Monday, February 29, 2016

The hootch was in the toy chest all along! Great Genealogy Story.

This is a true story.  My mother, who is 91 now used to tell about going to her Aunt's home to visit cousins in Oklahoma.  Banty, Durant,  Oklahoma in the 1930s was very dry and dusty.  You could see a car coming at a fast pace for miles by the size of the dust cloud it was kicking up.

Mom was only about 5 years old and her baby sister Corrine was only about 3.  Marvin, her big brother was about 8.  Since her father died in 1929, from the effects of mustard gas from a leaky mask during WWI, Marvin was the man of the house now and watched out over the little girls.  On this trip, Marvin held Corrine on his lap and they watched the old white house rise out of the dust.

Arriving at this run down wood house with a large porch, Mom saw her Uncle.  He was crippled and would sit indian style and walk using just the knuckles of his hands.  His children all had snow white hair and ice blue eyes.  She said, "To this day, those children were the most beautiful children I had ever seen or ever will see."  This is a picture of her cousin Opal, so you know that Opal's   babies mentioned in this article were just as beautiful.
The story goes that Opal's husband had a very difficult time making a living for his family, so he would make "hootch" in a home made still in the woods and sell it to local people, since he couldn't drive.  This was a time of Prohibition and it was illegal to have your own still, much less sell it.  Little Carrie, Launa and VJ were little toddlers at this time.  Mr. Hunt would sit by the window and watch for the "Revenuers".  These were the people who could potentially put him into jail if they found alcohol on his property.  In the window, on the ledge of the sill was one piece of wood with a secret hiding place.  When you lifted the piece of wood, the wall was hollow and there was a place to hide a bottle....his own private bottle.

One day he was watching out the window and saw a fierce dust cloud and knew that these old  cars could really get going and throw up a lot of dust the faster they went.  He was judging how long it would take but somehow, hid the bottle in the window ledge and got away with it.

This is where my story from my Mother ends.....and the miracle of the internet begins.  Upon posting this story on Ancestry, I received a letter from someone I had never met.  She was Launa's daughter and had information to share about our family tree.  Alethea told me that she told Launa, her  mother, that story and she verified it was true.  Not only that, Alethea mentioned she lived in that house right now!  She went over to the window and there was the window ledge.  After all these years, she was able to lift the piece of wood and look inside.  It would have been amazing if there had been something hiding in there, even though I don't drink, but she said it was empty.  The interesting bit of information that Launa gave was priceless.  When asked, "How did he keep from being arrested all those years?"  She said, "When they saw the Revenuers coming up the road, they would pick us up and set us on top of the toy chest.  The toy chest was where the "hootch" was hidden!  The "Revenuers" searched and searched but never thought to lift the beautiful children off the toy chest!

Truth be told, I would have never met my 2nd cousin online or verified this story and learned more about my relatives had I not been doing my family history research.  

Start today.  Start with what you know.  Then we will build on that.
Use a sheet like this to document your relatives lives.
Please write back and share your experiences!  Please click follow and we will keep you posted on more Genealogical miracles!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

In Ancestry, don't forget to try this...

Sometimes, people will say, "Oh I am not going to look at the Photo section of Ancestry, because who would have any pictures of my relatives? I'm sure I am the only one doing this research in my family".

Here are valuable pictures that I found for people.

1) A yearbook picture of a friend's Grandfather

2) A picture of a letter showing permission given by a young woman's father to get married even though she was under age.

3)  A picture of a woman's headstone showing the actual birth and death date that someone never had before.

4)  A picture of an adopted girl's real mother.

Just to name a few, don't be disillusioned in  your research.  Make sure you set aside a Document or Location page to watch the migration of your family.
Good Luck!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cousin marriage was legal in all states before the Civil War

The question was asked recently about the census question,  #14 in the 1860 Census

  1. Was the person deaf and dumb, blind, idiotic, pauper, or convict?

The government had received a report by anthropology professor Martin Ottenheimer from Kansas stating that the main purposes of marriage prohibitions were maintaining the social order of upholding religious morality and safeguarding the creation of fit offspring.  

