Sometimes it is the answers you do not find. A couple of months ago, I received an email from a man in the UK looking for an old friend who he heard had passed away here in America. At first, I didn’t answer thinking it was one of those scams, “You’ve inherited $5000 lbs from Uncle Larry.” In addition, I research family history, not long lost friends. However, he wrote again and his story piqued my interest.
His friend was a psychiatric nurse in the UK and used to travel to America through his work. This friend also changed his surname, maybe by deed poll, from his birth surname to his adopted surname. Tragically he died while in America, his friend heard, by being hit by a train or hit by train shrapnel.
“TH” (alias for the person who contacted me) thought the incident was bizarre and had contacted his friend’s brother, but the brother wouldn’t discuss anything with him, further adding to the mystery. The brother traveled from England to America to take care of the details when he died, but “TH” doesn’t believe the body was brought back to the UK. With only an approximate birth year to go on, I looked through all my resources, newspapers.com, etc., and found no mention of this friend or incident. Without knowing where his friend died, it was fruitless. “TH” continued his research from his end and wrote me again a few weeks later.
“TH” had found out that his friend had died in New Jersey. Thanks to “Reclaim the Records“, he was able to find the death index. That in turn gave him the exact birth and death of his friend. With that information, I found his friend’s birth parents and confirmed that the record pertained to the right person. “TH” was close to the information he provided but forgot that our date formats are different than theirs.
I still could not find a newspaper article on the incident. Curious about the name change, I wrote the National Archives of the United Kingdom to search their deed polls. A “Remote Enquiries Duty Officer” emailed me right back and explained that he could not find a deed poll entry for a name change for “TH’s” friend. The gentleman also explained that “Changes of name by deed poll are only recorded officially if a fee is paid to have the deed enrolled in court – not many people do this and so there is often no official record other than the original deed poll issued to the person themselves.”
With further research, I found he was issued his social security number in Arkansas in 1988, but could find no further records. Next, I wrote the New Jersey State Library and the researcher was very kind. She had access to the Morristown Daily Record from 1995. She tried several different searches to see if she could find an obituary or article about either the train accident or an obituary for him but did not come across anything. Doing a general search for “train accident”, “hit by a train”, or “train” for June 6, 1995, and broadly for June 1995 did not have any results. She also did a general search in NJ Newspapers via NewsBank as well and did not find anything either.
I then heard back from the New Jersey History and Genealogy Center. They too searched different newspapers from 1995 and could find nothing on the friend or any mention of a train accident or similar. Could it be that this isn’t how he died? Unfortunately, because “TH” is not a relative, he cannot obtain a copy of the death certificate.
I built a family tree in my Ancestry account and found their biological parents, but no hits so far.
Now I have two questions, 1) Did he really die by train? 2) Why won’t his brother share the specifics with “TH”?
The hunt continues…
This was out of my realm, but very interesting for me as I love mysteries and researching. Investigative Genetic Genealogy is the popular way to solve crimes now due to DNA and it is very intriguing. However, not only can it be used to solve crimes but, I believe it can solve family history mysteries and help adopted parents or children, etc.
But for able to get into this part of genealogy, I need more practice in the genetic part and Reverse Genealogy. I hope to broaden my research skills and do just that!
Wish me luck!
Updated 7/31/2022– I recently watched an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” in which actress Allison Janney is tracing her family. In the episode they trace her ancestor, Stephen Hopkins who was caught in a hurricane on the Sea Venture and ended up stranded in Bermuda. The ship’s name kept nagging at me. I kept telling my mom, “I know this story or something regarding the Sea Venture.” Well, below is the story of my ancestry and the Sea Venture!
The Sea Venture, also known as the Third Supply, was the flag ship for a flotilla of six hundred men (and women and livestock) on six ships and two pinnaces. On the 23rd of July, a hurricane separated the Sea Venture, with it’s captain, Christopher Newport from the other ships. The ship started taking on water after four days, and thankfully was able to make it to land on an island; the Bermuda’s. All of the passengers, about 140 men and women, landed safely, although the ship was wrecked between two reefs. Allison Janney’s ancestor was one of those men.
Ruby Chapman Wescott’s line took me back to Jamestowne. (The original colonial spelling for Jamestowne included the “e.” That spelling is used here when referring to historic Jamestowne).
