my own research, I do the following:
  • Organize the material I have at home so that loose ends that don't require "Salt Lake" material can be dealt with before I get to Utah. It is a waste of time to do work in Salt Lake that I could have done at home.
  • Search the FamilySearch website (http://www.familysearch.org/) for information that has already been put online. 99% of what I need is not on the website, but it still never hurts to search. There are quite a few indexes online that do not link to images. Obtaining actual copies of those records are high on my list.
  • The FHL has Illinois death certificates on microfilm from 1916 until the 1940s. They are not online, but the index is. I'm continuing to search that index and adding to my list of certificates to copy. It is cheaper to get them in Salt Lake.
  • I'm taking a few forgeign language items that I'd like to have looked at by someone who is familiar with the language and the handwriting.
Consider joining us this May for a week of research and discovery. There's a discount rate on trip registration that you can still take advantage of today--even though the post says it has expired.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Derivative Citizenship

We will be looking at derivative citizenship in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. This impacts children throughout much of American history and women before their citizenship status was separated from that of their husbands.

The image in this blog post is from a 1920 census entry in Chicago, showing a New York native who is indicated as an alien. This female married a Greek native and consequently lost her citizenship.

Derivative citizenship explains why individuals can appear to have been naturalized and yet have no papers. It also explains why women were aliens and yet born in the United States as the image above shows.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and join the discovery.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Issue 24 is out.

Issue 24 has been distributed. Email me at casefileclues@gmail.com if you have not received your copy.

Year 1 Issue Topics

Year 1 can be purchased as a complete set for $17
Here are Casefile Clues Topics from Year 1 (in reverse order):

  • 52--Benjamin Butler in 1880 and 1870--correlating an 1880 and 1870 census enumeration when the head of household has a different first name
  • 51--Clarifying Clara--a widow's War of 1812 Bounty Land application
  • 50--Special Examiner's Report--Discussion of testimony taken by a Special Examiner in a Union Civil War Pension File
  • 49--Levi Rhodes' War of 1812 Pension--A discussion and and an analysis of a War of 1812 pension issued in 1871.
  • 48--Determining Your Own Chain of Migration--Ways to determine the unique migration chain that your ancestor took
  • 47--Finding the Ellen--Finding someone in an 1870 census when she's a child and I don't have the names of the parents. Discusses proximity searches, eliminating false matches, etc.
  • 46--Ira Located--the correct marriage record for Ira Sargent was located. This issue includes the image and a complete transcription, an analysis, additional searches that were conducted, and where to go next.
  • 45--Organizing My Search for Ira--discusses brainstorming to locate the parents of Ira Sargent, how and why records were prioritized, and how records would be searched.
  • 44--Philip Troutfetter in the Special Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society--fraud, postal investigations, and abandoned wives--all from one relative.
  • 43--Unacquiring Property--ways your ancestor might have "disposed" of his real estate.
  • 42--Multiple Johns--two brothers with the exact same name--apparently.
  • 41--Brick Walls from A to Z--the title says it all--ideas for breaking those brick walls
  • 40--Finding John--analysis, including charts and maps, in an attempt to find a missing 1870 census enumeration.
  • 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--thoughts on organizing online census searches.
  • 19--Public Sale--Analyzing an old sale bill.
  • 18--Analyzing the Biography--Charting and Organizing what You Know Using a 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.

WDYTYA

The television series "Who Do You Think You Are" on NBC has generated quite a bit interest in genealogy. The criticism is that it makes genealogy look too easy. The other side of the coin is that it interests people in genealogy and that the masses don't want all the details. Both aspects of this are true.

We are trying to bridge both sides of this coin at Casefile Clues. We know genealogy is interesting and we try and show that. We also know that sometimes it is not easy. We try and show that as well as yours truly is a big believer in realism.

If "Who Do You Think You Are" has gotten you interested in genealogy and you'd like to see a sample of Casefile Clues, send an email to samples@casefileclues.com for samples and more information. We don't try and make genealogy look easy, but we don't always try and make it super difficult either. And we like to enjoy the discovery along the way.

It is also my personal opinion that most how-to books are too basic and repeat information that's readily available elsewhere. We don't copy and paste how-to information into Casefile Clues articles and we don't gloss over the "boring details" either. So if the TV show has whet your appetite, consider giving us a try. We're not your typical genealogy newsletter. We try and be a genealogy how-to-letter. We'll leave the genealogy news to others .

Update on John Fecht

This newspaper account of the location of John Fecht's body was located recently in a digital collection of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois newspapers. An article in volume 1 of Casefile Clues (issue 21) discussed John Fecht and court action related to his inheritance which is briefly referred to in this newspaper account of his death.

