Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Pre-Emption Claim in Colusa County, California

One never knows what will be located on Google Books. A search on for "john cheney colusa" without the quotes turned up several references to John Cheney who settled there in the later part of the 19th century.

Of the several hits on Google Books, one was particularly interesting---a reference to his pre-emption claim completed in 1871 (search the book for "cheney" to find it). 

The records of pre-emption claims are more detailed that straight federal land purchases. We discussed a pre-emption claim in Missouri a few years ago in Casefile Clues--for a relative in Missouri in the 1850s. I might order the records on John to see what they say as they may provide some clues as to his arrival in Colusa County, California. We'll have an update to see what is the the Bureau of Land Management database on him.

John Cheney (1821 Pennsylvania-1909 Colusa County, California) is a first cousin to Riley Rampley (1835 Coshocton County, Ohio-1893 Hancock County, Illinois), my gg-grandfather. 

Reader Comment On Back Issues

Subscriber DT writes:

Hello Michael,
I feel compelled to send you a note of gratitude for last year's issues of Casefile Clues.  I ordered them after I learned they are focused toward experienced researchers.  I have been researching our family for about 30 years, and I hoped your Casefile Clues could teach me something new.    Though I've only found time to read the first 20 issues so far, you have far exceeded my expectations.  I've found a "golden nugget" from each and every one.  I sent my subscription for the current year's issues a couple of days ago.  I will be a subscriber for life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I really appreciate the comments!
Anyone interested in back issues can find out more here.

Year 2 Issues Of Casefile Clues

Topics from the first 51 issues of year 2 are shown below (order them here):
  • 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-Looking for Benjamin-Formulating a Census Search
  • Volume 2-Number 27-An 1849 Cash Land Sale
  • Volume 2-Number 28-From 1820-1870 Analyzing Enoch Tinsley's Census Entries
  • Volume 2-Number 29-Middle Name Issues: Finding Henry J. Fecht in 1870 and Passenger Lists
  • Volume 2-Number 30-The Master Reports--An Assignment of Homestead and Dower in the 1890s
  • Volume 2-Number 31-The Parents Sell 10 Acres-an 1880 era land transaction
  • Volume 2-Number 32-Clues from a Pig Murder--an 1820 era Kentucky Court Case
  • Volume 2-Number 33-Civil War Pension Application-Why My Name's Different
  • Volume 2-Number 34-Staying Focused on Divorces and a German Immigrant
  • Volume 2-Number 35-Strategies for a 1820 New York Birth
  • Volume 2-Number 36-First Appearing in an 1847 Marriage
  • Volume 2-Number 37-The Chattel Property Will from Maryland
  • Volume 2-Number 38-Emmar Osenbaugh Civil War Pension-Proving 6 Husbands (1st Part)
  • Volume 2-Number 39-1870-1880 Era Guardianship Proves All the Children
  • Volume 2-Number 40-Moving Mother-Transferring a Life Estate in 1769
  • Volume 2-Number 41-War of 1812 Bounty Land Application and Surrendered Warrant
  • Volume 2-Number 42--An 1875 Poor Farm Admission for the Smith Family
  • Volume 2-Number 43-An 1811 Tennessee Will
  • Volume 2-Number 44-More Problem-Solving
  • Volume 2-Number 45-Emmar Osenbaugh's Civil War Pension Part II
  • Volume 2-Number 46-Comments on 1856 Missouri Revised Statutes
  • Volume 2-Number 47-A Will Denied--and Why
  • Volume 2-Number 48-Blank Children and Three Completers on a Birth Record
  • Volume 2-Number 49-Petitioning to Administrate an Intestate Probate in 1869
  • Volume 2-Number 50-Fighting the Will of Trientje Sartorius
  • Volume 2-Number 51-With Little to Probate: The Estate of Wesley Jones

Year 1 Issue Topics

Reposting as I messed up all the navigation on the blog:

Here are Year 1 issue titles (in reverse order)--order them for $17:

  • 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.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Issue 46-Missouri Revised Statutes

Issue 46 discusses Missouri Revised Statutes from 1856---with a few genealogical lessons along the way. Sometimes what is unwritten in local court records is written in state statutes. (Use the scroll bar in the window below to actually see the book).

