Friday, March 30, 2012

Using's Online Trees Webinar--Part I

I just completed my first webinar on using the online trees at focused on integrating census and other databases and images into your file without confusing yourself in the process. It's easy to really mess things up if you are not careful.

Here's what one attendee had to say:

"Thank you for the webinar. I am just now entering our family tree after much research. Now I have a better understanding of how to do this part more accurately."

You can order the media file here for $4.50

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Issue 7 out

Issue 7 has been mailed. Email me at if you have not received it.

Exhaustive Searches and Revised Conclusions

Paul Freund is the focus of the next issue of Casefile Clues and this entry for him from the Civil War registrations makes an excellent point about why an exhaustive search is important and why conclusions always need to be revised in light of additional information.

This list is dated late July of 1863. One would think Paul would be alive on the date of the list, but he's not. His probate papers clearly indicate he died in June of 1863.

Conclusions always need to be revised in light of additional evidence, and as we are sometimes told, one document is not proof of anything.

Just a few reminders that never hurt.

The next issue of Casefile Clues has little to do with this draft registration, but there is one clue on here that was used in combination with information from Paul's personal estate inventory. And it had nothing to do with his date of death.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Need Back Issues?

Back issues of Casefile Clues can be purchased and are sent as PDF files via email. Year 1 and Year 2 topics can be viewed here. Topics from Year 3 can be viewed here.

Year 3 Issues

Year 3 issue topics and titles:

  • Issue 1- A Method to the Madness: Starting A Search for William Rhodus. Beginning a search on a man whose first "known" document is an 1860 marriage record in Missouri.
  • Issue 2-"Know" Objection That I Know Of: Letters of Consent and a Bond from a 1798 Marriage. This column analyzes a set of marriage consents from the marriage of Thomas Sledd and Sally Tinsley in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1798.
  • Issue 3-Thomas and Elizabeth Frame: Arriving Outside the Time Frame. This column discusses establishing an immigration framework for an English immigrant family to American in the 1860s.
  • Issue 4-An 1873 Chicago Naturalization: Two Thomases to Confuse. This column looks at the 1873 naturalization of Thomas Frame from Cook County, Illinois.
  • Issue 5-Copied from the Ashes: The 1850 Declaration of Peter Bigger. This column looks at a declaration of intent to become a citizen from Hamilton County, Ohio, that was recreated or copied from the partially burned one. 
  • Issue 6-A Venture into Harford County: A 1790-Era Grant and Deed. This column looks at two land records from Harford County, Maryland, the patent to James Rampley and the subsequent deed of sale for part of that property about a year later. 
Email me at if you need to order back issues from year 3. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Were Clark And Mary (Dingman) Sargent Divorced?

It has been a while since I've mentioned Clark and Mary (Dingman) Sargent in Casefile Clues.

The 1890s genealogy of the Sargent family indicated that Clark died in Winnebago County, Illinois, a statement that is repeated in various other genealogies of the family, a few New England town histories, and countless websites. There are no vital records that early in Illinois--so primary information from original sources will be difficult to obtain.That he died before Mary Married Asa Landon in the 1850s seemed reasonable.

Readers may remember that their daughter, Emmar, gave extensive testimony in her widow's Civil War pension application, including a few details about her birth and early life. Her testimony seems to infer that her father left the family in the 1840s instead of dying.

Which means that Mary might have divorced Clark. And that means another record to look for.

Emmar might have been incorrect about her father "leaving" but a search for a divorce is still in order.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Issue 6 sent

Subscribers should have received issue 6.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A "c" or Not a "c?" That is the Question

In wrapping up the final edit on the next issue of Casefile Clues, Madaleine asked me about the transcription of a name from the deed referenced above.

I'm uncertain of whether it should be interpreted as McComas or MComas? [The reference to the same name below makes me think the last vowel is an "a."

The spelling of the name in this case is not crucial to the argument or the article, so I'm not inclined to spend a great deal of time on it, but I am curious. Does the writer mean that little flourish to be a "c" or is it just a flourish? He makes similar marks on his "W"s as well. There are no other upper-case "M"s in the document or I would have had a better comparison.  Just a part of the deed is included in this post.

The Warrant, The Survey, and The Patent

It's important to know the general steps in acquiring "first" title to property in the United States. It is also important not to interchange terms that do not mean the same thing. In the next issue of Casefile Clues, one of the documents that we look at is a survey from Maryland in 1794. We also look at a deed that sold part of that property.

The document that we use in the analysis is the survey, which delineates where the property lines are located. It's not the document that transfers title--that's the patent. And it's not the document that authorizes the surveyor to survey--in this case the warrant does that.

We'll analyze the survey and the subsequent deed for part of the property and see how they can lead to additional discoveries and how a few key items were nearly interpreted incorrectly.


After a bout with an apparent case of food poisoning, we're back. The next issue of Casefile Clues is being proofed and should be in your inbox in the next day or two. Thanks!