Readers may remember that the court case was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court where a decision was made in Fecht's favor.

Newspapers do not always get everything right. Upon quickly reading this clipping, I noticed that it indicated John had two brothers. There was only one brother--Harm. Court documents related to John's real estate dealings and his estate settlement make that fairly clear. The actual inquest into John's death was discussed in issue 21 of Volume 1 of Casefile Clues and indicates that John had been drinking and was laying on the tracks at the time of his death.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Naturalized by my Step-father

Early in Volume 1, we discussed the daughters of an ancestor by his third wife. This wife immigrated to the United States in the early 1880s and had married again.

The wife had become naturalized via her marriage to the man she married in the United States. I was not certain about the daughter's citizenship status. While wrapping up citations for another article, I came across a reference that likely explained what happened. It discusses a case where the mother's marriage to an American citizen after the natural father's death naturalized the children.



Down the road we'll be doing an update on Gesche Fecht Weerts Grass Heyen. She was my 3rd great-grandfather's third wife and the husband who ended up naturalizing her daughter was her third husband.

Subscribe now and join the fun.

Census Search Special

Three issues in particular from year 1 focused on organizing census research. These issues discussed the 1870 census in particular, but the analysis applies to just about any census 1850 and after.

  • 40--Finding John--analysis, including charts and maps, in an attempt to find a missing 1870 census enumeration.
  • 20--Organizing 1870 Census Search--thoughts on organizing online census searches.
  • 47--Finding the Ellen--Finding someone in an 1870 census when she's a child and I don't have the names of the parents. Discusses proximity searches, eliminating false matches, etc.
These three issues can be purchased separately for just $2

And if you've already purchased these and want the rest of year 1, this link will process that payment.

Casefile Clues Specials--March 2011

For those who downloaded our new samples, we're offering the following discounted rates on Casefile Clues through 11 PM on 15 March 2011:
A PayPal account is not necessary--simply process credit/debit card payment as a guest. Email Michael at casefileclues@gmail.com with questions regarding order processing. 

Here are Casefile Clues Topics from Year 1 (in reverse order):

  • 52--Benjamin Butler in 1880 and 1870--correlating an 1880 and 1870 census enumeration when the head of household has a different first name
  • 51--Clarifying Clara--a widow's War of 1812 Bounty Land application
  • 50--Special Examiner's Report--Discussion of testimony taken by a Special Examiner in a Union Civil War Pension File
  • 49--Levi Rhodes' War of 1812 Pension--A discussion and and an analysis of a War of 1812 pension issued in 1871.
  • 48--Determining Your Own Chain of Migration--Ways to determine the unique migration chain that your ancestor took
  • 47--Finding the Ellen--Finding someone in an 1870 census when she's a child and I don't have the names of the parents. Discusses proximity searches, eliminating false matches, etc.
  • 46--Ira Located--the correct marriage record for Ira Sargent was located. This issue includes the image and a complete transcription, an analysis, additional searches that were conducted, and where to go next.
  • 45--Organizing My Search for Ira--discusses brainstorming to locate the parents of Ira Sargent, how and why records were prioritized, and how records would be searched.
  • 44--Philip Troutfetter in the Special Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society--fraud, postal investigations, and abandoned wives--all from one relative.
  • 43--Unacquiring Property--ways your ancestor might have "disposed" of his real estate.
  • 42--Multiple Johns--two brothers with the exact same name--apparently.
  • 41--Brick Walls from A to Z--the title says it all--ideas for breaking those brick walls
  • 40--Finding John--analysis, including charts and maps, in an attempt to find a missing 1870 census enumeration.
  • 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--thoughts on organizing online census searches.
  • 19--Public Sale--Analyzing an old sale bill.
  • 18--Analyzing the Biography--Charting and Organizing what You Know Using a 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.