Prior evidence from 1758 writer Noah Webster (1758-1843), ministers Phillip Milledole (1775-1852) and Joshua McIlvaine helped lay the ground work for such viewpoints well before 1860.

By the 1870s Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) was writing about the advantages of marriages between unrelated persons.

All cited reasons why children of sisters and brothers should marry.  It hadn't dawned on them yet that the problem of genetic deficiencies between a widower and his wife's sister was just as bad of a problem if they both had the same parents or one of each person's parents were siblings.

By 1880, 13 states had issued prohibitions on cousin marriages.

An interesting exchange of dialog happened when I put my family tree online and had the opportunity to write with a cousin from Oklahoma.  

My grandfather and her Grandmother were siblings.  One of their siblings had married a cousin and the doctors told them they should not have children.

Her reply to me was, "Oh, no - The Doctor did say they couldn't have children, but they showed him - they had  10 children, but everyone of them were a little touched or off a little and never lived very long.  No one ever knew why."

I laughed and wrote back, "Oh - you misunderstood.  The story on my side is that the Doctor did indeed say they SHOULDN'T have children not that they  couldn't.  The genetic pool was just too close and that caused problems in all the kids.  They just didn't know much about genetics back in 1890."

Her reply, "Well now....that does make sense now."

Going back in your genealogy, you may find loops where siblings married other people and their children married.

John Smith
                                    Robert Smith
Susan Johnson
                                                                      John Smith II    50% chance of                                                                             deformity, deaf, blind, mental                                                                           challenges
James Jones
                                    Cindy Jones
Sandra Johnson

There are new theories being formed that possibly may suggest a throwback link genetically to cousin marriages all the way to the 1800s as a possible theory for autism.

The following link shows a progression to understanding the genetic risk of cousins marrying and producing children.  It is a far cry from the 13 prohibitive states in 1880

More information can be read on this theory at the above links and it is this author's opinion that there are many theories for which autism can be blamed and this is again just another interesting theory.   Just know that if this theory is a viable one, you should take no blame upon yourself.  It's just something that happened because they didn't know any better back then.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Understanding Census Data and learning more about Native Americans

Hi!  We hope you enjoy this.  There is a little music to keep you from going to sleep!
Funny - to look up census data in 1980, we went to the Stake Library and looked through catalog books.  We would pay 3.00 and the Librarian would order the Microfische.  It would take 3 weeks to get here and she would call to let us know it arrived.  The data sometimes was hard to read, or the wrong roll of film because maybe we searched the wrong township.  Now we can switch gears with one click of the  mouse!

The 1940 census is the first census to actually show our parents as adults and sometimes our older siblings were listed.  The law of 72 years is really frustrating when you get addicted to searching.  You uncover a lot of secrets that your family didn't want to discuss, or flossed over and then you need to wait another 10 years to see how it worked out!!!

We are presenting this compilation of notes from our Rootstech trip and tips and tricks to help other budding Genealogists Thursday at the Stake Center.  We will go over it more carefully, but this is the slide deck if you want to review it.

I will also be giving out handouts sheets that help if you don't have excel.


Keep watching for this site to come back up - It will show you where the county seat and boundaries were by the date entered.

Let's say you find John and Mary Smith in 1900.  Now go back and find John as a little boy living with his parents.  Look at the entire census page and make note of the family names.

If you enter your query and see in the actual census your relatives, John Smith is 10 years old, for example.  You may see his future wife, little Mary Simmons at 8 years old and her family on the same page on a neighboring plot of land.  This is one way how you would learn her maiden name.,

Take this information and search for Marriage Licenses in that County...then try the county adjacent to it.  If you can find a marriage license validating Mary Simmons married John Smith - what a great find!!!  You are wondering why try the county adjacent to it?  If Mary was underage for one State and/or County, she needed to get permission in writing to show to a judge from her parents.  Without that, they would have to find the nearest county with more lenient rules.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Genealogy wishes and dreams fulfilled! Just start at square 1....

Where is square 1?  That is you!  Go to or and get a free account.  Start with what you know.

Your name, your date of birth and where you were born.

Your parents names and dates of birth and where they were born.
Where did they get married?  When?
Add When did they die?  Where?

