Ogden Family History Conference/2018/syllabus

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Ackerson, Ginny - Back Door and Rear Window Research Strategies[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Ginny Ackerson groovifamily@msn.com 801-489-4994

Trace siblings or other relatives to track down your own family.

* Probate records of relatives often mentioned people and their relationship to the decedent. (Check all probate records in the docket, not just the will. Even when there is no will there may be documents that frequently mention heirs, their relationship and their addresses.)

Example: A friend needed to prove that her grandfather was the son of a particular man so she could get her DAR application approved. Unfortunately, he didn’t appear in any records with his father; however his father did appear in a census with a daughter. Probate records of the daughter mentioned her brother by name and relationship and so the link was proven.

* There may be a birth, death, marriage or christening record available for a sibling that will give parent’s names including the maiden name of the mother.

Example: On the 1900 census Jessie Stewart appears with her family, but her mother’s maiden name was unknown. No birth record for her existed in that county or any of the counties nearby. However a birth record was found for her younger brother who also appeared on the 1900 census which listed the mother’s maiden name.

* Local histories, especially those written in earlier years, and old obituaries may contain mention of family members.

Example: Martin came over from Germany at a young age with his parents, but we could not find reference to where in Germany he was born or what his mother’s maiden name was. Excerpts from a lengthy and detailed obituary for Martin’s brother, William, filled many voids in his history. … “William Frederick Sette, son of Martin Federick Sette and his wife Carolyn, nee Meyer, was born at Zorndorf, Province of Brandenburg, Germany, March 17, 1852, and at the age of three years came to America with his parents when they settled on what is known as the Sette homestead in the

Town of Clyman in the year 1855…. Following their marriage in 1876, Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Sette lived for many years on the Clyman homestead, where Mr. Sette's father Martin, died in April 1894, and his mother, Carolyn, followed in death in May 1911…. Mr. Sette also took over the interests of his brother Martin in the Juneau Telephone Company and was an officer of that corporation until the rural communications line was later sold to the Wisconsin Telephone Company.”

* People tended to immigrate and migrate with family and friends. If you lose a relative or cannot find their place of origin try checking in areas where other relatives or former neighbors have moved to or from. Some good articles and websites on American migration patterns: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gentutor/migration.html http://www.cyndislist.com/migration.htm http://books.google.com/books?id=rtRFyFO4hpEC&pg=PA246&lpg=PA246&dq=pioneer+settle

ment+patterns+in+the+united+states&source=web&ots=IhxUwiAEYt&sig=-HSrPe- jKMNLfcmvrMqenzB4pXk&hl=en#PPP1,M1

* Searching for children in a family can often locate the family in the census or other records when searching for the parents failed.

Use alternate spellings for names and places. Be aware of the frequent use of nicknames.

* Soundex Converter websites can help to give many possibilities of alternate spellings for names. The first one in the list below is especially helpful. Be careful as some similar sounding names that are used interchangeably such as Rogers, Roggers and Rodgers and Jerrold and Gerald have different Soundex codes.

Example: George W. Gerald’s surname was listed as Jerrold in the 1860 census, Gerald in the 1870 census, Gerold in the 1880 census, and Girald in the 1900 census.

Example: For many years Betty searched for her great grandfather, Noah Rogers but was unable to find him in the census, even when using the Soundex option in the search field. Once the spelling was changed to Rodgers, she found him and she was able to go back ten generations with the information that she found.

Some online Soundex converters are: http://resources.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/soundexconverter http://searches.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/Genea/soundex.sh http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/3916/soundex.html

* Less is more… use the first three letters in a name for online index searches. You will get all the Embrey, Embry, Embree, Embrie, Embriegh, Embury, Embery entries by typing in “Emb” then using a wild card symbol such as *. If you are looking for a name such as Johnson but don’t know whether it is spelled with an o or an e you could type in Johns*n and get all of them. Not all search engines use the * as a wild card so check to see which wild card symbol they use.

* First name searches can be really effective if you are unable to locate the person by their surname.

