Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Search Contest Announced 9 a.m. Central Friday

Our newest search contest will be announced at 9 a.m. central time on Friday, 1 April 2011--that's no joke. Our prize will be a year of Casefile Clues--either a new subscription or an extension for those who are already subscribers.

It will be based upon the Henry Fecht family who was discussed in issue 29. If you're seriously into playing the contest, give it a read before tomorrow.

If you're not a subscriber, you can get the Henry Fecht issue for $1 (it focuses on searching for him in passenger lists and the 1870 census. That's about as low as it is practical to sell things via PayPal.

Stay tuned!

Issue 29 is out

Check your inboxes.
Missing issues, etc. email me at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's the Error Here?

In cleaning citations and references for the next issue of Casefile Clues, I noticed two blatant errors in this 1900 census enumeration for my great-great-grandparents. Anyone else spot it? It's got nothing to do with the names.

Subscribe now and join the discovery. Our next issue has nothing to do directly with the errors in this enumeration, but I might never have noticed them if I hadn't been cleaning up my citations.

A Biography With An Obvious Error

This is a part of a biography used in the next issue of Casefile Clues, which discusses an "off" 1870 census entry and clues that were not even obvious at the beginning. There's one error in the biography, but of course any transcription will not correct it in the text. Instead the [sic] should be inserted after the mistake and a comment made elsewhere.

This biography of John M. Habben comes from a county "mug book" published around 1900. We'll have a complete citation and relevant transcription in the next issue of Casefile Clues

Monday, March 28, 2011

Comment on Potpourri Article

A reader had this to say about issue 25--the Potpourri article:

"Want to tell you also that the "Potpourri" in Nr. 25 is extremely helpful and a good reminder even for advanced researchers."

Thanks for the comments! Subscribe today or tomorrow and we'll send you issue 25-28 as complementary issues.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reader Comment

Barb W writes: "Casefile Clues is very well written. I like the step-by-step analysis of the problem and the charts you used in this week's issue to resolve birth years for the individuals. Very easy to follow and understand."

Reminder About What Casefile Clues Is

Someone asked me what makes Casefile Clues different from other genealogy magazines and from the blogs, etc. that are available. Here are a few quick thoughts, partially based on comments I hear from readers and things I keep in mind when I write the newsletter.

Casefile Clues is not about how to use a website. While we use websites to access digital images of records upon occasion, Casefile Clues is not about online database search techniques. We occasionally do discuss general ways to formulate searches of databases but steer away from article after article on how to use various websites.

Casefile Clues is not about news. You  won't find information on the "latest" index that has been released or where the next conference is being held. There are other websites, blogs, etc. that do that.

Casefile Clues is not recycled how-to material. You will not find the same old how-to information that permeates many "how-to" sites and books. Casefile Clues is written up research stories, record analysis, and research suggestions. All of it is based on my own research with focus on process and procedure.

Casefile Clues is detailed. Some problems require more than a 150 or 200 word blog post. We try and provide detailed analysis, written clearly so you can understand and follow the process.

Casefile Clues is delivered weekly to your email inbox as a PDF file at a normal subscription price of $17 a year.

Issue 29-Henry Fecht as Henry Jacobs and Neighbors with Off Names

This is the 1870 census entry for what appears to be Henry Jacobs. As we'll see in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues, his last name was actually left off the census entry. This entry for Henry is actually the Henry Fecht who was the object of one of our Casefile Clues contests earlier.

And there was a nice surprise when I looked at the family next door. It turns out that the next head of household that looks like "Owen Brause" is actually Ubbe Bruns. "Mary Jacobs" from the Henry Jacobs household was a Bruns before she was married.

Stay tuned for a complete update in Casefile Clues. And remember that it's not about the ethnic groups in the article, it is about making our case, understanding the thought process, citing our sources, and seeing where to go next. Subscribe now to get in on the discovery.

Sourcing When Using More than One Document

On my list of topics in the relatively near future is one one "sourcing when using more than one record or source." Regular readers who were subscribing during issue 28 know that I arrived at a range of years for the birth of Enoch Tinsley, based upon all his census enumerations between 1820 and 1870. The pre-1850 census enumerations do not list a specific range of years and the 1850-1870 enumerations, while reasonably consistent, do not pinpoint a specific year either.