Topics from the first 26 issues of year 2 are:
  • Volume 2-Number 1--Problem-Solving--a variety of techniques for breaking through those brick walls.
  • Volume 2-Number 2--A 1907 Committal--An insanity record.
  • Volume 2-Number 3--A 1921 Divorce--looking at a 1921 era divorce from Chicago
  • Volume 2-Number 4--Leaving John's Hands: Documenting Post-Death Land Transfers
  • Volume 2-Number 5--The Acquisition of John Michael Trautvetter's 228 Acres
  • Volume 2-Number 6--The Original Versus the Record Copy
  • Volume 2-Number 7--Multiple Marriage Mayhem:
    Starting the Search for Emma (Sargent) Pollard Ross Oades Pollard Snavly Olenbaugh
  • Volume 2-Number 8--A Handful of Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Volume 2-Number 9--Two-Thirds of an Acre from Uncle John: A Partition Suit Proves a Sibling Relationship
  • Volume 2-Number 10--A Minimal Estate Gives Some Direction: The 1886-1888 Probate of Benjamin Butler
  • Volume 2-Number 11--Signing What We Could Not Read--immigrants unable to read English sign a 1870 era document that is incorrect and a lawsuit results.
  • Volume 2-Number 12--Dad Raised my Daughter--A newspaper account of a court case in the 1880s discusses an early 1870 out-of-wedlock birth.
  • Volume 2-Number 13--Using the 1860 Census to Formulate a Passenger List Search Strategy
  • Volume 2-Number 14--Search Strategy for Benjmamin Butler in pre-1870 Census Records--this looks at ways to find the missing 1850 and 1860 census enumerations for man who "appears" in Iowa in 1870.
  • Volume 2-Number 15--Pre-1850 Census--analyzing 1810-1840 census entries for Thomas Chaney in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
  • Volume 2-Number 16--Names in the Probate--analyzing various names in a probate settlement from 1903. Nicknames and diminutives were part of the problem.
  • Volume 2-Number 17--Bridging a Twenty-Year Census Gap-1870 to 1860. Showing that an 1870 Iowa, 1880 Missouri, and an 1850 Michigan enumeration are for the same man.
  • Volume 2-Number 18--Four Passports and a Foreign Death: George Washington Drollette. Analyzes four early 20th century passports and a US State Department death report from 1933.
  • Volume 2-Number 19--Diplomatic Employment Applications. Analyzes and summaries letters of support for employment with the US State Department between 1901-1906.
  • Volume 2-Number 20--Just One Wife Who Shaves Her Age. Records hinted that a man might have had more than one wife. Despite age discrepancies and first name variations, we've likely proven that there was just one wife.
  • Volume 2-Number 21--1930 Census: Primary, Secondary, Original, Derivative, Direct and Indirect. You'll never look at a census entry the same way again-also shows how in this case, New York became Kentucky
  • Volume 2-Number 22--Finding the Biegers in 1850. Organizing our search and our negative search results in an attempt to find a German immigrant living in Cincinnati in 1850.
  • Volume 2-Number 23--Separating Two George Butlers--working on two men born in Michigan in the same year with a father of the same name.
  • Volume 2-Number 24-A Minor Naturalization
  • Volume 2-Number 25-Genealogical Potpourri
  • Volume 2-Number 26-Starting the 1860 Search for Benjamin Butler

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ira Sargent Special

After twenty-five years, the parents of Ira were located. The "Ira Sargent" series of Casefile Clues articles can be purchased for $3.50. Ira was likely born in Ontario in the 1840s and lived in Illlinois, Iowa, and Missouri until his death in 1916. These articles discuss how his parents were located and how Ira was tracked. Ira's father died in approximately 1847 and his mother married again in 1849 and died in the early 1850s. Locating Ira's parents was not as easy task.

  • Volume 2-Number 2--A 1907 Committal--An insanity record--this also discusses Ira Sargent.
  • Volume 1-Number 46--Ira Located--the correct marriage record for Ira Sargent was located. This issue includes the image and a complete transcription, an analysis, additional searches that were conducted, and where to go next.
  • Volume 1-Number 45--Organizing My Search for Ira--discusses brainstorming to locate the parents of Ira Sargent, how and why records were prioritized, and how records would be searched.
  • Volume 1-Number 10--Connecting the Iras. Working to determine if two men of the same name are the same man.
  • Volume 1-Number 07--Looking for Ira's Lucretia. Working on my "brick wall" Ira through his sister Lucretia. mid-to-late nineteenth century work.
  • Volume 1-Number 04--Multiple Parents
Those later decide to purchase the balance of year 1 issues can do so here for $16.50.

A Minor Naturalization

The next issue of Casefile Clues looks at a minor naturalization from 1888. In some locations minor naturalizations were kept separate from others. We'll discuss the minor naturalization process, what the qualifications generally were, and the interpretation and analysis of these records. As with most things, understanding the purpose and procedure helps with the interpretation.
Even if you don't have ancestors or relatives who would have naturalized during this period, we'll be doing a complete analysis of every detail in the record--something that should be done with every record one is able to locate. 