Example: We searched in the 1860 census for Tabitha Haines, born about 1825 in MS, who was living with her daughter, Barbara, born about 1850 in MS in the Lincoln, LA 1880 census. We used Tab*, born 1825 +/- 5 years in MS and got 9 hits, none of them with the surname Haines. The 5th hit was the right one with Tabitha Cathe, born 1825 in MS, and her daughter, Barbara Cathe, born about 1850 in MS currently living in Yazoo, MS.

* Finding people listed only by their initials can be challenging. If you have checked the index and not found them listed, try doing just a surname search in the specific area you are searching, then checking every entry.

* Get familiar with nicknames associated with more formal names. https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Traditional_Nicknames_in_Old_Documents_-_A_Wiki_List

* If you find in a record that a person was born in a particular place but you

can’t find it, the place name may have been misspelled. You can Google the name and very often Google will say “Did you mean….” And the correct spelling will appear. You could also go to the Family History Library Catalog, enter the larger jurisdiction you are looking for, click on “View Related Places” and scroll down until you find the sought after place.

Example: A record said that John died in Stillacum, Pierce County, Washington but no such place is found on a map of Pierce County. Googling it produced “Did you mean Steilacoom, WA?” and in the Library Catalog, scrolling down the towns in Pierce County also produces “Steilacoom”.

* Be aware of local pronunciation of place names.

Example: My Nana always said her mother was born in Windham, Norfolk, England. Look, though I might, there was no such place. One day, whilst talking to a cousin she said her great aunt was also born in Windham. I told her I couldn’t find the place and asked her to show me on a map. The parish was spelled “Wymondham” but was pronounced “Windham”.

Disprove possible candidates.

If you have more than one person with the same name in the same time period and the same place and you can’t determine from the information you have who is the correct one, use as many sources as you can to eliminate one or more of the candidates.

Example: I have 5 William Brooks’ in one generation on my pedigree. During this time period there are 4 William Brooks’ in the census records, multiple land transactions involving William Brooks (grantor, grantee and witness), 7 marriages of William Brooks, and numerous probate records mentioning William Brooks either as a witness, devisor or devisee. There are also several William Brooks’ mentioned in the tax records. So how do you tell them apart?

* Land records were painstakingly checked and platted.

* Tax records were scrutinized carefully and assigned to different men on the basis of the district they lived in.

* Those who appeared on the 1850 census and later had their ages and approximate years of birth as references for earlier censuses which were analyzed thoroughly.

* Probate records were pored over and every detail meticulously noted.

* Signatures and hand writing were compared and matched when possible.

* Marriage bonds and death records of every member of each family were noted and compared.

Use alternate records such as land, tax, military, court, directories and newspapers.

Example: We searched for years for a marriage of Independence Houck and his wife, Matilda to no avail. We could not determine her maiden name, even though we got the

marriage and death records of all of her children. When searching in the Chancery Court records for the state of Maryland we came across this document several pages long of which we show only excerpts:

“Filed on the 17th of November 1829 against Temperance Lee, Joshua Lee, John Lee, William Lee, Caleb Lee, Jesse Lee, William Byrum and Clarissa his wife, Independence Houck and Matilda his wife, John Wilson and Penelope his wife, Jacob Faner and Mary his wife, Eleanor Lee and Ushley Lee…..

Robert Lee was indebted to Thomas Worthington (deceased) for some land. Marcella Worthington, his widow, applied to Robert for payment in the September term 1822 with a result of $64 being applied to what was owed. Since that time Robert Lee has died and Marcella Worthington is now suing his heirs for the balance owing. The defendant (Robert Lee) leaves Temperance, his widow, Thomas, Joshua, John, William, Caleb, Jesse, Clarissa, Matilda, Penelope, and Mary, his children and Eleanor and Ushley the children of his son, Robert Lee, Jr (deceased).” From these excerpts we find out:

* Robert Sr. died between Sept. 1822 and Nov. 1829.

* His wife was named Temperance.

* He had 11 children and we found the names of his daughters’ husbands

* His son, Robert, died before Nov 1829 and had 2 children, Eleanor and Ushley.