To revisit the history of Jamestowne, I’ll just give this paragraph:
“In June of 1606, King James I granted a charter to a group of London entrepreneurs, the Virginia Company, to establish an English settlement in the Chesapeake region of North America. In December of that year, 104 settlers sailed from London with Company instructions to build a secure settlement, find gold, and seek a water route to the Pacific. The traditional telling of early Jamestown history portrayed those pioneers as ill-suited for the task. But 20 years of archaeological research at the site of James Fort suggests that Captain Bartholomew Gosnold and many of the artisans, craftsmen, and laborers who accompanied the gentlemen leaders made every effort to build a successful colony. On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed on Jamestown Island to establish an English colony 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.” —- You can read this and more at https://historicjamestowne.org/history/history-of-jamestown/
This leads us to Alice, last name unknown. Alice is my 11th great-grandmother. Alice’s first husband was Thomas Pierce. Both were born in England around 1585. They had a daughter named Elizabeth. I need to tell you a little of Thomas’ history in order to understand Alice’s.
Thomas Pierce was the Sergeant at Arms of the first legislative assembly of Virginia which met on July 30, 1619. The First House of Burgesses by Kate Langley Bosher
Thomas arrived on the “Margaret” which sailed for Virginia.
Update: 4/27/19- Through my wonderful Isle of Wight Facebook Group, someone was able to provide me with page 545 from the book Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635 by Martha W. McCartney. In it, it states that Thomas was indeed on the “Margaret” on 15 Sep 1619 which set sail for Bristol and
It is assumed that he traveled with his wife Alice and daughter Elizabeth. Thomas appears to have been a relative of Lt. William Pierce, of the “Sea Venture” (1609), who served under George Yeardley, Captain of the Governor’s Company of soldiers. His daughter, Jane Pierce, was the third wife of John Rolfe (who was also on the “Sea Venture”), you know, the guy who married Pocahontas.
Thomas Pierce established the plantation south of Martin’s Hundred along the upper side of the James River. On March 22, 1622, the Indians attacked throughout the colony, then known as the English Colony of Virginia. In history, it is now known as the Indian Massacre of 1622. The colony’s tobacco economy led to constant expansion and seizure of Powhatan lands, which ultimately provoked a violent reaction according to Wood, Origins of American Slavery (1997), p. 72.
Thomas Pierce , his wife, child, two other men and a French boy were officially reported as killed at this plantation.
At Mr. Thomas Pierce his House over against Mulberry Island.
Master Tho: Pierce,
John Hopkins, (could he be related to Ms. Janney’s Stephen?)
A French Boy.
Named by the first colonists for its dense population of wild mulberry trees, Mulberry Island shows up in some of the earliest maps of Virginia as well as the writings of Capt. John Smith.
It is not known exactly how, but Alice and her daughter apparently survived the attack and it is thought they were two of the twenty captives that were ransomed from the Indians. The only other of these twenty who have been identified are Mrs. Boyce and Jane Dickenson, both widows of men slain at Martin’s Hundred. These captives were held for about ten months.
The following is a paragraph wildly spread on the internet, but has been proven false by many history sites such as Chauco (Chanco) Virginia Indian.
In fact, it is more realistic to believe what is written on Historynet’s website:
These female colonists, perhaps 20 in all, were virtually the only captives taken by the Powhatans in the uprising. Few details of their ordeal have survived, and information about their lives is almost nonexistent. In fact, we may never know if they shared the fascinating, if often horrifying, adventures of more well-known Indian captives in American history. It is certain, however, that these women witnessed the violent deaths of neighbors and loved ones before being abducted; that they lived with their enemies while the English ruthlessly attacked Indian villages in retaliation; and that they received no heroes’ welcome upon their return to the colony.
No matter how she survived, she did because by October 10, 1624 Alice had married Thomas Bennett, my 11th great-grandfather. Alice Bennett was a witness before the General Court at the trial of John Proctor for cruelty to his servants. She was sworn and examined as to the beating of Elizabeth Abbott, serving maid of Mr Proctors, and stated that she found her by the waterside by Mr Burrow’s plantation lying behind a boat wrapped in a rug. Whereupon this examinat, with Her Husband and Richard Richards carryed her and delivered her to her master. Anthony Barham swore that he saw Mr Proctor strike Elias Hinton one of his servants. (VA Mag., 19, p. 389) (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 289)
At General Court in October 1624, Elizabeth Pierce chose her father in law (step father), Thomas Bennett, as her guardian. (VA Mag 20, p. 155). She was unmarried then because John Filmer to who she was engaged had just died and left all his property to her. This was the reason for her choosing a guardian. It is probable that this Elizabeth Pierce afterwards married Anthony Barham. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 290)
Alice is again shown in the following records. The name Jackson is from Elizabeth marrying Richard Jackson.
