Cleaning Up Is Hard To Do… But, Necessary

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!

Working the Dead Ends

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.

From the Southern Adventist University

Some others are:

*

Acts as a wildcard and will match any word or phrase.

Example: christmas*trees 

( )

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

define:

A dictionary built into Google. 

Example: define:entrepreneur

cache:

Returns the most recent cached version of a web page (old version of a web page) (providing the page is indexed, of course).

Example: cache:samsung.com

site:

Limit results to those from a specific website.

Example: site:samsung.com

related:

Find sites linked to a given domain.

Example: related:samsung.com

intitle:

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.

Example: intitle:samsung

allintitle:

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

Jožef Fugina

Katharina Ilić 

Andreas Henning 

Maria Kriese

Franz Sierotzki’s family

Josephine(a) Tesmer

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!

Getting the Most Out of Indexes and Hints

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.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Family History Research

To get the most out of your family history takes time. You need to research and verify facts and sources. Sometimes you need to order documents. But, what you get out of it is so much more than the time and money you spend. It helps you to understand your family members a little bit more, and it may just help you to understand yourself a bit too.

And, don’t underestimate your children. As I explained in my Family History for Children blog, children are very curious and avid learners of their history. A good age, in my opinion, is about 4th grade.

There are many online programs out there to help you find records but do not ignore the many other outlets that can help you. I have reached out to many other researchers and genealogists in the past to help guide me in the right direction. Some I have hired to look up documents for me in a place I was not able to go to myself. Also, see my post on using Facebook to help you in your research.

Maybe you are not curious enough about your family roots to spend hours digging through historical databases. That is where Family History Researchers like myself can help.

At www.loganalogy.com, there are many ways in which I can assist you in your family history research. I not only blog about my ancestors and family research in general, but I also offer other services.

An online genealogy basics class, I provide one-on-one tutoring as well as group tutoring in the Clay County, FL area, online consultations, and I offer my Family History Research Specialist service.

So, visit me at www.loganalogy.com today, and let’s build something together!

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