Friday, March 29, 2013

Moving Forward...

We're looking at making some minor changes in the Casefile Clues blog.

Casefile Clues will continue to be about research--with adequate citations (in the spirit of Evidence Explained) and with details about the research process. I continue to believe that the process is just as important as well-written organized results. I know from decades in the classroom that math students do not benefit from just clean worked out examples. They need and want to see "in-process" work--it helps them to learn. I think genealogists, life-long students that they have to be, benefit from seeing process as well--if only to think that "I don't agree with him." That's part of why Casefile Clues is written the way it is.

We are making some changes to the material that's on the blog so that readers can see a little more of how the newsletter is put together, particularly the part after I write the rough draft.

I'm pretty certain though, that readers do not want to see our editing/proofing process as part of the newsletter--that's not going to change. The main reason is that writing about commas does not interest me in the slightest. What I'm looking to do on the blog is to include some of the analysis and discussion that goes into revising the newsletter.

So stay tuned.

Getting Past Initial Assumptions

This is the 1860 census entry for Michael Trautvetter that was part of our discussion in the last issue of Casefile Clues. As mentioned in the newsletter, Michael and Margaret are indicated as having married within the census year. My initial take on the entry was that somehow the 523 numbers were either a "mistake" or that the neighboring household was perhaps Margaret's home. I originally had concluded that John Mininger was a step-son to Trautvetter and early in my research when I noticed this entry, I had not noticed the household that followed.

Another real possibility is that the 523 entries were simply "moved down" a line and John Mininger should have not been in the Trautvetter household at all. Madaleine pointed out that possibility to me during the edit process for the last issue of the newsletter and it's a valid point--and required a little rewriting to include it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Little About Madaleine--Our Copyeditor and More

I asked Madaleine (my copyeditor) to give us a few words about herself so that readers would know a little more about her and the process we go through in completing Casefile Clues. I appreciate her assistance in helping us put Casefile Clues together and make it a unique publication in the genealogical world.

Here's what she had to say:
I live in Northern Virginia, just a short Metro ride away from the Library of Congress. I'm happy to announce that I've finally jumped on the blogging bandwagon with KinfoLit, where I write about the search in research. My tagline is "information literacy for genealogists, family historians, biographers, and anyone else who just can't let go of the past." Information literacy isn't just about being tech-savvy. It's about developing the skills to execute that first important step in the genealogical research process, the reasonably exhaustive search. I also enjoy live-tweeting genealogy events as @kinfolit. The Kansas Historical Foundation awarded me the Edward N. Tihen Historical Research Grant, so in late April, I'm heading off to the Kansas State Historical Society in Topeka! My project is titled Piecing Together a Kansas Woman's Community: The Regina Mills Chambers Signature Quilt as Historical Record.
I started proofreading Casefile Clues in July 2010, and the workflow hasn't changed much since then. MJN sends me a Word document, I mark it up using the Track Changes feature, he sends back a PDF document, and I give him my final corrections in the text of an email. Though the process remains the same, my editing has evolved beyond simply making sure MJN's grammatical ducks are all in a row. I've been known to ask questions that get the author to think about his work in a new way, and I've also made occasional suggestions about themes for upcoming issues. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Little About Casefile Clues

For those who are unaware:

Casefile Clues accepts nor solicits advertising in our newsletter or on our website. There are several reasons why doing so would be beneficial, but we chose not to accept any advertising and there are no plans to do so. That way we're not "holdin" to anyone and our only agenda is helping your research--not promoting someone's blog, website, book, etc. We do appreciate those who let others know about our newsletter--word of mouse advertising does help.

Casefile Clues has one part-time employee, Madaleine Laird as our copy editor/proofreader. All other tasks are handled by me.  That means that sometimes it takes a while before a request regarding a missing issue or subscription gets answered. We appreciate your patience.

Casefile Clues encourages citation of sources, accurate methodology, and getting beyond genealogical myth. I only write about families and people that I am actually researching--and almost always are related to my children in one way, shape, or form.

Issue 28 is out

Issue 28 is out.

Missing your issue? Email me at

Need to subscribe? Check it out at

Issues for Issue 28

Proofing comments have come back for issue 28 and there's a few comments for this issue I had to address.

An 1860 Census Entry

Are these household numbers just in the wrong place?

A Baltimore Manifest Entry

Is that an "f" or an "s?"

We think we have the answers--but one is not always 100% certain in genealogy. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

John Adam Trautvetter Arrives in the United States

This is part of the manifest entry containing the entry for Joh. Adam Trautvetter who arrived on 9 July 1850 on the Marianne (obtained digitally on 20 March at, citing National Archives M255, roll 8).

We'll be discussing this entry in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues, along with where this man is in the 1850 census--supposedly taken before this boat landed.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You Concluding Secondary Information Is Wrong?

Death certificates for several adult children of my relative Wilhelmina Rothweiler (who died in St. Louis in the 1890s) indicate that her maiden name was Trautvetter. An estate settlement from Illinois in 1869 implied that her maiden name was Hess and that her mother was a Trautvetter.

I had assumed that the reference to Trautvetter as her maiden name on her adult children's death certificates was simply because someone mixed up mother's and grandmother's last names. That assumption was partially made because information about mother's maiden names on death certificates of adult children typically is secondary.

It turns out that secondary information may be correct as we'll see in a future issue.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Issue 27 is out

Issue 27 is out.

If you have issues that you have not received, email me at There are a few missing issue requests that someone didn't get sent. Please do not reply to newsletter mailings to request a missing issue.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Daughter for the Rampleys

The last issue of Casefile Clues analyzed an early twentieth century will for James Rampley. The possibility was discussed that he had extra children.

Orders sent to heirs in his probate packet mention another apparent child. His wife's will, probated thirty years later, mentions a second daughter.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Your Subscription is Yours--Not Someone Else's

Please do not share issues of Casefile Clues with others.

While we do appreciate you letting others know about Casefile Clues, sending them your subscription instead of having them subscribe themselves is, in a nutshell, unethical.

We try and keep the costs of Casefile Clues to a very reasonable amount, but web hosting, some onsite research fees, and copy editing require income.

Please don't forward Casefile Clues others, particularly when you hit "reply" instead of forward. All that does is forward me my newsletter and your message.

Issue 26 is out

Issue 26 is out. If you did not receive it, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Next Issue-A 1912 Will

The next issue of Casefile Clues will look at a 1912 will that provides for a life estate for the testator's wife and and daughter. He also provides for a conservator for this grown daughter but does not indicate the reason for the conservatorship. The relatively simple will suggests quite a few records and research paths.

Stay tuned...