I'm thinking how to best source his "birthdate." I cannot tie it to one census record as there's not one census record that gives the range of years I concluded were the ones when he was born. I also do not want to indicate that a census says something when it does not. My use of the 1850 census for Enoch should indicate exactly what that census said--to do anything else would imply the census said something it did not.

I'm thinking I should break my sourcing for Enoch's date and place of birth into two parts:
  • the range of years---and I'm leaning towards having that "source" be my analysis of his 1820-1870 census records
  • the location--using the 1850-1870 census enumeration which all indicate the same state of birth
I know census records have accuracy concerns. However, those records are all that I have. There are no birth records in Kentucky in the 1790-1810 era and Enoch left behind no other records that might provide birth information.

We'll keep you posted.

If you weren't a subscriber when issue 28 came out, consider getting on our subscriber list.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Taking My Wheat-Joshua Sledd

This is part of the "court martial" for Joshua Sledd that was recently received from the National Archives. Instead of paper copies, I requested copies on DVD hoping to get high resolution files as graphic images. The images came as a PDF file from which this image was taken.

We'll have an update on the "court martial" in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Apparently at the same time the Sledd "wheat requisition" case was heard a court martial was heard as well. That's why Sledd's case was  incorrectly indicated as a court martial.

Our update will include citations and other information we've located on Sledd in New Mexico. The Virginia native was in New Mexico by the 1860s.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

How We Found Henry Fecht (the most recent contest)

Our winner located Henry Fecht in the New York City passenger lists by searching those lists  on Ancestry by performing a search on that site for “Hei* Fech*”.I used the same database and located them by performing a search for "Mar*" "Fech*"

Of course, there are other databases besides the one at that one could use. Castle Garden also has a website that has the records as well. 

I searched for "Mar*" instead of the husband as I was not certain whether Henry was listed as Henry, Hinrich, Heinrich, or Hienrich. I figured there were fewer ways to "mess up" the first three letter of Marie than there were to change the letters in Henry's name. Either way, it worked. In this case, having the names of other family members was helpful. 

When I performed my searches I didn't make up a chart as I already had a copy of the manifest--I simply wanted to know how indexed the images. Normally charting out searches is advised. The manifest entry is shown here-it was also included in our initial entry about the contest winner. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Reader Comment On Why She's Behind on Casefile Clues

This unsolitcited note was included with a recent request for a missing issue:

"Thank you for issue #28!  I look forward to reading it.  I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I am behind in reading them.  I will catch up, but it's just that I enjoy them so much and find them so useful, that I prefer to read them when I've got lots of time for thinking and applying the techniques to my research. "

Thanks Marie for the comments. They are especially helpful when I'm trying to get motivated to proofread or review footnotes.

Request a sample of Casefile Clues today by sending an email to or subscribe today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Henry Fecht Contest Over

The family of Henry and Marie Fecht travelled on the Auguste from Bremen to New York, arriving on 15 June 1868. The image above is a screen shot of their manifest entry. We'll have an update on how they were located, but I wanted to make those playing aware that we did have a winner.

#276 on the manifest entry is my great-great-grandmother. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Find Henry and Win a Year of Casefile Clues

Our new contest is based upon Henry J. Fecht.

Henry J. Fecht (born about 1823 in Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany) was married to Marie/Mary Bruns who died in Illinois in the 1870s. The family came to Illinois in the 1860s, settling in Hancock County, where Henry remained for the rest of his life. He died in Elvaston, Illinois, in 1912. He and Mary/Marie had several children, including:
  • Trientje, born about 1857
  • Jann
  • Gerd, born in 1855
  • Anna/Anke born in 1860
  • Nanke born in 1864
  • George born around 1868
George was supposedly born in Illinois--the rest of the children were born in Wiesens, Ostfriesland, Germany.

Henry was married before Marie to Trientje Bruns (sister of Marie) and they had a child Jacob, born in 1848. Henry was married a third time to Antje (Jaspers) Habben in 1877.

How to win the contest:
  • Locate the family of Henry Fecht on a passenger list. You must provide the citation, including name of ship, date and place it landed. I don't need an Evidence style citation, but the source must be pretty clear that you have found them. They can be found
Email your submission to me at ONLY. You may research the family as much as you need to in order to try and win the contest. I know quite a bit more about this family, but there's enough information on this post to locate them.

If you don't want to play in the contest, you can still subscribe the regular way.

