Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Samuel Neill's Property

In issue 35 of Casefile Clues, we reviewed a Master's Deed that was executed as part of a partition suit involving the heirs of Samuel Neill in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1913.

In reviewing the additional deeds that had been located on Samuel Neill, it became apparent that one deed of purchase had not been located (there were three tracts comprising Samuel's property and two tracts were accounted for in deeds of purchase) and further research needs to be conducted.

There is an additional reason for desiring to obtain the third deed. When Samuel naturalized in 1880, the county treasurer vouched for him having lived in the United States for five years. The treasurer lived in the county seat which was several miles from where Samuel lived. It is possible he knew Samuel had lived there for five years because he had paid property taxes during that time. I will have to see when the third tract was purchased.

The other two were purchased after Samuel naturalized.

So if this third tract was as well, then maybe the collector vouched for him for a different reason.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Was She a Trautvetter or a Hess?

The next issue of Casefile Clues will be one where the research is not finished.

In the earlier days of the newsletter, there were more issues with case studies where the research really was not done. We are returning to that concept because I think there's a group of readers who appreciate seeing the "process" as much as the finished result.

We have discussed the Rothweiler family of St. Louis before--the husband was a Civil War veteran whose wife is a member of my Trautvetter family and I thought I knew her maiden name. Turns out her maiden name may have been incorrect.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Narcisse, Narcy, and Nancy

It probably will not be discussed in an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues, but it makes a good point so I thought I would mention it here.

While doing some background work on the property owned by Samuel Neill in Hancock County, Illinois, the deed of purchase for one property mentioned the female grantee three times. 

And that was good, because every time her name was different.

The signature is transcribed as Narcisse. In the acknowledgement, she is listed as Nancy and as Narcy. The clerk has actually underlined the "an" in "Nancy," but has made no notation about the Narcy. My hunch is that Narcy was a diminutive for Narcisse in the eyes of the Justice of the Peace recording the acknowledgement and the clerk transcribing it, but that the clerk was guessing "Nancy" was an error and because it was an error that had to be recorded as such, he underlined the "an" in "Nancy" to indicate it was a mistake. 

Even in deeds there can be clues as to name variants--in this case since they are all on the same document they help to provide actual evidence of the variant. 

The deed in question was dated 20 September 1879, was recorded in Hancock County, Illinois, Deed Book 98, page 539 and is from John F. Hart and Narcisse Hart to Samuel Neill for sixty acres in St. Albans Township. I actually pulled the book off the shelf and viewed it myself and my cousin (3rd cousin to be precise) who works in the recorder's office made the copy. 

Spreading the News About Casefile Clues

Please continue to let your genealogy friends know about Casefile Clues. We rely on no paid advertising, just word of mouth from readers. Feel free to mention us on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media and in emails to your genealogy friends.

I do appreciate those who have let others know about the newsletter--it does help!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Issue 35 is out

Issue 35 has just been sent to subscribers on the distribution list. If you did not receive it, please let me know and I will

I think one request for missing back issues went unfilled--my apologies--please forward me the message at and I will take care of it this time.

Information Versus Evidence

We are wrapping up the edits on issue 35. One of the points of discussion was the use of the word "information" and "evidence."

I tend to use "information" and "evidence" interchangeably. In an attempt to stay consistent with the current use of the word in the "genealogical lexicon," we'll try and use "evidence" as we move forward. For the layman there's probably not that big of a distinction..and from my standpoint it is only one word.

Our overriding goal is to make the newsletter readable and accurate. While we do use the academic journals to provide some guidance, our attempt is not to mimic any of them. We try and avoid the generally cursory treatment of topics that appear in most of the "slick" magazines as well. I know readers have plenty of places to get a shorter discussion of topics and we try and avoid that as well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Issue 34 is Out

Subscribers to Casefile Clues--PDF version--should have their issue 34 now. Email me at to get your issue if you are a subscriber. And if you are not, consider subscribing at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Casefile Clues and Writing Suggestions

I've had newsletter readers ask about genealogy writing suggestions on this blog. In the interest of keeping things as "on task" as possible, the Casefile Clues blog will concentrate on newsletter issues, content, document analysis, citation,  and writing and editing discussions directly related to the newsletter. Those who would like writing tips of a more general nature may wish to check out my Rootdig blog where I'm going to be including some of those ideas as we move forward.

Some have compared our article format (especially the articles discussing one record) as similar to the document analysis done by some professionals as a part of their regular work.

Newsletter issues are usually focused on one document. That's fairly easy to start writing about. Time is the problem. The format from one issue to the next is usually similar: introduce the document, transcribe the document, analyze the document, discuss the research goals, and wrap it up with a discussion of further research approaches and the reasons for those approaches. If the article is on a specific family or research problem, the process is slightly different. Readers who are having difficulty with their own family or a record may find a similar approach helpful in their own research.

14000 Facebook Fan Sale

To celebrate our 14000 fans on Facebook for Genealogy Tip of the Day, we're offering 52 issues of Casefile Clues for $14. This will work for new or renewing subscribers. This is the only page with the $14 link.

There is more about Casefile Clues here.

Want samples?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Style Guide for Casefile Clues?

We don't have a specialized style guide for Casefile Clues, but I'm thinking about it. Madaleine uses the Chicago Manual of Style and general NGSQ practices when she's reviewing material before it goes out.

But the author would be better served by having a guide of his own to which he could refer when writing as there are times when he is inconsistent. It would probably make things a little easier on Madaleine as well. We cite materials in the spirit of Evidence Explained, but there is a great deal more to editing and writing besides citations.

We will discuss some of these concerns here on the blog, but we will try and keep it to a sane level--assuming that not all of our readers are concerned with the really fine points of writing and editing.

Unless we get a great demand for it that is!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Issue 33 Is Out

Email me at if you are a subscriber and did not receive.

You can subscribe here


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Citing the Entire Column

This is part of a chart that is being used in the upcoming issue of Casefile Clues. 

Citation of items is always a concern. I'm also concerned about not going "hog wild crazy" on footnotes. The information used to create this chart was taken from separate parts of a partition suit. The chart has over thirty cells. The names all come from one page of a reference--the same page as the portion of the estate. The relationships come from a different page in the record.

I've decided that instead of citing each name, portion, and relationship, we'll just have a citation for the heading of each column as shown in this partial illustration.

That will make the point, but not leave me with thirtyplus footnotes that are extremely repetitive.

Portion of estate[2]
Bernard Dirks
Son of Heipke Dirks
Lena Janssen
Daughter of Heipke Dirks
Bertha Janssen
Daughter of Heipke Dirks
Mary Heidbreder
Daughter of Heipke Dirks

Monday, July 1, 2013

How Did They Decide Those Parts?

Normally when there is an intestate estate, each heir receives an equal amount of their parent's estate. That's not quite the case with the family of Heipke Dirks who died in Adams County, Illinois, in 1924. Typically, the children in a case of this type of estate each receive the same size of the estate and any children of a deceased child would receive together an amount equal to their parent's share.

Here's what each child received:

  • son Bernard Dirks 16/63
  • daughter Lena 9/63
  • daughter Mary 9/63
  • daughter Bertha 9/63
  • daughter Anna 9/63
  • children of deceased daughter Gesche together receive 9/63
  • children of deceased son Henry together receive 2/63
The estate records don't explicitly indicate why Bernard received more than his sisters and why Henry's children received a smaller slice of the pie than the others. 

But we've got it figured out.
Stay tuned.