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Subscriber Prizes-3 Months of Ancestry.com or Evidence Explained

Everyone whose on the subscriber list for Casefile Clues as of 6 PM Central Standard Time 16 February 2011 will be entered in a drawing to win one of two prizes:
  • 3 months of Ancestry.com-World Edition!
  • A copy of the new edition of Evidence Explained
 First winner gets their choice--second gets the other prize. If you win and have them both, you can designate someone to get your prize--they don't have to be a subscriber.

If you aren't a subscriber--subscriptions can be processed through the link on this page.

Is Your Subscription Current?

If you don't know when your Casefile Clues expires, email me at casefileclues@gmail.com and I'll look. Please don't expect an immediate response though.You can process a renewal-extension through the link in the email that comes with every issue.

Not As Easy to Read as It Seems


This is the manifest entry for the individual whose naturalization we look at in the next issue of Casefile Clues.
He was not as easy to find as one might think. The entry is correct, but the indexer did not transcribe the last name the way the person who wrote it intended.
Fortunately for me, www.castlegarden.org transcribed it "right." The only problem was that their site appended a period to the end of the surname.

Subscribe now and see what it says.

Issue 24-A Minor Naturalization

Issue 24 of Casefile Clues will look at a minor naturalization from 1888. Naturalizations before the reform of 1906 may seem like they are uninformative, but will see how much detail we can elicit from this document and what those details mean.

Subscribe and get in on the discovery.

One Day Discount on Allen County Public Library Trip-Tuesday 15 February Only

Yesterday we had a one-day discount rate on my Family History Library Research Trip to Salt Lake, today we're offering a similar discount on my August 2011 Allen County Public Library Trip.

Register today and save $25 on the registration fee.

There is more information on the trip here.

Come BACK to this page to use this link to pay the discounted registration rate of $100. Transportation and lodging not included.

Questions? Email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Research Process--Michael's Paradigm

I've been thinking a lot about supposed new research paradigms. I'm not all that convinced that most aspects of genealogical research are really different in today's age. Sure we have access to more information than before and we have indexes that did not exist fifteen or twenty years ago. The difference, as I see it, is access. If we want to improve researcher's abilities, we need to give them the skills to sort, analyze, and interpret the vast amounts of information they have at their fingertips.

I've also been looking at the "Research Process Map" as given in Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained. I'm not certain that it represents how I do research, although the categorization of sources and "information" I find helpful. It seems to me that the word "information" is somewhat vague and perhaps too broad.

We'll be discussing a draft of my "research process map" in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. And we'll be encouraging discussion from readers. Subscribe now and join the "fun."

One Day Discount Rate on Family History Library Trip

For today only (14 February 2011), register for my Salt Lake Family History Library trip at a rate of $150. This includes private website to assist with pre-trip planning, help with problems via email/web before trip begins, consultations during time in library, morning presentations and on-the-fly help while we are at the library. Trip details are here--return to THIS page for discount links. Discount payment codes are not on our other web pages. Email Michael at mjnrootdig@gmail.com with questions.

We've even waived the usual surcharge for credit card processing:
Lodging and transportation are separate. We stay at the Plaza--next door to library and have a discounted rate. This absolutely ends today! After that, the normal registration is in effect.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Year 2 Issues 1-31Topics and Ordering