Win a Free Year of Casefile Clues

Stay tuned--our new contest announcement will hopefully go live at 6:00 PM tonight. Good luck!

Joshua Sledd Court Case

This item appeared in the 7 March 1885 Rio Grande Republican (Las Cruces, New Mexico) and was located on It indicated that this case, Chaves vs. Sledd etal. was "disposed of" at the Tuesday session of the County Court.

Joshua Sledd had been in New Mexico since the 1860s and we're working on his court martial case for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. This case could potentially involve some property or an estate as several members of the Sledd family are being sued. Going to have to add this to my list for when I'm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake. It may be interesting, but will have to wait.

Just goes to show that newspapers can easily refer one to court records.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Am I A Source for Enoch Tinsley's Birth?

In wrapping up the work for issue 28, which discusses the 1820-1870 census enumerations for Enoch Tinsley in Fleming County, Kentucky, and Rush County, Indiana, I got to wondering if I was the source for Enoch's place of birth.

Of course, I wasn't around when Enoch was born in the very late 1700s. However, the census records are the best thing (outside of his tombstone) that provides his age. Those records were analyzed together to reach a conclusion about when he was born. I just did not use one census record to reach my conclusion about when he was born--consequently I can't just point to one document that "proves" his age. My analysis is important too.

So I'm thinking I need a new "source." My analysis of those records is what I'm actually using to say Enoch was born when I think he was. I'll have to think about that. The write up on Enoch for Casefile Clues contains source citations for each census entry--but one entry by itself isn't my source.

I'll have to think about that.

Joshua Sledd Papers on the Way

The papers on Joshua Sledd's court martial are hopefully enroute. At least the National Archives has billed my credit card. I requested digital copies of the court martial instead of paper copies. We'll post some images from Sledd's court martial as soon as we have them.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goldenstein Investigation and Burial

This clipping is from the 31 July 1931 Rockford [Illinois] Morning Star and contains similar information to what was in the undated clipping that was contained in my Grandmother's papers. Goldenstein's death certificate indicated he was buried in Golden, Illinois.

These two items were submitted for the contest we recently had. JudyS was the winner. Stay posted as we'll be announcing another contest.

Finding Henry Goldenstein--Winner

We have a winner in our finding Henry Goldenstein contest--JudyS. We will have details later.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Win A Year of Casefile Clues

Tell me, with proof, where the person in this post is buried Name of cemetery and town.

The first person to submit the answer (along with a SOURCE) will win a year of Casefile Clues or have their subscription extended for an extra year.

Send your answer to ONLY. Submissions to other email addresses will NOT qualify to win.

First correct answer wins. You agree to have your first name and last initial published on the Casefile Clues blog and the Facebook Fan page.

The Importance of Those Headings

This is the 1820 census for Enoch Tinsley in Fleming County, Kentucky. It's important to copy all those headings as that last tic mark is not "another person." It's actually indicating a person involved in agriculture--which most likely is a reference to Enoch, the oldest male in the household.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Enoch Tinsleys and Software

I'm working on Enoch Tinsley for the next issue of Casefile Clues. We've discussed pre-1850 census records before, but this one is different, partially because he was not as easy to find as the others we've worked on in pre-1850 census records.

Enoch also is in quite a few census records--1820 through 1870. The 1820 census is when he is newly married and he likely is in his early 70s in the 1870 enumeration.

There's been some discussion of genealogical software on various genealogy blogs, websites, etc. We're not going to get into that discussion at Casefile Clues. Partially because it is because Casefile Clues is about the analysis, which I'm not certain software really helps with. Software can track quite a bit, but the analysis needs to come from the person. Software can make a good genealogist better, but a genealogist who had questionable analytical skills is not going to be better because they have software.

What would be really neat is if there were software that could tell me if there were people with the same last name as Enoch's wife's maiden name listed within say fifty names of Enoch. Now that's something I could use.

With that in mind, we're going to analyze Enoch, making certain we have the same man in six census records, discuss how he was located in those records, and what those records have to say about him.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

Are These All The Same Guy?

 Enoch Tinsley appears in every census from 1820 through 1870, in Kentucky and Indiana. The images on this post are his name in each of those entries.
 I can tell you right now that not every one is indexed the same.
 Not every census was recorded in the same state.
 And the reason for the different handwriting should be obvious.
 In the next issue of Casefile Clues, we'll look at Enoch's census entries and see what they tell us about him. We will also analyze how these entries were found.
Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Missing Issue 26?