Now.  In Family Search there are billions of records and it's really possible that someone may already have your grandparents in the data base so always
CHECK if they are already in the database before going any further.

If not, add them!

write to me at and tell me how you are doing.  Where are you stuck?  Do you know anyone who would like me to do their genealogy for them?  I can do it for 25.00/hour and I can get substantial results within one week.

REASONS...why you should use a Research Log when doing Genealogy

Start with a Pedigree Sheet and a Research Log.

(Have you ever said, "I'm sure I've run across this document before.  Let's see where did I put that?  this pile?  Maybe this one over here??  It can be time consuming and confusing to say the least!

Start with what you know:

right click and save image as researchlog.jpg - then go back and print it out on 8 1/2 x 11 - landscape

Go here for vital information:
How to make an effective Research Log:

Or Start with an Excel Sheet

Column 1 Father
Column 2 date Born
Column 3 Mother
Column 4 Date born
Column 5 Date Married - Place
Column 6 Mother's age at first child
Column 7 First child name
column 8  year born
Column 9  2nd child name
column 10 year born
column 11 3rd child name
column 12 year born
column 13 4th child name
column 14 year born

add columns as needed

Column 20 - Mother died - age:
Column 21 - note any children born "after Mother's death"
column 22 - look for marriage of husband to 2nd wife
column 23 - 2nd wife, year of birth
column 24 -  1st child name - born - HIGHLIGHT IF COLUMN 24 COINCIDES WITH COLUMN 9, 11, 13

Sometimes Census data will list one mother and 17 children....many after her death - this is a way to get control of data before it runs away with you.

Also, have you ever searched some records and said, "Haven't I seen this family before?"  Make sure you have a column for your y
ear of Census and location so you can handle multiple data and know the answers quickly.



Be very careful not to click on family trees without first corroborating the data.  It is very tempting to make one click and get 10 generations, but unless you have personally verified the sources and attached them to your tree, you should only use them as a point of reference.

Many people just click and do not see things like,
1) the child was born before the mother
2) the mother gave birth at 7
3)  the location just seems like an impossibility, CHECK i.e.,
4) the father became a father before his father was born.
5)  clicking family tree imports can put you in an eternal incest loop.  If you are off by one generation and import the same data, cousins will be married, their parents are brothers and sisters, the parents are also the parents parents - it just gets crazier from there.  just delete or disjoin the people before it gets crazy and do your due diligence to check each link for accuracy.


data from adjacent counties -

Sometimes it was closer to file documents at the nearest county seat rather than the one in your county, if you didn't have a horse or ability to travel far.

5) Marriages - shotgun weddings - If papa didn't give his permission, they would hop the county line and go somewhere where the female could wed at a younger age without handwritten documentation.

Great article about Counties with changing boundaries - do you search in this one or that one?  Depending on the year, there may be different county lines and your person may not be in the county you think of.

Good luck and send me your messages - maybe I can help you find a long lost cousin!


We are presenting this to the Stake Librarians in our area on Thursday - thought we would give you a preview.  Please click here to follow what we learned about genealogical finds to help your research

Monday, February 15, 2016

With very little information you can find your family's Heritage.

Inspirational Stories from Genealogy - Good Housekeeping

Saving papers and pictures from our Relatives before us can pay off!

This is a story of a young woman who did not know her Grandparent's past.  She kept asking her parents where they came from and all they would say is, "We're Jewish".  Finally going through some papers she found a piece of paper that said, "Katie Roskin, Housewife, Russia"   Upon further research and networking with a distant cousin, it was revealed that mostly all of Katie's family had been murdered in the Holocaust and Katie had escaped!  Read this inspiring story and think about how many papers, even scraps of papers or pictures with names on the back might reveal about your family.  Genealogy is like a mystery - a true life puzzle.

Research finds another Grandmother - a survivor of the Holocaust.

Wondering how her Grandfather would have treated her...Jennifer Teege tells an inspiring story about her Genealogy Research.

A simple train ticket unlocked a myriad of clues for Julia Park Tracey

Friday, February 5, 2016

Interesting information on Indian and Blended Families - notes taken from Rootstech 2016

How do I start?  Who can help me?