1642: June 10, 1642, George Hardy received a grant of 300 acres on the easternmost side of Lawne’s Creek adjacent to Alice Bennett (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)
1642: 19 Jun 1642, John Stocker patented 200 acres adjoining Mr Hardy’s land and the widow Bennett. (Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight Co, VA, by John Bennett Boddie p. 293)
1647: 19 Jul 1647…Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson and Sarah Jackson, the daughters of Richard Jackson…150 acres of land. Alice(X)Bennett
1647: DB A P 4, 19 Jul 1647 Alice Bennett to Mary Jackson & Sarah Jackson, the dtrs of Richard Jackson, 150 Acres land. (to be possessed immediately after my death) , the land & housing on the S/S of the swamp to Mary; the land on the other side to Sarah. Sig: Alice (X) Bennett Wts: Edwd. X Garrett, James Piland. (Isle of Wight Co. VA, Deeds 1647-1719, Court Orders 1693-1695 and Guardian Accounts 1740-1767 abstracts by William Lindsay Hopkins)
From the Jamestowne Society’s website are names of “Qualifying Ancestors”.
The Richard Bennett above is not our Richard. Thomas Bennett is ours and he is the father of our Richard Bennett (not listed) who is the son of Alice and Thomas and half-brother to Elizabeth.
The internet and genealogical websites are full of misinformation as far as the Richard Bennett’s are concerned. Our 10th great-grandfather is the Richard Bennett, Sr. of Isle of Wight, VA. The other Richard Bennett is of Nanesmond County, VA, the Governor of Virginia from 1652-55. The confusion lies in that both of them have father’s named Thomas who came from England. The governor is about thirteen years older than our Richard and they are both connected to Jamestowne.
Thomas Bennett was also a member of the House of Burgesses as he represented Mulberry Island in 1632. Burgess Journals 1619-59, pg. xiii.
Records were destroyed in the Civil War so nothing more is known about Thomas except what was found in the will of Anthony Barham, who was one of Elizabeth’s husbands. Because of this will, we can trace his descendants.
You can read more about their neighbors and relatives and how they all connect in the Seventeenth Century Isle of Wight County, Virginia: A History of the County … By John Bennett Boddie
Richard Bennett, Jr., my 9th great-grandfather, was born June 1, 1644, in Isle of Wight, Virginia. He married Ann, last name unknown, and they had five children. Again, you can read about all five in the above link.
He made his will on March 3, 1720:
Will of Richard Bennett Jr.
Isle Of Wight County, Virginia
March ye 3rd Day 1720 In the Name of God Amen. Rich’d Bennett in ye upper parish of Isle of Wight County in Virginia being sick & weak in body yet in perfect memory thanks be to God for it Do therefore do make this my Last Will & Testament as followith-first I Commit my soul to God our Heavenly Father trusting to be saved by Jesus Christ our only Saviour and my body on Earth to be Decently Buried & as for my worldly Goods I bestow as followith
I Give and bequeath unto my son Richd Bennett to him & his heirs lawfully begotten of his body two hundred acres of Land & over it being Land where on my Son Richard now lives
I give & bequeath unto my son James with ye other two hundred acres of Land where on he now lives. I lay to him & to his heirs lawfully begotton of his Body forever it is a Coveyance of four hundred acres of Land I bought of Mr John Coffers pattin of Land being fourteen hundred & fifty acres
1 Give & bequeath unto Jane Coffer & her two sons Rob Coffer & John Coffer to them & their heirs Lawfully of their body for ever my plantation and land whereon I now live I lay to them & to their heirs for ever it being part of Land Which was bought formerly of Mr Wm Miles
I Give and bequeath unto Jane Coffer a small trunk & a Gold Ring and a Great Iron pot
I Give & bequeath to Rich Coffer my Long Gun
I Give & bequeath to Magdalen Coffer one Great pewter Dish and one Great Basin
I Give and bequeath to Francis Manggum my Gran Daughter a feather Bed & all ye belongs to it 2
I Give and bequeath unto my Daughter Silvester a Couple of Dishes & a Couple of plates
furthermore I do appoint Jane Coffer & Wm Allen to be my full and whole Exct to pay my Debts & to Receive what is owing to me & when these my Debts being paid ye rest of my Goods within Doores and outDoores to be Equally Divided amongst my Children
Desiring this my trusty friends Jno & James Carter to See this my Last Will & testament fulfilled In Witness here of I sett my hand & Seal Rich’d R Bennett (Seal)
Richard Jr.’s daughter, Ann Bennett, married John Coffer circa 1699, my 8th great grandparents. You can continue this line by reading my previous blog post, The Cofer/Copher Families- Part 2.