* Matilda’s maiden name is Lee.

Example: We searched for the name of Abraham Ackerson’s father for many years. We knew his mother’s name was Elizabeth and he had a brother, Thomas, as they all lived at the same address in Manhattan (37 Watts) per several years of city directories in the 1830’s. His father’s name did not appear on any of Abraham’s records nor Thomas’s. Going further back in the directories we found in 1829 that Elizabeth at 37 Watts was listed as the widow of John T. Ackerson.

Example: Sarah Elizabeth Ackerson was born in New York City and died in New Jersey. Her husband, Robert Cleary Hanks, was also born in New York and died in New Jersey. All of their children were born in either New York or New Jersey. They both appear in all of the censuses in either New York or New Jersey, yet we could not find their marriage in any county or city of New York or New Jersey.

While going through some old Utah newspapers looking for Sarah’s brother, Alfred, we came across the following in the gossip column: “A. H. Ackerson was a visitor to Salt Lake City last week. He went to meet his sister and aunt who arrived from New York. Mr. Ackerson was present at the marriage of his sister to R.C. Hanks. He arrived home on Friday.” Sure enough, we found the marriage record in Salt Lake County!

Go around indexes

* Use the first 3 letters of names and a wildcard function to find either given or family names. Using Sus* will find Susan, Susie, Susanne, Susette, Susy, Susmann, Sussman, etc:…Joh* will find John, Johnny, Johnnie, Johannes, Johanna, Johnson, Johnston, Johnsen, Johnsten, Johnathan, etc.

* Use the wildcard function to hunt for names which can be spelled many ways. Ste*ns will find Stephens, Stephans, Stevens, Stevans, Stefans, Stefens

* Find women’s surnames by using their given name and their birth date in the SSDI and the SS applications databases. Remember to use middle names and nicknames if you don’t find it under their given names. This sometimes works for

death certificate indexes, too.

* Do a surname search in a defined area to find people who are listed by their initials. Leave the given name search box blank, add the surname and the county and all people living in that place will show up. If the surname produces a long list, you can add approximate birth year and birth place of the person you are looking for to narrow your search.

* Old handwriting poses some challenges. Remember, indexes are only as good as the original handwriting and the transcriptionist who interprets that handwriting…L is frequently transcribed as S and vice versa…The same with T and F, W and M, A and H, K and H, O and Q, S and T. If you are looking for the name Sette, make sure you check for Tette and Lette, too.

Ackerson, Ginny - A Survey of Midwest Records[edit | edit source]

Ginny Ackerson groovifamily@msn.com 801-489-4994

Illinois Records:

Family Research Files. These family research files (referred to as the Local and Family History Vertical Files) have been donated to the Newberry Library by genealogists or their families. They include an eclectic mix of materials such as copies of original records, research notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, personal diaries, and bibliographies. The surname indexes are online at: http://www./genealogy/verticalfiles.html

Illinois Genealogical Databases online: a) IRAD: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/IRAD/home.html

b) Elgin/Kane County newspaper index: http://innovative.gailborden.info:82/

c) Pape Funeral Home records in Danville; this database has over 275,000 records. The employees at Pape's are constantly adding new records to the database as well as updating existing records. http://www.papemortuary.com/

d) Death records from all over Illinois: http://www.deathindexes.com/illinois/

e) Illinois Newspaper Project http://www.library.uiuc.edu/inp/database.php All microfilm produced for INP is made available through interlibrary loan. ) f) Gravestone pictures in Illinois: http://illinoisgravestones.org/ g) Federal Township Plats of Il 1804-1891: http://landplats.ilsos.net/ h) Many websites for Illinois: https://www.genealoger.com/

Indiana Records

Indiana State Library has many online indexes including the state’s largest newspaper collection. They have many newspapers on microfilm and an index of names and obituaries in Indianapolis newspapers since 1898. Their newspaper microfilms are available through interlibrary loan. http://www.in.gov/library/2306.htm