Get the book "American Indians" from the National Archives to help you understand which census data to search.

Bob Blankenship - Cherokee Roots - Volume 1 and Volume II
Check Ebay for a copy.

Know that there can be limitations to what can be found
Now all communities were documented in the same way
Tribal rolls are not that common.  Tribal rolls are often creations of the Federal government thought many are in the public domain
Some communities dramatically changed over the years
Some individuals enerumerated differently

Some enumerators did not follow the rules.  Some only documented what they heard and did not

Mulatto was a standard way of describing people who were Native Americans.  It was also used for Mixed races of Black and another.

One must review the task at hand
document the family history and tell the f am ily story.  Start with what you know.
Understanding the Basic methods of Research Documenting Oral History
Explore the Family Archives
Vital Records
Census Records (1840-1790) also State Census
Military records & Federal Records and Local Histories
Earliest Presence in America Immigrants of Indigenous.
Birth Certificates
Death Certificates
Probate, Wills, Land Ownership
Slave Ownership
Military Records - Draft Cards - their own handwriting and description.

Gather all of these things in a shoe box then start with Pedigree charts, naming yourself as person #1

Check the History to see what was happening at that point in time in the region and document it in your story.

For African Ancestry
Oral History
Tracing Family history 1940 to 1870 - hit a wall at Civil War?
Identifying the last known Slave Owner
Tracing the Slave Owners History
Document the earliest landing in America

Blended Families
Indian & White/Indian and Black
Study the land - google maps as much as you can
Early maps - document the borders and county border changes
Follow the family

Ask the right questions
Who was the oldest person in the family that you remember?
Who was the specific ancestory that is said to have been of Native American Ancestry?
Did you know him or her?
Why was he said to have been of Native Andestry
What nation or tribe was he/she part of?
Was the community of Indians from that tribe in the area?
Did he/she visit that community ?  Did others visit too? Who?
Did your ancestor speak a language besides English?
What kind of religion did she/he practice?
Did she/he ever speak about her elders?

Study the community - using Google, History Channel,


Document the family and individuals in the census.  Explore all possibilities. Know what was asked on the census forms. 
1860 Before 1860 they didn't always tell who was an indian or native
1870 did not tell the relationship of household members
column 6 was racial - column 7 was place of birth.  Sometimes it said they all were born in the village when they weren't. 
Sometimes the Enumerator decided on his own where they were living.  "North of the Bayou, near Thompson's Bluff, around the large river".

Learn the local history and Geography. Document if oral history is in contrast to local history.
Cherokee, Choctaw and others own slaves - check Freedman Records.

Many were taken to Jamaica.  Many died because of illness. 

Not all persona are not always accurate
Sometimes history conflicts
Some elders are repeating that they heard as a child that could have been misinterpreted.
Some are spoken of as Indian to avoid association with another racial groups. 
Some begin the process of basing their ancestors on racial features.

90,000 people applied for money, and or land.

Not all Indian communities had tribal rolls.  US Government is who started the rolls.
Not all records are available to outsiders to easily research.

Some census records did not enumerate Indian communities in a thorough manner.
Some said they were from a "town" instead of a "clan" or "Nation"

Special Indian Census

Guion Miller Rolls, multiple states, 90,000 files  - National Archives

Dawes Rolls (Oklahoma only) 14,000 files
1907 Statehood.  During the process in the 5 nations, land was owned by all the nations.  Change the concept prove that you are part of the tribe and you will get a land parcel.  You had to prove that you had been there continuously 1866 - because you returned from the Civil War.

19th Century Cherokee Rolls
Reservation Roll 1817
come back to this later


1) Indian - some census were everyone was called an Indian.

1870 Suffold County New York in Long Island
"Ind" indian or Farm Laborer and "Indians"

Knowing your local history will help you zoom in on your data and what is relative to your family

Mixed Community

Some Enumerators didn't know what to write - Sometimes they said "1 maile Indian....counted as colored".

If they said "black eyes, black hair", they were probably counted as Indian.