Inside the fort at Jamestown, in the cellar seen just below the back wall of a stone foundation, archaeologists found a pendant that dates to the Virginia colony’s earliest years. A seventeenth-century church tower and the 1907 tercentenary obelisk are also seen. ~website at history.org
As always, if you see anything amiss, let me know. Until next time…
If you need research assistance, do not hesitate to contact me.
Your Family Tree Research Specialist
(Variations of spelling: Calbreath, Colbath, Colbreath, Galberth, Galbreath, Galbreth, Gilbraith, Gilbreath, Gilbreth, Gilreath, Kilbreath, Kilbreth, Kulbeth)
According to the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scots-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, MD, MA, the Galbraiths were from a remote part of Stirling, Scotland in the “Parish of Baldunoch.”
“A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 1” states that In Frazer’s statistical account of the inhabitants of the Isle of Gigha, the following occurs: “The majority of them are of the names of Galbraith and McNeill, the former reckoned the more ancient. The Galbraiths in the Gaelic language are called Breatannich, that is Britons, or the children of Briton, and were once reckoned a great name in Scotland according to the following lines translated from the Gaelic:
“Galbraiths from the Red Tower, Noblest of Scottish surnames.”
My Galbraith line starts with Martha, my 3rd great-grandmother, born about 1800. And, according to the Pennsylvania Vital Records, Vol. II and Lineage Book : NSDAR : Volume 164 : 1921, married John Stitt on 23 October 1817. According to the same DAR Lineage Book, her father was John Galbraith and her mother was Anne, last name unknown. They married about 1786.
John’s parents were James and Martha McClelland, as the lineage shows. The lineage book also states, “James Galbraith was county lieutenant with the rank of colonel, 1777, and also served as private in the Pennsylvania troops under Colonels Miles, Bull, and Butler. He was born in Cumberland County; died, 1802, in Pennsylvania.”
I have not been able to find anything more about John, but his father was James, born about 1743 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, according to the DAR lineage and the Sons of the American Revolution. He married Martha McCelland about the year 1760. He was a captain in William Peebles company in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania March, 1776.
In the Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German by William Henry Egle, 1886, it states, James Galbraith ,5 (John ,4 Andrew ,3 James ,2 John ,1) born about 1741 ; died prior to 1790 ; was county lieutenant of Cumberland county in 1777 ; a soldier of the Pennsylvania Line in the Revolution; in 1783 , resided in “Washington borough , near Carlisle ;” married Martha McClellan , daughter of John McClellan ,* of Donegal .
James’ father was John born about 1717. (notice the names alternating and staying in the family).
John married Jennet McCullough about 1742. Not much is known about this John either.
His father was Andrew born about 1692 and married to Mary Kyle.
Andrew Galbraith,3 (James,2 John,1) was born about 1692 in the North of Ireland; came to America with his father, and settled along the run which has its source at Donegal meeting house, now Lancaster County, Pa., in the year 1718. Upon the organization of the county of Lancaster, he was appointed the first coroner, afterwards, in 1730, one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, a position he held six years. In 1732, he and his neighbor, John Wright, were candidates for the General Assembly. At that time, none but freeholders were allowed to vote, and the only polling place was the town of Lancaster, where all voters were obliged to go. Mr. Galbraith took no active part in the canvass himself, but his wife mounted her favorite mare, Nelly, and rode out through the Scotch-Irish settlement, and persuaded them to go with her to the county town. She appeared at the court-house leading a procession of mounted men, whom she halted and addressed. The effect was that her husband was triumphantly elected. After his first election, he seems to have had no opposition. He took out a patent for two hundred and twelve and one half acres, May 2, 1737; and was one of the first ruling elders of the old Donegal church; appointed a justice of the peace in 1730, a position he held until 1747, when he removed west of the Susquehanna; he served several years in the Provincial Assembly, and was one of the most prominent of the pioneer settlers–a safe and trustworthy officer. After the year 1746, when he disposed of his farm, very little is recorded concerning him. (Pennsylvania Genealogies: Chiefly Scotch-Irish and German. William Henry Egle, 1886.)