Some Indiana deaths and obituaries: http://www.deathindexes.com/indiana/

Indiana Naturalization records from before 1951 are indexed at: https://www.in.gov/serv/iara_naturalization

The Allen County Public Library has a collection second only to the Family History Library with many databases online: http://www.genealogycenter.org/ Many records online: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Indiana Online Genealogy Records

Iowa Records

Iowa Biographies Project-- This is a single-entry point to Iowa biographies. There are currently over 16,900 biographies available at this site and links to over 12,000 biographies located at other Iowa project sites. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~iabiog/

Iowa Gravestone Photo Project: Browse over 362,000 gravestone photo records from across the state of Iowa. http://iowagravestones.org/search.php?search=index

Iowa Genealogical Society database: http://www.iowagenealogy.org/research_resources/index.htm

IaGenWeb Genealogy Message Boards: http://iagenweb.org/state/countygrid.htm

WPA grave registration: 654,155 records within 82 Iowa counties http://iowawpagraves.org/

Kansas Records

Kansas State Historical Society (great databases: http://www.kshs.org/ ) has an almost complete set of newspapers available through interlibrary loan: http://www.kshs.org/library/news.htm

Kansas Biographies: https://kansasgenealogy.com/

Kansas deaths and obituaries: http://www.deathindexes.com/kansas/index.html Kansas GenWeb… excellent databases and some online books http://www.ksgenweb.org/

In 2014 the excellent Kansas website, Blue Skyways, shut down. Many of their collections are still available at http://mhgswichita.org/skyways.html

Kansas Cemeteries: http://www.interment.net/us/ks/index.htm

Michigan Records

1894 Michigan State Census; This document lists the names by ward, township, and county of United States Soldiers of the Civil War Residing in Michigan, June 1, 1894. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/michigan/1894_state_census.htm

The Burton Historical Collection of the Detroit Public Library began life as the private library of Clarence Monroe Burton. Realizing that Detroit’s history was inextricably connected to that of Michigan and the Old Northwest and those histories to that of Canada and New France, he assembled a collection that was one of the most important private historical collections in the country. https://detroitpubliclibrary.org/research/burton-historical-collection Michigan Biographical Index: https://michlist.com/

Michigan Cemeteries: http://www.interment.net/us/mi/index.htm

Michigan Naturalization Index: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Michigan_Naturalization_and_Citizenship

Michigan births 1867-1902, marriages 1868-1925, deaths 1867-1897 indexed and digitized: https://www.familysearch.org/

Michigan Death Indexes: http://www.deathindexes.com/michigan/

Western Michigan Genealogical Databases: http://data.wmgs.org/ GENDIS has over 460,000 deaths from 1867-1897: http://www.mdch.state.mi.us/osr/gendisx/index.asp

Minnesota Records

Minnesota Historical Society: http://www.mnhs.org/search/about.

Naturalization records from district courts in all of Minnesota’s remaining counties have been transferred to the Minnesota Historical Society Library. As records are microfilmed there, the films become available from the Minnesota Historical Society through interlibrary loan to public libraries.

Minnesota Biographies Project: http://www.usbiographies.org/index.php/21-minnesota

A list of Minnesota newspapers available online and through interlibrary loan is at: http://www.mnhs.org/newspapers

Minnesota Tombstone Transcription Project: http://www.usgwtombstones.org/minnesota/

Dalby Database: Lots of information on Southern Minnesota families: http://www.dalbydata.com/user.php?action=history Minnesota Obituaries Project: http://www.usgwarchives.net/obits/mn/obitsmn.htm

Missouri Records

Dictionary of Missouri Biography: http://books.google.com/books?id=6gyxWHRLAWgC&dq=missouri+biography&pg=PP1&ots=D8Oorvm7bY&source=citation&sig=BVvKN2QsqQPYpdLRH6_wtSEykM4&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Dmissouri%2Bbiography&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=1&cad=bottom-3results#PPP1,M1

Missouri Naturalization Records: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/naturalization/

Missouri Death and Obituary Indexes: http://www.deathindexes.com/missouri/

Missouri Birth and Death Records Database, Pre-1910: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/birthdeath/