Apparently a few subscribers are missing issue 26 from year 2. If you are, please email me at and I'll send. Please give me a little time to reply--thanks!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Free Samples, Brick Walls from A to Z, etc.

We've released two new free samples of Casefile Clues. Email to get yours.

We are also sending a free copy of my "Brick Walls from A to Z" to those who are interested. Email to get yours.


Are These From the Same Man?

The above is from an estate settlement in White County, Indiana, in 1861 and appeared in the Daily Genealogy Transcriber in February.

The above image is from an 1849 federal land purchase in Tipton County, Indiana. It was discussed in issue 27 of Casefile Clues.

They are the same man. Do the signatures look the same? Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Issue 27--In Your Email

Issue 27 has been sent.

Ever Wonder What Was In a Federal Cash Entry Land File?

Ever wonder what was in a Federal cash entry land file? The next issue of Casefile Clues will have a complete cash entry land file from Indiana in 1850.

The image here is from the patent, but we'll have the entry file in our next issue.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

1921 Kansas City Murder...

This is a clipping I found in my late grandmother's things. It's undated, but most likely from a newspaper in Quincy, Illinois. Henry Goldenstein was my great-grandmother's brother and this clipping likely is from July or August of 1921. Hopefully sometime late spring we'll have an update on Henry, but there's other things I'm working on first. Stay tuned.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Win A Year of Casefile Clues

I can't find Benjamin Butler in the 1860 census, so I've decided to make locating him a contest for Casefile Clues fans and subscribers--the prize? A year of Casefile Clues. Winners who are not already subscribers will get a yearlong subscription. Current subscribers will have their subscription extended by a year. There will also be the satisfaction of winning!

The first person to submit an entry for a family in the 1860 census for Benjamin Butler will win. However, not just any Benjamin Butler will do. The located entry must be consistent with what is currently known about Benjamin Butler. This blog post contains a list of Benjamin's probable children. Citations and images from Benjamin's 1850, 1870, and 1880 enumerations are included as a part of this post to assist you in playing. To win, a complete citation to the desired entry must be submitted. The decision as to whether or not the entry is at my discretion. Keep in mind that finding a single Benjamin Butler living in say, South Carolina, aged 20 and born in Virginia, is probably not going to win you the contest.

Several issues of Casefile Clues contain information on Benjamin, but there's enough in this post to find him as well. Note: I have not already found Benjamin so I do not know the answer and cannot give any hints. If you are not a subscriber to Casefile Clues, you might want to get the Benjamin Butler Special for $1.75 as it contains analysis and other details on Benjamin.

The Benjamin Butler Search Special includes the following issues of Casefile Clues:

  • Volume 1, Issue 52--Benjamin Butler in 1880 and 1870--correlating an 1880 and 1870 census enumeration when the head of household has a different first name
  • Volume 2-Issue 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-Issue 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-Issue 26--Formulating the 1860 Search for Benjamin Butler
Non-subscribers can purchase the Benjamin Butler issues for $1.75--the located enumerations for Benjamin appear here along with citations. 

1850 Enumeration
1850 U. S. census, St. Clair County, Michigan, population schedule, Port Huron, p. 281 [stamped upper right], dwelling 281, family 281, household of Benjamin Butler; digital image, ( : accessed 15 November 2010); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 362.

1870 Enumeration
1870 U. S. census, Davis County, Iowa, population schedule, Soap Creek Township, p. 8, dwelling 55, family 55, Benjamin Butler household; digital image, ( : accessed 15 June 2010); citing National Archives microfilm number M593, roll 386.

1880 Enumeration
1880 U. S. census, Vernon County, Missouri, population schedule, Drywood Township, enumeration district 222, p. 600C (stamped), dwelling 184, family 187, Wm. Butler household; digital image, ( : accessed 10 July 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 739.

Good luck!
Submissions are accepted until someone wins and can be sent to

Special Casefile Clues Offer Celebrating Genealogy Tip of the Day in the Top 40

We are excited about our sister site, Genealogy Tip of The Day, making the Top 40 Genealogy Blogs of 2011.

To celebrate, we are offering a unique special--all back issues of Casefile Clues (78 issues) and a year-long subscription  for $40.