Standard Indian Census Record
50 people on a page for normal census.  Indian census had 25 people on a page and 15 on the bottom for extra people - some were very tribe specific.

Check for blank census forms. Inappropriate questions - Married? Living in Polygamy? Were the wives Sisters?  What % blood each race?

Choctaw Nation in 1900 - Enumerated as a black family - in 1910 Indian Census it says they are Indian.  (Cherokee/ Negro 1/2 each)   1/8 then 3/8  - math did not add up.  Sometimes it said 11/16 - how did they figure that???

Shinnecock Indians in Suffolk County - mostly Indian and Black.
Upstate Seneca - most Indian
Virginia - Charles City - most were tri racial
1910  - Chicasaw - mathematical calculations were often grossly mis tallied.

Indians - New Jersey, Ok, PA, VA, Nc SC
Census' were first done in these states.

Missouri 1910 - St Louis Fillmore family first showed them as black, then later shows Minnehaha as mother.  Robert B Fillmore as Head - White
Powhatan if in Virginia - Osecola from Florida, Juanita, Robert Jur, Pocahontas was the baby girl.
Interesting naming convention.


Dawes Freedman Card will have the name of the slaveholder on it.

pick Tribe

Article 14 - TheTreaty of Dancing Rabbit - allowed many Choctaws to remain in Mississippi ifthey wished to become citizens.  They did not lose the Choctaw status - IDENTIFIED.  Some were revoked. - REJECTED

Something amazing is that they have multiple pedigree sheets an d the actual interview sheets with questions and answers.  This was for the Choctaws only.

25 mistakes you can make in Genealogy from Josh Taylor at Roots Tech 2016

A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it s committing another mistake

Learn from every mistake
mistakes can "change"
My mistake is not always yours

PAF - del*.* - erased the entire hard drive

Undelete?  Didn't exist in the 1970s.

Someone's father is also his son - don't merge the wrong people and make a continuous loop of inaccuracy.

1.  Software
One program? 
Features - Data sync - Changes to software

One software can't do it all.
Try different options and upload your GED to them.

One mistake - one big file?  problem  - you can get lost very easily.

Project/Family/Surname based trees
Each grandparent
Specific family project

Easier to sync
Multiple programs
Online trees.

Nothing goes into your tree without a proper document and documentation should verify the link.
This is a great rule. 

2)  Wrote my first book
Printed pedigree charts, Family group sheets, Narrative reports....

Mistake was no documents, no pictures, no stories.Think beyond the charts, names and tates.
The analysis and citations and the unconfirmed theories are crucial.

3)  Photo editing software

Extremely expensive
do we really need to spend the extra money?
Invest in education to learn how to do it properly.

Wrong idea was if it costs more it must be good.    Few examples are or go to a college to learn .  Adobe offers a free 13-hour Photoshop course for beginners.
Work with the manufacturer of whatever your new camera is.

4) Audio and Video

Why wait?
Start with YOU
Extended relatives
Why not hit record -  mobile devices

Take as many video and photographs as possible - don't miss the moment - don't miss the story.
Google Hangouts, periscope, skype, smart voice recorder, iPhone recorder

5)  Having a sync plan

Laptop, desktop, tablet and phone?
Cloud computing?
Google Drive
Online tree offline tree

What is your plan to sync all the options - Duplicate file system - sync folders, cloud based, consistency, timing and naming.  nameageyear

6) Apps are for everyone

Business technologies applied to genealogy
Solutions to organize and share data
A few examples
Trello:  task management filters and tags, shared tasks project management

Glorified to-do list
Priorities, projects and more
Share with Others
Mobile World
Internet Browser

7)  User Reviews

the "Yelp" generation - I should have used the ones with 5 stars -
Examine the reviewer
Other reviews
Social Media
General Google

Best review I've seen has 3-4 stars - more objective
Actual look at the reviewer to see if they always give all 5s or all 1s

8) Online trees as storage

Caveat:  I love online trees
Family Search

However I can't put it all on one tree - Benefits are Sharing, automated searching, Central repository.
Drawbacks:  negative evidence, analysis automated linking

My solution was - project should be family based, Genealogy alerts,  Use a research tool vs a permanent storage option.
Are Trees really the best way to keep our family history?  What about scrapbooks? Bound books?