Subscribe now to Casefile Clues and join the discovery.

Issue 46 out

Issue 46 is in your email box. Email me at if you don't have it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Casefile Clues Offer---52 for 12

Sunday we're offering a year of my weekly newsletter Casefile Clues for $12. Samples can be downloaded as PDF files here:

Feel free to let others know about the offer--this blog post will be pulled late Sunday night--don't wait. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reka Sartorius Found in 1880-We Have A Winner

We have a winner in our "Find Reka Sartorius in 1880" contest. Joan H. submitted this reference for which she wins a year of Casefile Clues (congratulations!!!), which does appear to be the census entry for the desired individual. S. Frederick (granddaughter), aged 14 appears to be Fredericka.

Reka (Fredericka) Sartorius was the daughter of Hinrich and Trientje (Behrens) Sartorius. Reka is not enumerated with her parents in the 1880 Adams County, Illinois census for Northeast Township. All the grandchildren of Ulfert and Fredericka Behrens were analyzed for another Reka to whom the census enumeration could be referring. There were none. The last name of Behrens for her appears to be an error, and the initial "S" could have been a reference to her last name of Sartorius.

The entry for Ulfert Bhrens is from Adams County, Clayton Township, page 55B (shown above) .

An additional confusing factor in this enumeration is that there actually were three individuals in the household whose names were actually Fredericka. The wife of Ulfert was named Fredericka and the two granddaughters were actually named Fredericka as well. The "Mary" listed is of an age consistent to have been another Fredericka Behrens/Sartorius--daughter of Ulfert and Fredericka Behren's daughter Volke Behrens Sartorius. It has been surmised that slightly different names were used as three Frederickas in the same household might have been slightly confusing.

We'll have a more complete version of the analysis in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.

Don't forget we have other contests still with no winners:

Likely Winner in 1880 Find Reka Sartorius

We have a likely winner in our contest to find Reka Sartorius in 1880. Stay tuned for details.

Older contests that are still open:
I'm working today and tomorrow on getting out answers to submissions and the likely winner. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Win A Year of Casefile Clues--Find Fredericka (Reka) Sartorius in 1880

This one's a little tricky--note we have a winner!

Fredericka (Reka) Sartorius was born in Adams County, Illinois, on 10 April 1865, the daughter of Hinrich and Trientje Sartorius. The family lived in the northeastern part of Adams County, near Golden and in Northeast Township. 

Fredericka married Jann Janssen in 1888 in Adams County, Illinois. 

The question is: where is she in the 1880 census? The 1880 is the only year that is a part of this contest.

Your answer must give a VALID REASON why you think Fredericka is on the census page you submit as an answer. "Just cause" or simply submitting the citation is NOT enough. A reason, clear and one that makes sense, must be given. 

We have a winner--this contest is closed.

If this search is too tiring, you can always just subscribe to Casefile Clues and worry about locating your own relatives.  

This one I KNOW the answer to already. 

Win A Year of Casefile Clues--Find Sophia Trautvetter in 1870

I have never been able to find Sophia Elizabeth (Derle) Trautvetter in the 1870 United States Census. I will give a year of Casefile Clues to the first person to send a complete citation for where Sophia Trautvetter is in 1870 (State, County, Township, page, line). 

Sophia was born in Thuringen Germany, in 1808. She married George Trautvetter in Germany sometime before they came to the United States in 1853. The settled on a farm in Rocky Run Township, Hancock County, Illinois. Sophia has been located in the 1860 census in Rocky Run Township. Her husband returned to Germany (by himself) in 1869 and Sophia remained in the United States. She is buried with her son and his wife in the Bethany United Church of Christ Cemetery in Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois.


A reader asked me if I was certain Sophia stayed in the US when George returned, and I'm not. What I know is:

  • George and Sophia sold all their real estate in Illinois in 1869
  • George died in Germany in 1871, where church records state he lived as a "retiree" with his family still in America and that he returned due to "marital difficulties."
  • A son's biography states that George returned to Germany and died "while on a visit." 
  • Sophia is buried in Tioga, Hancock County, Illinois--and I highly doubt her body was returned to the US for burial as George is buried in Germany.
So--if you cannot find her in 1870 and she did return to Germany for a visit--then she should be on a passenger manifest--between 1869 and 1877 when she died. Either submitting her 1870 census enumeration or her 1869-1877 manifest will win the contest. Do not submit her 1853 passenger manifest. That does NOT count. 