We had to have something with the number 40 in it.

The Ten Acres

This is part of the will of Mimke Habben from Hancock County, Illinois, in 1877. These two clauses indicate how Mimke's 160 acres are to be disbursed of after his wife's death. These clauses play an indirect role in the will of his widow Antje which was denied probate in 1900.

In an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues will discuss the Habben property and Antje's denied will and also makes some interesting points about life estates and real estate titles.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where is that Burial Location?

This part of the death certificate of Anna Jane Brice who died in 1918 in Caldwell County, Missouri. She's connected to the Brice family I've been working on for an upcoming issue.

The place of burial initially stumped me--I thought it was simply College Grove Cemetery. Spelled incorrectly, and maybe near a former college or something.

Turns out it was Cottage Grove Cemetery and the "t"s simply were not crossed. Every other "t" on the death certificate was crossed except for these two.

We'll see more about Anna and her family in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. This family has several Annas and it is easy to get them confused.

Subscribe now and join the discovery.

Catudal Genealogy's Mention of Casefile Clues

Judy over at Catudal Genealogy gave a nice shoutout to Casefile Clues. Thanks, Judy!

I really appreciate those who help spread the word about Casefile Clues. It does help. Suggestions for article ideas or concepts are always welcomed and can be sent to me at

If you'd like to get Casefile Clues in your inbox--process your subscription here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Brice Heirs Across the Country Named In Final Settlement

This is part of a letter that was in the estate file that was indexed as Anna Harper. This letter states that the individuals named were sent "notice of final settlement" in the Harper estate. The estate settlement was not quite as simple as it appeared to be on the surface and the relationship of the individuals to Harper was not stated.

Notices were sent to:

  • Mary Brice, Germantown, Philadelphia.
  • Sarah Brice, Germantown, Philadelphia
  • James Neill, August, Kansas
  • William Brice, Briceburg, California
  • Mary Brice, Kansas City, Missouri
  • James Brice, San Francisco, California
  • John Brice, Boston, Mass.
  • Jane Neill, West Point.

Jane and James Neill were children of Agnes Harper's sister, Anne Neill. The others' exact relationship I do not know. (Readers who have free time are welcome to search for any of the Brices listed--grin!).

I jumped to the conclusion (incorrectly) that Anna Harper was just a erroneous entry for Anges Harper. It wasn't. The estate papers clarified several things and included several interesting items. They also suggested additional records that I unfortunately did not have time to view while on my short research trip.

We'll have an update on the papers and their interpretation in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For New Subscribers

A few items for new subscribers to Casefile Clues.

1) Issue 26 which just went out was the last issue from January of 2010. I am behind on issues, but am getting out one a week. If you have missed issues or questions please email me at

2) Issues are sent as attached PDF files from one of the following addresses:

3) Issues are all named casefile_clues_x_yy.pdf. "X" is the volume number and yy is the issue number. Some subscribers save their issues in one folder and this makes it easier for everyone to know what issues they have. 

4) Back issues from Year 1 can be ordered here (as well as viewing a list of topics)

5) Back issues from Year 2 can be ordered here (as well as viewing a list of topics)

6) Updates regarding newsletter releases are always posted here as soon as the last batch has been emailed. We also post updates on our Facebook Fan Page when an issue has been emailed. Please check first before asking about your copy--there's a chance it simply has not been emailed yet. 

7) We greatly appreciate those who let others know about Casefile Clues. Casefile Clues does not advertise and word of mouth greatly helps. 

8) Casefile Clues does not accept any advertising on the website, on the blog, or in the newsletter itself. 

Estate Index Entry for Anna Harper

The obituary for Anna Harper was mentioned in an earlier blog post. Her sister married my uncle in Ireland and I am hoping that something on her helps my own Irish research.

The estate index for Hancock County, Illinois, indicates there is a probate for Anna and that Jane Neil[sic] was the administrator of the estate. There is no indication in the index of a will, which is good. Anna Harper's obituary indicates she had no surviving children, so it is hoped this estate settlement mentions relatives, hopefully some in Ireland.

Subscribe to Casefile Clues and join the discovery.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Issue 26

Issue 26 from Volume 2 has been mailed.  If you should have it and don't, please let me know.

If you aren't a subscriber, consider getting your name on the list now. Do so tonight and I'll start your subscription off with issue 26--formulating a search for Benjamin Butler in 1860.