Issues 1-31 of Casefile Clues can be purchased. for $9.00
Topics from the first 31 issues of year 2 are:
  • Volume 2-Number 1--Problem-Solving--a variety of techniques for breaking through those brick walls.
  • Volume 2-Number 2--A 1907 Committal--An insanity record.
  • Volume 2-Number 3--A 1921 Divorce--looking at a 1921 era divorce from Chicago
  • Volume 2-Number 4--Leaving John's Hands: Documenting Post-Death Land Transfers
  • Volume 2-Number 5--The Acquisition of John Michael Trautvetter's 228 Acres
  • Volume 2-Number 6--The Original Versus the Record Copy
  • Volume 2-Number 7--Multiple Marriage Mayhem:
    Starting the Search for Emma (Sargent) Pollard Ross Oades Pollard Snavly Olenbaugh
  • Volume 2-Number 8--A Handful of Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Volume 2-Number 9--Two-Thirds of an Acre from Uncle John: A Partition Suit Proves a Sibling Relationship
  • Volume 2-Number 10--A Minimal Estate Gives Some Direction: The 1886-1888 Probate of Benjamin Butler
  • Volume 2-Number 11--Signing What We Could Not Read--immigrants unable to read English sign a 1870 era document that is incorrect and a lawsuit results.
  • Volume 2-Number 12--Dad Raised my Daughter--A newspaper account of a court case in the 1880s discusses an early 1870 out-of-wedlock birth.
  • Volume 2-Number 13--Using the 1860 Census to Formulate a Passenger List Search Strategy
  • Volume 2-Number 14--Search Strategy for Benjmamin Butler in pre-1870 Census Records--this looks at ways to find the missing 1850 and 1860 census enumerations for man who "appears" in Iowa in 1870.
  • Volume 2-Number 15--Pre-1850 Census--analyzing 1810-1840 census entries for Thomas Chaney in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
  • Volume 2-Number 16--Names in the Probate--analyzing various names in a probate settlement from 1903. Nicknames and diminutives were part of the problem.
  • Volume 2-Number 17--Bridging a Twenty-Year Census Gap-1870 to 1860. Showing that an 1870 Iowa, 1880 Missouri, and an 1850 Michigan enumeration are for the same man.
  • Volume 2-Number 18--Four Passports and a Foreign Death: George Washington Drollette. Analyzes four early 20th century passports and a US State Department death report from 1933.
  • Volume 2-Number 19--Diplomatic Employment Applications. Analyzes and summaries letters of support for employment with the US State Department between 1901-1906.
  • Volume 2-Number 20--Just One Wife Who Shaves Her Age. Records hinted that a man might have had more than one wife. Despite age discrepancies and first name variations, we've likely proven that there was just one wife.
  • Volume 2-Number 21--1930 Census: Primary, Secondary, Original, Derivative, Direct and Indirect. You'll never look at a census entry the same way again-also shows how in this case, New York became Kentucky
  • Volume 2-Number 22--Finding the Biegers in 1850. Organizing our search and our negative search results in an attempt to find a German immigrant living in Cincinnati in 1850.
  • Volume 2-Number 23--Separating Two George Butlers--working on two men born in Michigan in the same year with a father of the same name.
  • Volume 2-Number 24-A Minor Naturalization
  • Volume 2-Number 25-Genealogical Potpourri
  • Volume 2-Number 26-Organizing my Search for Benjamin Butler in 1860
  • Volume 2-Number 27-An 1849 Cash Land Sale. Discusses typical documents in a federal cash land sale from 1849 in Indiana.
  • Volume 2-Number 28-Analyzing Enoch Tinsley's Family Structure in 1820-1870 Census Records. Discusses creating a family structure from pre-1850 census records and estimating years of birth for the father and mother.
  • Volume 2-Number 29-Finding Hinrich Jacobs Fecht in 1870 and on the Boat. Searching when middle names becomes a problem.
  • Volume 2-Number 30-The Master's Report-Mother Gets Her Part. A nineteenth century assignment of homestead and dower.
  • Volume 2-Number 31-The Parents Sell Ten Acres. A conditional transfer of land between parents and child in 1878.
Orders can be processed securely here.

Returning for a Visit in 1926

This is record of a border crossing for William H. Sartorius that was obtained on Ancestry.com. The last name was not read as Sartorius, but I'm pretty certain it is him.

The destination is key--he's headed to Golden, Illinois, where he was from and where he still had family living. At this point in time, his parents were both deceased.

I'm working on an article on William for a future issue of Casefile Clues--concentrating on his homestead papers and a few other items obtained through the gracious assistance of the Alberta Genealogical Society. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 11, 2011

George W. Butler's Death Certificate

This is part of the actual image of the death certificate for George W. Butler (the Michigan George), which was included in a comment from a reader (thanks!).

The certificate agrees with the transcription on FamilySearch--which was used in issue 23 of Casefile Clues.

What I thought was slightly amusing was that his sex was spelled "Mail. "

Readers will note that the date of birth is 13 June 1848 in Michigan. I'm inclined to think he was actually born in New York, but readers will remember that the real goal of the research on this George was just to distinguish him from another George and make certain that the correct father had been located.

Subscribe today and I'll start you off with issue 23 from Volume 2 which separates out the two Georges.
More discoveries are on the way. Stay tuned.

22 Issues of Casefile Clues for 50 cents

Due to the popularity of our last offer and some fans/followers who missed it, we're offering a new package on back issues of my weekly newsletter Casefile Clues--subscribe now for a year and get issues 1-22 of Volume 2 at no charge. There is more information here. Thanks!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Issue 23 is out

Issue 23 has been sent. If yours is not in your inbox, please email casefileclues@gmail.com to let me know.
Thanks!