Andrew’s father, James, is thought to have been born in Donegal, Ireland about 1666 and emigrated about 1718. He was one of the founders of the Old Derry Church. He was said to be a “man of prominence.” James married Rebecca Chambers about 1689.
He died 23 Aug 1744 at age 78.
James’ father was John, wife unknown. He was born about 1646, born in Baldunoch, Stirling County, Scotland. It is thought that he died before the emigration of his sons, James and John.
From William Gilbreath of the Clan Galbraith Facebook group:
We do not know if James of 1666 was born in Ireland but he came from there in 1718. We don’t know that his father was John and we have failed to link James back to the first Galbraith family of Ireland, who arrived there abut 1613. Our last Chief from Culcreuch fled to Ireland in about 1625 and left living sons in Scotland who might have lines to the present. We are pretty sure that Group 1 links back to the 1400s at Culcreuch–but we do not know if the Chiefs maintained the DNA into the future (or past to Bretnach of 1150).
From Dana Love same group:
We know the two groups have the same YDNA Haplogroup and most of the same markers which leads us to believe they were related at some point, but they are several generations apart. We haven’t found any source documents to tie them together.
DNA has become an important tool in genealogical research, and as more people take the test, the number of matches increases, making it even more useful. Hopefully this will be true for these family lines.
Hello Followers. I wanted to check in with you since I have not written a blog in quite some time. The last real blog was March 19, so almost a month now. Like you, my family has been self-isolating. Not only from the virus but the crazier people who do not think it is a serious threat.
My son and I are both essential works so we have been working except for my Easter vacation. I am working four hours in the office and four hours at home. My son works all day in the warehouse. Neither of our companies allows outside visitors. We are both very careful as my mother, who is in her late 70s, lives with us.
Since I am working from home I have not had a lot of the extra family history time I see a lot of people talking about. But, I have tried to take advantage of the free sites and free records that have become available. It’s funny, some of the records I have run across have names that I could have used a couple of years ago. But, now I at least know I am on the right track.
I did have success with my 80 year old uncle’s tree. Back on Thanksgiving he was telling me about his brick wall with his grandparents on his mother’s side. Her father seems to have disappeared after deserting her and her brothers. The name he always went by with this family seems to actually be a nickname. In tracing the date of birth and his birthplace, we tracked down what we think is his real name.
With the help of the West Virginia Archives and History Library, we followed these coincidences and found all kinds of information on his family. But, until we find a document where he uses his nickname along with his real name, we cannot be 100% sure it is him. Or, until we can find some DNA matches. Once we entered his real name into our database, a whole slew of information and family members popped up. Including others on their public trees who seemed to have come to the same conclusion. And, here’s the kicker, it seems there is another family who this man deserted…under his real name. We hope to connect to this family to find some answers.
I’ve also been doing a lot of gardening, my other great passion. We had some umbrella palms start to take over so we had them pulled out, by the root balls. Little did I know a few years after I planted them, they would become evasive! They loved the wet clay soil, too much! I’ve since been filling the spaces in with some organic matter from my compost pile. I’ve also added a few pieces of cardboard and will mulch and soil over that. It’s like having a blank canvas to start planting in.
And, my flowers are blooming. Always a welcome sight and lifts the spirits. My garden is defintely a great boost for my mental health.
I cannot seem to concentrate enough to pull an ancestor story together for a blog, but I did want to check-in. I hope that you and your family are safe and well. As our ancestors did from their pandemics, this too shall pass.
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Basic Family History Class covers how to research your family tree, step-by-step. Please note, after the second Basic Family History Class — you will be sent access to the materials to review and refer back to, at your leisure. The class was designed with children in mind, but anyone is welcome to take the class.
The class is divided into five sessions and teaches how to start to trace an ancestor.
- How to start a family tree and where to look for clues for who your ancestors were, leading to who you are.
- How different people in your family are related, and how to make a pedigree chart.