Issue 26 is the Last January 2011 Issue

If you originally subscribed to Casefile Clues in January of 2010, issue 26 (rolling out in the next twenty-four hours or so), will be your last issue if you have not renewed your subscription.

Each issue of Casefile Clues contains a renewal link in the cover email easily allowing you to renew your subscription. If you have questions about when your subscription expires, please email us at

Wrapping Up How To Search For Benjamin Butler in 1860

I'm wrapping up the next issue of Casefile Clues--formulating my search for Benjamin Butler in 1860. This is a prime example of where just typing his name in a box is not going to do the trick. The next issue of Casefile Clues discusses how the search was formulated and constructed. Most of the analysis was done OFFLINE, so that time could be spent thinking about how to search and not immediately trying things out without keeping track of what was done.

Subscribe now and see how it was done--but no guarantees about whether he was found or not!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Potential Clue to My Irish Families

My Irish lines have given me troubles ever since I began researching. I recently located an obituary which may give me a few more leads from which to work. 

A search of online newspapers at the Quincy, Illinois, library website located this reference which mentions a first cousin (Janie Neill) of my great-grandfather as a surviving niece. The Bryces are not related to me directly--however, it might be worth my time to research a little into this woman as her family and my Neill family apparently were neighbors in Ireland before their immigration. 

One problem is that the sisters in Pennsylvania are un-named. I have few ideas for working around that problem. 

This clipping is from 
The Quincy Daily Journal
Wednesday, September 17, 1913
Page: 3
We'll have a complete citation when the clipping appears in Casefile Clues.

Missing Issues, Back Issues, Etc.

Subscribers who somehow are missing issues can request those from me at 

If you have back issues you have ordered and those have not been received, please check your junk/bulk/spam folder and then let me know if you still do not have them at 

And if you are not a subscriber, consider joining us today!

Focusing on Benjamin Butler's Children

Currently located census records on Benjamin Butler (born about 1819 in New York or Canada) indicate the following children appear in his household at various times:

  • Alfred, born about 1842
  • Landon, born about 1844
  • Mary, born about 1846
  • George, born about 1848
  • Ellen, born about 1854
  • Harriet, born about 1856
  • Charles, born about 1861
  • Benjamin, born about 1865
  • Alice, born about 1868
  • Sarah, born about 1872
  • Lecta, born about 1875
  • Lila, born about 1879
  • Rebecca, born about 1882
As we've mentioned before, Benjamin has been located in federal census records for 1850, 1870 and 1880. The inability to find him in 1860 is a problem. What I think I should do is create a chart of all his "children" who would be alive in 1860, with their names and approximate ages and search for everyone separately, just in case. 

We'll save a complete discussion of this problem for a future issue of Casefile Clues, but I need to remember that  Benjamin's children might not all be in the same household in 1860, or even in the same state. Residential clues from children's places of birth need to be examined. There are several gaps in the years of birth for the children, which could be from children dying young or Benjamin not having a spouse during that point in time. 

We'll discuss working on Benjamin in 1860 in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. Subscribe now and get in on the analysis---I'd say discovery, but I'm still concerned I won't be able to find him no matter how organized the search is. Sometimes people simply cannot be found. 

Alfred Butler-son of Benjamin

This "may" be the Civil War pension payment card for Alfred Butler, son of the Benjamin Butler we've been following in Casefile Clues. Regular readers may remember that Benjamin got around--in 1850 he was in Michigan, in 1870 in Iowa, in 1880 in Missouri, and he married his second wife in Nebraska in 1864. Based upon his census enumerations (and other information), there is a good chance one or more of his older children stayed in Michigan.

We will discuss this Alfred Butler in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues and see why (or why not) he may be the son of Benjamin. There apparently are minors who qualified for a pension. This may be a good pension to request from the National Archives just to see what material is contained within it. We've not discussed Civil War pension records with minor benefits before.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Note: These Pension Payment Cards have recently been released in digital format on the FamilySearch site.They appear under:

 United States, Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. From the FamilySearch site: "Images of cards used by the Bureau of Pensions and Veterans Administarion to record the payment of pensions to veterans and widows. NARA publication M850."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

May C Drollette in 1918

Not to leave May Drollette out, this is a digital picture of her photograph from a 1918 passport application. The digital version is on We'll be writing about these newly discovered applications in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Subscribe now and get in on the fun.