Issue 23 A Little Delayed

Hopefully issue 23 is in your inboxes by tomorrow morning. I've been a little delayed with this issue and I like to avoid "finishing" something when it's really only half done. Analysis and "making the case" sometimes takes longer than on expects and I think 23 does a nice job of refuting a competing claim and yet does it in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

Your problems won't be like mine, but hopefully how we tackled this one will give you ideas for your own.

And that's the goal.

Subscribe now and get on the distribution list for the issue on the Georges and the Benjamins---there's still time.

A Derivative Source Provides Secondary Information Used as Direct Evidence

One of the documents used in issue 23 of Casefile Clues is a transcription on FamilySearch from an Iowa death certificate.

It is a derivative source because it is a transcription.
The information we used from it was secondary.
And the evidence was direct.

Those statements are made using definitions as given by Elizabeth Shown Mills in "Evidence Explained." Those definitions serve our purposes well. However, I'm not certain Mills ever really defines "information." Personally I think "fact" or "statement" works a little better.

Making definitions is easy. Creating a road map for how information is analyzed is much more difficult to do. We look at conflicting information in issue 23 and sort out two individuals who aren't as similar as some think they are.

Join the discovery and subscribe to Casefile Clues. Your ancestors are waiting--just make certain you find the right ones.

Frauds and Embezzlements of Cuban Postal Officials

I ran across this reference while searching on Google Books. Casefile Clues readers will remember Philip Troutfetter. He is mentioned here in a 1900 report on Frauds and Embezzlements of Cuban Postal Officials, by J. L. Bristow to the Committee on Relations with Cuba. It was printed by the Government Printing Office in 1900. The image below relates to Troutfetter.



We are working on an update on Troutfetter down the road. So far, we have discussed his homestead records, and a copy of a partial investigation into him by the Post Office (located in an archives in Kansas). He also owned a newspaper in Kansas, was brought up on charges of stealing money from his mother-in-law, and was divorced from his wife around 1900. There's plenty of material for an update. Stay tuned.

Reader Comment on "Grandma's 1930 Census: Primary, Secondary, Original, and Derivative"

This is part of an email I received from a reader a few days ago--it's always great to hear from readers, even if they aren't happy about something. Positive comments are especially nice when I'm behind schedule and need motivation. This is part of an email from DM, a subscriber from the Southwest United States.

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I am a subscriber to your Casefile Clues and am always delighted when they appear in my digital mail box. I have taught family history at [name omitted] for the past six years, beginning, intermediate, and independent studies.

[portion omitted]

When I read “Grandma’s 1930 Census Entry: Primary, Secondary, Original, and Derivative,” I really wished that my intermediate students could read your article. It would be good for them to be exposed to another genealogist’s viewpoint instead of always hearing mine. May I have your permission to distribute a copy the Vol. 2, No. 21 issue of your newsletter to my intermediate class as a handout? Some of them are budding genealogists and it would be good to expose them to your newsletter.
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Thanks for the comments--I really appreciate it. Anyone who would like to request permission to use older articles for classroom instruction can contact me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com.

And new subscribers are always welcome to join us as well.

Issue 23 Off to be Proofed

Issue 23 will be proofed today.

It discusses the George Butler I had been working on and another George Butler who was very easy to confuse with the one I actually wanted. Both were born in Michigan about 1848 to a Benjamin. The problem was there aren't birth records in Michigan during this time period and I needed to establish that the 1850 enumeration I thought was for "my" Benjamin Butler actually was. We make the case for that in this issue of Casefile Clues.

One typically won't write out the analysis the way we do in Casefile Clues, but after putting it all together, I'm more convinced than ever that I have the "right" George. More importantly, the connection I have made between the Iowa Benjamin Butler and the Michigan Benjamin Butler in 1850 seems stronger than before.

That's important as George really isn't my focus--his sister Ellen is. This is a good case where really working on the sibling is hopefully helping me on the actual person I'm stuck on. Ellen "disappears" after the 1880 census in Illinois and I'm still hoping one of these days that a record on a sibling of hers will lead to more information on her.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review of Casefile Clues by Jennifer Holik-Urban

Jennifer Holik-Urban at "Family History Research" did a nice review of Casefile Clues on her blog today. It can be read here. 

Thanks, Jennifer for the positive review! I appreciate it.  

Using Casefile Clues in the Classroom

It can be difficult for genealogy instructors to create everything from scratch--especially if they don't teach a class every time or if it has been a while since they have taught a class.

If there is an issue (or two) of Casefile Clues that you would like to use in your genealogy class, just drop me a line at mjrnootdig@gmail.com and we can discuss it. It probably won't be a problem, but just let me know. And if there are concepts, ideas, etc. that you'd like to see in a future Casefile Clues article based upon a classroom topic, just let me know.