9)  email addresses

I used to use the same email addressed for everything suddenly my private public and genealogy life.  Online orders and subscriptions, Protect security and privacy
Same email service.

Personal email, genealogy email - alias accounts for a domain name or

Orders email

10) Online research logs

The breadcrumb trail - tracking your progress, planning your search
Use it as a to do list.

Expand your research log
Databases, JSTOr
Archive finder

Avoid duplication,analyze your approach, evaluate progress, create new searches.
Use a spread sheet with Excel - incude domains website subscription level date
log your logins and passwords - easy to forget

What to include
Search details - keywords, quotations parenthesis Asterisks, Auto-corrections

11)  One online subscription
Newspapers, scholarly publications, historical context

12) Too many subscriptions
Research focus, usability, other means of access, public library, family history center
Set a budget - consider current research need - evaluate from research log

13) Ebay
Online auctions - treasures for genealogists - books, family bibles family artifacts photographs
set up alert - swiping tools - watch your spending.

14  Your own website
Terrific idea if you have the skill set and the time to keep it update

Use online message boards and other ways to - check out internet archaeology behold the most hilarious abandoned sites.

Use Social Media, store it all in multiple locations online.

15)  The public Library
 More than books, digital collections, newspapers, databases - we forget about them.  Need to re discover them.

Cleveland necrology file - obituaries - great location
National Library of Ireland

16) State Archives
Resources at state archives,
online goldmines
not typically indexed.   see Mary Refugio Carpenter diary 1861 - Civil War Collection Items

Georgia has a virtual vault and a Microfilm Collection.  Virginia has a lost Records Localities Database from missing and burned reconstructed documents
Maryland - has all of the early land records and probrate records 1707 to 1710

TRY google search digital collections
New Jersey State Archives
Ohio public Records Index

17)  Search Engines

Beyond Google?  Database wall - Societies - Private archives Other Institutions.
It might just show you the way to find it but doesn't take you right to it.
Archivegrid - might not be google-able.

18.  Changes

Don't waste a lot of time complaining about changes - we are the minority, roll back?  Longer timeline? 

Solution - Don't wait too long to upgrade - technology will move past you - watch for workarounds, favorites and bookmarks, appropriate feedback, social media, direct contact.

19)  Old Technology

Throw out - user manuals - floppy disks - older computers

Solution - recycle and or reuse - dontate - copy and migrate - digitize and preserve

20)  Converting file formats

We all do it
Frequently used files - word documents - genealogy software and easy to forget

Solution - develop a system - keep every;thing in sync

21) labeling pictures
 - at import/ save - be consistent
DSCN006.jpg - wrong
Develop a system
Label and Tag
Meta data

22)  Preserving email

"Sent" items and attachments
Automated backup
Condense to save space
Organize "sent" folder
Save attachments separately

23)  Backups

Need to be consistent do it one day each week
Check automation
Backup the backup
Multiple spaces

solution - go beyond the files - installation files too - codes, manuals, software, software and hings, product keys,

24)  L O C K S S

Lots of copies keeps stuff safe
Paper and digital life
External hard drives
friends and family

25)  Desktop Computer
To keep or not to keep?
Multiple Monitors
Processing speed
Other features


Try to avoid these things.....

Looking for the Wife:
If you have your name as Cindy Jensen 1880 (maiden name) and you don't know her father.  Do not just put Jensen 1860, as "something to fill in the blank" until you can find the real date for the father.

Instead, look in the same area for a 1890 census with Cindy as a 10 year old daughter.  Find the right father name and then put it into your tree.

Guessing and propelling you forward into inaccuracy for pride....
If you do not know the name for Mr. James Jones' wife, and you are just itching to put at least something instead of nothing so you can brag that you went back one more generation.  Avoid it.

How do databases work?
The way databases work is they keep looking for information until they have some viable options to present.  If the first name field is filled with Mrs.....and the last name is filled with Jones, that is INCORRECT.