- Using Zoom, I will guide you along the way and help you to organize your findings, locate different sources, and learn how to cite your research.
- There are many genealogy activities on the internet, but this class will allow you to ask questions in a virtual classroom.
We use Google Classroom for this class. Be sure to add the extension DocHub (free) to your Google Chrome in order to open and edit certain assignments.
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Well, I am still not closer to finding Abigail, although I do have a lot of feelers out. I am hoping I get a bite soon. Tracing Abigail has forced me to do something I kept reading about but didn’t think it applied to me. A research log. Yep, logging my research and tracking those I’ve contacted about an ancestor.
I didn’t think I needed it before; after all, isn’t that what my Ancestry database is there to do? Um, well, no. It sources and cites my findings once I actually find them. But, how do I keep from researching the same places maybe a year or so later? I log it!
There are many different kinds of research logs out there. Just Google, “Genealogy Research Logs,” and find one that is to your liking. I looked at a bunch and decided to make one on Google Sheets (Excel) that works for me. I named them by the person for easier access, as that is how I file other information; each person has their own electronic file.
Then I went through my emails and started logging. I know I have more and will add them as they come up. I try to use my outlook email for genealogy. But, my older contacts and older research was done through my yahoo account.
As I stated before, I’ve been cleaning up some older, researched ancestors. I feel pretty confident in at least my direct lines, that things are pretty clean, meaning the sources are there and facts are accounted for. I’ll need to do that with some of the non-direct ancestors as I come across them.
Another thing I have been working on as I clean up my sources is looking at older sources attached to my facts. I was able to locate some new (to me) information by looking over them again with more experienced eyes.
I also finished up my report for a client and sent her the latest descendant report. There is also another person who I help pro bono along the way. We private messenger each other now and then, and I give him pointers on where to look or how to navigate something. It is very satisfying being able people with their family history, whether it is to do the research for them or to tutor them on the way to experience their own journey.
Let me know how I can assist you. Message me now at m.me/Loganealogy
Thanks for reading! Make sure you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube!
If you’re reading this in hopes of getting great clues on finding your brick walls, do not get too excited. I do have a few for you, though.
Today I searched more of my dead ends using some techniques given to me on my Twitter page where I follow fellow family historians and professional genealogists. They provide some great tips and websites for research.
One such tip is getting the best out of Google™ searches called “Boolean Operators.” Here are some examples.
Some others are:
Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.
Group multiple terms or search operators to control how the search is executed.
Example: (christmas OR trees) decorations
Search for prices. Also works for Euro (€), but not GBP (£) 🙁
Example: Samsung $329
A dictionary built into Google.
Returns the most recent cached version of a web page (old version of a web page) (providing the page is indexed, of course).
Limit results to those from a specific website.
Find sites linked to a given domain.
Find pages with a specific word (or words) in the title. In our example, any results containing the word “samsung” in the title tag will be returned.
Similar to “intitle,” but only results containing all of the specified words in the title tag will be returned.
Example: allintitle:samsung android
Another excellent search tool in my research has been Google Books.
- Go to Google search
- Type a surname or subject and hit enter
- Click on the “More” menu
- Click on “Books”
- You can leave the search as is or click on “Any Books”
- Then click on “Google EBooks” to search for books online.
- Again, you can use the above Boolean Operators here.
I used these techniques today, searching for brick walls of mine and some of my clients, family, and friends. I was able to find some information that may help, but I have many names which have me stumped at the moment. Here is just a sample of my particular toughies:
Abigail Soper (cannot find proof of last name)
Daniel Logan’s marriage record to the above Abigail
Margaret Johnson Carr
Letitia Porterfield and John Rowan
John McMahan and Margaret Hargrove
Horace Case (could be John Horace Case)
Himan Chapman and his wife, Ann
Kezia(h) who married Isaac Burns
Williams Morrison and Christina Spiker
Charles William Davis and Eliza Wake’s parents
Franz Sierotzki’s family
Jesse Decatur Simmons (researching for my uncle) 😉
There are many more, but these are more of my frustrating names at this point. I hope those searching these same names will find this blog, and we can collaborate.
I have many, many emails to different historical societies, churches, and county clerks trying to gather information or possible avenues for me to search.
Another great tool to find older, archived items is https://archive.org/.
For instance, go to that website and type in the search engine, “Wood County, Ohio.” You get 1,147 results! Once you click a book or similar, you can then search inside the book itself.