Thanks!

May Drollette Marries in 1941

Regular readers of Casefile Clues will remember May Drollette from articles discussing her husband's passports and her travels back to the United States.
Records on May's apparent sister indicated May had married after George Drollette's death in Saigon in 1933. This marriage certificate, from the U. S. Consular Reports of Marriage (recently released at Ancestry.com), indicates that May married John Oram Sheppard in 1941. He was a subject of Great Britain and she was a US citizen.
We're working on an update on May and this is a great step in that direction. We'll also have a nice, cleaned up citation to these records too.
The image I've used here doesn't do justice to the the actual one at Ancestry.com--it's better than the image I included with this blog post. These records have not been microfilmed and were scanned by Ancestry.com as apart of their agreement with NARA.
Subscribe now and join the discovery.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Correlating Benjamin Butlers

Part of our groundwork for separating the two George Butlers involves analyzing their fathers--both named Benjamin.

In earlier issues of Casefile Clues, we've made the point that an 1850 census enumeration in St. Joseph County, Michigan for a Benjamin Butler is the same Benjamin Butler who appears in 1870 Davis County, Iowa, and 1880 in Vernon County, Missouri. For a variety of reasons, the 1870 and 1880 census enumerations are easy to see as the same family. The 1850 not so much.

An 1860 census enumeration has been found for the "other" George with his "other father Benjamin." We are going to compare this enumeration to our 1850 Michigan enumeration and the 1870/1880 enumerations separately. Why separately? On the off chance the 1850, 1870 and 1880 enumerations really aren't for the same family. Sometimes it is good to set aside conclusions and analyze again, just to be certain.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery. It's still fun, but sometimes it's more complicated than others and the more research is done on this family, the more indirect our analysis has to be.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here a George, There a George, Everywhere a George?

The two George Butlers born in Michigan in 1848--the problem is that both of them also are listed as having a father named Benjamin Butler. The image below compares entries for both men from the FamilySearch site. The George on the left's information comes from the Iowa Deaths and Burials (1850-1990) and the one on the right comes from the Michigan Deaths and Burials (1880-1995).
If they had used their middle initial on each and every document it would have made things easier. But the problem is larger than that.

Middle initials can be wrong and there is always the chance that these entries, which are transcriptions from original sources, are partially wrong.

We'll discuss them in the next issue of Casefile Clues and see how it looks like this "new" George (the one on the right) does not change my initial conclusions about the George on the left.

However, it is important to constantly be on the lookout for new information and to be constantly evaluating the information you have.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Now's the Time to Get Casefile Clues

"Who Do You Think You Are" has increased traffic on our genealogy site. Knowing that the show, while entertaining, only scratches the surface, we're offering a discount on Casefile Clues to encourage those with an interest in family history to get beyond the things that they can find easily and dig deeper. There's a wonderful ,yet challenging, series of discoveries awaiting every family historian.

Because we all know genealogy isn't always easy Casefile Clues helps to give you the methodology tools and explanations to increase your own genealogy skills and accurately extend your family tree. We are not about "genealogy news" or the latest technology. Our focus is research. Learn more about Casefile Clues and what makes it different.

Casefile Clues does not accept advertising, either in the newsletter or on the Casefile Clues website. We have no hidden agenda (other than our subscribers).
Casefile Clues is not copied and pasted generic how-to information and we don't copy articles that others have written. Casefile Clues content is original and fresh. It's real research, real stories, and we readily admit that we don't always know all the answers. And as some of our subscribers can attest---we just can't make some of these stories up.

Subscribe now and grow your research skills and your family tree.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Casefile Clues Issue Numbering

Casefile Clues is delivered to your email inbox as an attached PDF file. To help subscribers keep track of their issues, all issues of Casefile Clues are named in a similar fashion:
  • casefile_clues_x_yy.
X is the volume number and yy is the issue. Some subscribers choose to dump all their issues in one file and the file naming convention makes it easier to see if you've missed an issue. Requests from subscribers for missing issues can always be sent to me at casefileclues@gmail.com. Please let me know what issue you need.

And feel free to join our subscriber list!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Fanaga By Any Other Name Would Weigh As Much

Earlier we wrote about document that had been located on Joshua Sledd who apparently was in New Mexico from the 1860s until the 1890s. One word that could not be read is apparently Fanaga--a Spanish bushel. A reader located a reference to it on Google Books.



The "Confederate claim" indicates that each of Sledd's Fanagas weighed 140 pounds, slightly different from what this reference indicated.