"New" Passport Applications for George Drollette's "Recent Genealogy Database" page, indicates that the US Passport Applications 1795-1925 was updated on 26 January 2011.

On one hand this is good. On another, it is somewhat frustrating.

Regular Casefile Clues readers may remember that in issue 18 from Volume 2, we discussed several passport applications for George Drollette. There are apparently two new ones for him in the database at as they were not on the chart I made to organize the several passport applications I found for George. The "new" applications on apparently are not digital versions that have been created from the microfilm. They appear to be digital photographs of the applications. What is frustrating is that I thought I had already searched the passport database for George and several other people and now I need to go back and conduct additional searches.

Passport applications for Drollette spell his last name as either Drollette or Drolette. I initially thought maybe the spellings had been "cleaned up" as sometimes happens, but that's not the case. The chart here is one that I used in issue 18 of Casefile Clues to help me track the passport applications for George. The picture of it here is a down and dirty copy and paste job from the newsletter.
I am glad I made the chart as it made it easier for me to determine which applications were "new" to me and which ones I had already located. I know the passports dated 21 February 1918 and 2 June 1920 were not in the database at when I did my original searches for the article. (The reason I know is that I remember spending a good hour reviewing the applications, searching the database for all name variations, making the chart to organize what I had, and creating the citations). Creating the citations forced me to really look at each application that I had and now I'm glad I did.

Situations like this are why it is imperative that your source citation indicate the date you accessed an online image and where it was accessed. Two citations are shown in the image and indicate that I accessed Ancestry's database of passport applications in December of 2010, before this update. (Note: we don't normally include citations in blog posts, but each issue of Casefile Clues does include complete citations).

Is it frustrating that the database changed and I have to access it again? Yes. However, it's what I'm going to have to do whether I like it or not.  The better images must have been included in the "update" as the applications I did not get in December were not digital photographs. What I am wondering is where the "new" applications came from.

This image of George Drollette comes from his 1918 application. It is much better than the pictures on the digital versions of the applications that were made from the microfilm.

All of which goes back to what type of source you accessed, how you accessed it, how it was created, etc. 

We'll have an updated discussion of the applications on the blog and in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues--subscribe now and get in on the fun. I'm hoping to find out how the new images are different from the original ones--in other words what records were not originally microfilmed.

  The images are really nice and for that I'm glad. 

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Makes Casefile Clues Different

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

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

Casefile Clues is about how to research and showing you how research was actually conducted. We are about research--we don't worry about letting you know about the latest website and the latest technology. We'd rather be reading and learning about old court records, interpreting those records, etc.

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

In many ways Casefile Clues is a one-person show, but there are exceptions.* I don't have anyone with minimal genealogical experience looking over my shoulder, approving content, making suggestions,telling me what to do, telling me what to write about, etc. Decisions about content, style, etc. are made by me. There isn't anyone else from whom I have to get approval, permission, etc. when I decide to write about something. Some genealogy "how-to" magazines have non-genealogists making content and editorial decisions. That's not the case at Casefile Clues. *My proofreader is the exception.
Casefile Clues is reliant on reader support to spread the news. I know there are several who have helped us by telling others about the newsletter. That is greatly appreciated.

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Benjamin Butler's Wife After His Death

This is part of the death certificate for Nancy Jane Ray, widow of Charles Ray and former widow of Benjamin Butler. Butler, born ca. 1820 in New York State or Canada has been the focus of several Casefile Clues articles as he's an ancestor of mine.

Nancy Jane Wolfe married Benjamin in Nebraska and lived with him from then until his death in Vernon County, Missouri, in the 1880s. Benjamin and his first wife are the parents (likely) of my great-great-grandmother Ellen Butler Sargent.

Nancy was born in Pennsylvania in 1843 (according to this death certificate, which is consistent with census enumerations on Nancy). The death certificate only indicates her father's name was Wolf. One may think that the omission of a first name is not a big concern to my research. After all, Nancy is not a direct line ancestor and regular readers of Casefile Clues know that Nancy's place of birth of Pennsylvania doesn't come into play in Benjamin Butler's migration path. And after all, they married in Nebraska anyway.

However, there is a reason why I wish the record had given me the names of her parents. Stay tuned to Casefile Clues to find out.

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