Her tombstone is posted online here:

Send your submission, complete with citation of entry to Michael at This is the ONLY address to where entries should be sent. Contest open until we have a winner. Good Luck. If you have won a contest in the past two months, you are NOT eligible to win.

If searching for Sophia is too tiring, you can always just subscribe to Casefile Clues and worry about locating your own relatives.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Union Civil War Service and Pension Records

Readers who would like to learn more about accessing Union Civil War Pension records can do so on the National Archives website at

Questions can either be posted on the blog or in response to this on the FB Fan Page. Thanks.

Thinking About Emmar's Pension File

I've been thinking about Emmar's (Sargent) Osenbaugh's Civil War Widow's pension file.

I don't have time to transcribe the entire thing. I already have it in paper and PDF formats. What I would like to do is create a table/database for the various documents in the file. I have numbered each document--one number per page or sheet. I'm thinking my table/database should contain at least the following items:

  • Date of document
  • Title of document
  • Citation for document
  • Names on the document
  • Page numbers
  • Locations mentioned in document
  • Miscellaneous
I was thinking of including a column for "statements of facts," but decided this might start getting into transcribing the document, which I didn't want to do for this table. I really think the table should be a finding aid since I'm not going to transcribe the entire set of papers.

Any thoughts?

Issue 45 is out

Issue 45 is out.
If you did not receive it, email

And if you're not a subscriber, that's why you didn't receive it. You can subscribe now at

Examiner Searches Local Records

Part of the Special Examiner's Report in the Emmar (Sargent) Osenbaugh pension file indicates that he has searched local records in an attempt to validate some of the statements Emmar makes. In this case, it was able to use the notations he made to locate actual records. In some cases though, reports such as these may be the only record that exists, if the local copies are no longer in existence. If so then this record would be the one that we cited.

And of course that citation would indicate that we had never seen the actual record, but only a report made from research several decades after--including the date of the report.

We'll have more on part two of Emmar's pension file in the next issue of Casefile Clues. Consider subscribing now if you're not on our distribution list.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ira Sargent's Half-Sister Roxie/Charlotte

[This post is short as I'm at the Allen County Public Library]
This is the death certificate (I think) for the half-sister of Ira Sargent (abt. 1843-1916), with whom readers are painfully familiar.
How I found it is a long story, but the name of the father, the year of birth, and place of birth are consistent with Roxie Landon's 1856 and 1860 census records.
We'll have a longer update later, but I think this leaves me one less sibling of Ira to locate.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Casefile Clues Does Not Auto-Renew

In response to a few emails, Casefile Clues does not auto-renew. We may accidentally send issues past your expiration date, but we do not charge anyone without their authorization.

In fact, the way all our PayPal processing is set up, charges are one-time only charges. Your credit card information is not even retained--so you could not be re-charged. Renewing requires subscribers to process a new payment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Issue 44 Is Out!

Issue 44 has been sent. Email me at if you did not receive your issue, had problems viewing it, etc.

And if you're not a subscriber, consider a subscription. Samples can be received by emailing


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missing Issues, Expiration Date ,Etc.?

Newsletter questions can be sent to Thanks! Try to avoid posting them as responses to the blog post or Facebook Fan Page postings as I don't always see those.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marriage Bond for Aquilla Jones-Davidson County, Tennessee in 1798

The copy of the marriage bond for Aquilla Jones and Letty (Hooper) Cooke has been received from the  Metropolitan Government Archives in Nashville, Tennessee.

It will be a little while before we use it in Casefile Clues, but I thought I'd post it now that I have it. It arrived relatively quickly. Next on my list is transcribing it and determining who the other signer is and what (if any) relationship he has to the bride or groom.

Jones and (Hooper) Cooke are my children's ancestors--just don't ask how many "greats."

Stay Tuned!

Discounts Ending

Discounts on Casefile Clues will end at 9:00 PM Pacific Tuesday-2 August 2011. If you've been waiting, now is the time. I'm headed to Ft. Wayne this week and need to tie up all loose ends before leaving. Thanks.