We're working on locating Sledd's court martial from the 1860s and will likely include the "Confederate claim" materials in that article. Those Confederate claims are from National Archives Publication M346.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

How Many Benjamin Butlers Had a Son George Born in Michigan in 1848?

It would seem that there would not be too many individuals fitting this scenario. However research does not often work that way.

  • The George Butler who dies in Wapello County, Iowa in 1912 was apparently born in Michigan in 1848. I don't have direct proof that Benjamin was his father, but indirect evidence indicates George was the son of a Benjamin Butler.
  • There is a George W. Butler who dies in Royal Oak, Michigan in 1904 and was apparently (according to a transcription of his death certificate) born in Michigan in 1848 the son of a Benjamin Butler.
Part of the analysis hinged on a 1850 census entry for a Benjamin Butler in St. Joseph County, Michigan. Earlier I had thought (and outlined the case), that this was the Iowa George Butler and was the Benjamin Butler who was in Davis County, Iowa, in 1870.

Does the location of this George W. Butler who died in Royal Oak in 1904 change things?

Stay tuned or subscribe now and join the discovery.

Genealogy conclusions are always subject to the location of additional information. And situations like this are why it is imperative that we always completely analyze what we have and write up our conclusions so that when new information is located we can more easily incoprorate it into what we've already done.

Remember Casefile Clues includes actual citations in the newsletter--because that's important as well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Issue 22 out

Issue 22 should be in your email. Among other things, it discusses:
  • General research strategies for databases
  • Age estimation
  • Tracking negative searches
That's a broad overview and issue 22 is not a general treatment of any of these topics. As usual Casefile Clues is focused on actual practice. Sometimes we discuss general theory, but this is not one of those times. And we prefer to provide concrete examples from real research.

Subscribe now and I'll start your subscription off with issue 22.

Alberta Canada Homestead Records for William Sartorius

We've mentioned William Sartorius' Alberta homesteads on the blog before.

The Alberta Genealogical Society has made copies of the homestead records and has also located and copied William's will for me as well-they provide a great service to genealogists and have been very gracious.

We will feature the homestead records in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues along with whatever else I can locate on William in the interim. I'm also working on creating appropriate citations for these records. I haven't looked to see if Evidence Explained mentions them specifically, but we'll certainly be able to create an adequate citation for them--remember citation is an art, not a science. Also remember that Mills' book is meant to be read, not only used as a quick reference. Although I know many people use it that way.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Re-evaluating George Butler

Subscribers will remember that part of our 1850 census search for Benjamin Butler hinged on his son George. This George was born 1848-1849 in or near Port Huron, Michigan, and is believed to have lived in southern Iowa after the 1860s. The entire discussion will not be repeated here, but records on George in Iowa indicated he was from Port Huron, Michigan. There is a potential problem with our analysis.

A correspondent indicated that Michigan Deaths and Burials, 1800-1995  (on Family Search) had an entry for a George Butler born in 1848 in Michigan who was also the son of Benjamin Butler. This presented a problem as part of our analysis and conclusion was based upon the likelihood that there not that many George Butlers born about 1848 in Michigan who were the sons of a Benjamin.

The death record of George Butler  in Iowa indicates his father was born in Scotland--which the Benjamin Butler we thought he was the son of was not.


I was glad that I had written up my analysis and research process for Benjamin and George before these things were located. That made it easier to incorporate this "other" George and the birthplace of Scotland into my research.

We'll see in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues how this George impacts my interpretations. It again makes for good commentary on the reliability of secondary sources. This new George does require research and needs to be a part of research conclusions even if the "new" George turns out not to be the one I'm looking for.

Part of the continued analysis centers on how reliable secondary sources are and the fact that not all information will be entirely consistent. We have to make our case using all the evidence and citing sources. Subscribe now and get in on the discovery. This is a situation where things are not immediately clear and where constantly re-evaluating evidence is important.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Joshua Sledd in Mesilla, New Mexico.

In doing some preliminary work on Joshua Sledd of Mesilla, NM, I came across this "Confederate Claim" on Footnote.com. These records come from National Archives Publication M346, "Confederate Papers Relating to Citizen or Business Firms." This record dates from 1862 and indicates Sledd was in Mesilla at that point in time. The National Archives is sending me a price quote on his court martial.

Meanwhile I'm trying to read this document. Sledd is making a claim for 20 "something" of beans, each "something" weighs 140 pounds. Any thoughts?

We'll feature Sledd in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. He's most likely connected with my Sledd family which left Amherst County, Virginia, for Kentucky in the early 1800s.