First of all Mrs Jones is really  "a first name" _________ "a last name - maiden name" ___________.
Better to leave them BLANK and watch for Hints than to also say Mrs. James Jones.  Same problem.
Just avoid doing this please.

Don't just click on a name without looking at these things....
When is the mother's birth?  Was she in birthing years? (12-45)
Was the mother born before the child -  wow - you have no idea how many people just click without checking this -

Many times we will come across Mother was born 1835 - died 1735  Daughter was born in 1820.
Really?  Just jot it all down and look at it to see if it all makes sense. 

Don't rely on Family Lore. 
Aunt Ethyl may have been a terrific story teller, but genealogy without proper documentation can be a lot like the telephone game.  As the story progresses beyond the years, it changes subtly each time it is told.

Use:  Birth Certificates, Death Certificates, Milennial Records, Census Data, Probate, Wills, Obituaries.  Each of these have a paper documenting the life that you can attach to the record.

Making German Genealogy easier - Rootstech 2016 notes

 Indicators should start with

Oral TRadition
Family Bible
Naturalization Documents
Marriage Certificate
Grave Marker
Letter from the Old Country
The name (first or last ) how it looks or sounds in German

1850 is when the census data started to say exactly where they were born and where they were living when they applied to be a US citizen

Start with the Courts - Federal documents vary from state to state - find more info at FamilySearch Wiki   on naturalization

Marriage Certificates - even if they came as a child to the US.  It can still be in the church (parish) where they attended or German Records - but first try to pinpoint where they originated.

Grave Marker - The tombstone in Germany is there for 20-30 years then the lease is up and the markers are removed and the place where they were buried will be made available to another tenant of the cemetery.


Letters from the Old Country
If you family has kept them in the attic or old trunk, try to decipher where they came from

The Name - Look at the First and the last - the enumerators did not write them as they would in Germany.  the enumerators in Germany wrote in German.
The US census takers wrote phonetically and didn't clarify or verify as they wrote until 1850 to current.

Check with the library where Obituaries are kept.  In Ohio and INdiana, we were able to find a translator and the Obituary cracked the ancestry wide open.

After the first World War it was against the law to to speak in German.


US Federal Census Records
After 1850 - quite a bit of detail - it will also say where their parents came from as well.
Birth/Marriage/Death Certificates
Grave Stone
Ellis Island/ Castle Garden Records and other ports of entry
Hamburger Passenger Lists

Before Ellis Island, they landed at Castle Garden.  Check the website and it will list your ancestors if not at Ellis Island.  Also check Philadelphia, Baltimore, Louisiana, etc.,

You have two bites with the same apples - they had to register with the authorities there and then went out through La Habra France or Amsterdam, then later Bremen.

In the 1920s someone destroyed a lot of the Breman data.  Also check Hamburg.  Very often it will tell you the farm, village, town that they came from


Genealogical Societies
Databases from FamilySearch and it's partners

Geogen Onlinedienst
The mapping shows light to dark based on concentration of population.

Gazetteers:  What to they contain

geographical coordinates
Local political jurisdiction
Population size
local major industry
Protestant, Catholic and Jewish parishes the respective community belongs to.

Use the 1913 edition

It will also tell you where the civil registry was located and you will be able to find other records like birth/death/marriage/probate  free website

If it is in an expanded border to Poland, the website will help you to find it's new name in the new location.  where to go when you have part of the name from tattered documents.  If you know just part of the name that you can see -
for Hamburg - put Ham* - using a wildcard, it will fill in the rest of the word and the stars will tell you the likelihood of correct connection.

CASPAR WOLF marries Maria Ursula ARNDT

In Gerstheim, Alsace/Bas-Rhin

On 8 October 1757 - when they put in ot* it gave some ideas of other towns


When you look it on the google map, they are only 3 miles apart divided by a river in France not Germany

GenWiki Main Menu    FREE

Produced by the German Society of Computer Enthusiasts and dedicated genealogists  FREE

Gives you different ideas where to search in Germany

Genealogical Societies and Archivers
Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbande   FREE

Each town has it's own website

Ortsfamilienbucher - group of concerned citizens and digitize the records - they don't get paid for it.  They reconstruct the entire family by marriage

buy the book  - try

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