And, always, always work sideways! Research the siblings, the aunts, the uncles, and cousins. You will be amazed at what you can find. You can even find others who are researching the same family.
So, do not give up, keep trying and dig, dig, dig. I have broken many brick walls, it has taken years sometimes, but it happened.
To all those that are reading, have a very Merry Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Ōmisoka, or other holiday you celebrate, or not. Make beautiful memories together and while you’re at it, write them down for your descendants!
Lately, I have been helping several people with their family history. One thing that they have all in common is the same issue I ran into when I first started. They did not take full advantage of the document hint that was given to them when they were researching.
For instance, a man and I had both located a census on his relative. He took it at face value, only looking at the page that, in this instance, Ancestry® had provided. It showed the page of his ancestor and their children. However, when I looked at the same document, I was able to find the wife’s family in the same census record. How? By using the back and forward arrows to look at the other pages in the census.
Most families tended to stay in the same neighborhood if not living together. In this case, they were neighbors. I’ve found where both sides of the family were neighbors up and down the street. Of course, with the inventions of cars, airplanes, and other transports, this won’t be the case for our generations and those that come after us; we move around more often.
Another common mistake is to look at the index only for information rather than looking at the whole record. For instance, take this death record of my great grandmother, Caroline Stitt Logan. The index shows her relevant details, such as her date of birth, date of death, etc.
But, if you click on the document, it shows her cause of death, the informant for the certificate (my great grandfather signed it), where they lived, where her parents were from, and where her burial was.
Another example is of this obituary that came up under Caroline’s name. If you only go by this index, then you would think that it is the obituary for Caroline, but it is not. It is for her father, William.
Click on the obit and look at all the information we have. It lists William’s father’s name and William’s children, with their married names.
The most fascinating records to do this with are passenger lists and immigration paperwork. Not only can the passenger list tell you where your ancestor is going, but it can tell you where they are from and whom they are visiting. Some immigration paperwork will list family names, birth dates, etc. You may even get a picture of the immigrant, depending on the time frame.
Dissect every document you can get your hands on. You never know what you may discover.
But, what if there is no image to click on when you find an index? Look at the film number or the “source information” at the bottom of the index. For instance, here is the index for Elizabeth Hennig.
There is no document to click on and dissect. But, there is “Source Information.”
The source information tells me that the original data can be found in FamilySearch. After pulling up FamilySearch.org, click on “Search” and then “Records.” Then “Restrict Records By” “Film Number.” Enter the film number found on the Ancestry index. In this case, it is film number 527772. Once there, you click on the link it provides and then the film number from the index.
Click on the magnifying glass next to the record your researching, in this case, the 527772.
It would help if you remembered that humans indexed and scanned these records. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to how they scanned in the images. If you are lucky, they are by date, but sometimes they are scanned in randomly. It would serve you well if you were patient.
Then go back, as have been doing, and look at older records that you may have placed an index hint to and see if you can get more information out of that source. You may be surprised!
Good luck! Let me know if you need assistance.
Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, and it is also a great way to reconnect with family as well. Yesterday I took my mother to her sister’s house for Thanksgiving. All her siblings were there too. Mom is seventy-six, but has been sick for the last couple of years and hasn’t visited face to face with them.
It was a pleasant visit. My two aunts and my uncle were there. My son, mom, and I. My cousin, his wife, and children came. We Facetimed with his brother, wife, and cousin who are out of the country. And, we also spoke with another cousin on the phone who is out of state. Isn’t technology grand?
My uncle has been researching his own family history for decades. He has run into the proverbial brick wall with his great grandfather. I asked him to send me the name, and I would see what I could find out if anything. My uncle also spoke to me about passing on his research to either his children or his grandchildren. He is 80 and is having some medical issues and, therefore, would like to make sure his research lives on.
He thinks one of his grandaughters is interested, but like me at her age, they are not just into family history just yet. I am hoping that she does find the bug and at least makes sure his ancestry is preserved for generations to come.
That is why I keep telling my son specific stories I find that I think will pique his interest. I want him to preserve my ancestry research too.
Everyone should have at least one family historian in their family. It is a vital way to keep our history alive!
If you need help with your research, visit https://loganalogy.com/family-tree-research-specialist/. I also offer one on one and group tutoring as well as consults. Helping you find your ancestry is my passion.