Missouri Newspapers: http://shs.umsystem.edu/newspaper/index.shtml

Missouri Probate Records: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/stlprobate/

Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1957: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/ Midwest Genealogy Center, Independence, Mo. https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy

Nebraska Records

Some online Nebraska records are at: http://www.deathindexes.com/nebraska/index.html

Some online cemetery records and gravestone pictures: http://nebraskagravestones.org/

Some Nebraska marriages arranged by county online at: http://www.idreamof.com/marriage/ne.html

The Nebraska State Historical Society has more than 35,000 rolls of Nebraska newspapers on microfilm dating from the territorial period to the present. https://history.nebraska.gov/collections/nebraska-newspaper-inventory

Some of the early and Territorial censuses for Nebraska are online at: http://www.censusfinder.com/nebraska.htm

Compendium of History Reminiscence and Biography of Nebraska http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ne/topic/resources/OLLibrary/Comp_NE/index.htm#Table%20of%20Contents

North Dakota Records

The North Dakota Naturalization Records index database is complete for all North Dakota Counties and contains over 212,000 entries. It includes information regarding name; country of emigration; dates of "first papers" (declaration of intent) and "second papers" (naturalization) and the county district court where the proceedings occurred. https://library.ndsu.edu/db/naturalization/

The State Historical Society of N.D. has an extensive newspaper collection which is available through interlibrary loan or ChroniclingAmerica http://history.nd.gov/archives/whatnewspapers.html .

They also have many genealogical records including pre-1925 marriages: http://history.nd.gov/archives/marriage.html North Dakota Biographies database: https://library.ndsu.edu/db/biography/

The North Dakota Public Death Index 1881-present. You must search in 10-year increments or less; 1881-c.1924 is incomplete.


Ohio Records

Digitized and indexed Ohio records at https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/location/43?region=Ohio

Ohio Newspaper Index…The OHS contains the largest collection of Ohio's newspapers in existence-- 4,500 titles, 20,000 volumes, and almost 48,000 rolls of microfilm of Ohio titles. They are available for use at the Reading Room or through interlibrary loan. A complete list, including both filmed and un-filmed (original paper) titles available for use at the Ohio Historical Society's Archives/Library can be accessed at: http://catalog.ohiohistory.org/Presto/home/home.aspx?ssid=Newspapers

The Ohio State Library recently transferred their genealogical collection to the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Many wonderful resources are now available through them. https://www.columbuslibrary.org/research/local-history-genealogy

The Cleveland Public Library has several databases including a necrology file and obituary file that cover 1833 to the present. https://cpl.org/research-learning/genealogy/

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. An index to over 3,500,000 obituaries, death & marriage notices & other sources from Ohio from the 1810s to the present day. Actual obits may be ordered from over 60 partner libraries. https://www.rbhayes.org/main/ohio-obituary-index/

South Dakota Records

South Dakota Birth Records Search Site for dates over 100 years ago: https://apps.sd.gov/PH14Over100BirthRec/index.aspx

The SD Tombstone transcription and gravestones projects : http://www.usgwtombstones.org/southdakota/sdakota.html and https://southdakotagravestones.org/ The South Dakota State Historical Society collections: https://history.sd.gov/archives/collectionindexes.aspx

Wisconsin Records

The Wisconsin Historical Society has a fabulous website with several online databases that are searchable including births, marriages, deaths and obituaries. They have the second-largest collection of newspapers in the United States. Many, including all Wisconsin newspapers, are on microfilm and can be loaned to public libraries through interlibrary loan. Newspapers produced by German and other ethnic groups are especially valuable for research on residents of the state.


Wisconsin Pioneer and Century Certificate Project. The Wisconsin State Genealogical Society issues pioneer certificates to anyone whose ancestors settled in Wisconsin by 1850 and century certificates to those who can document pre-1876 Wisconsin ancestry. The applications contain detailed family history information. https://archive.org/details/SomePioneerFamiliesOfWisconsin

Browse the 1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905 Wisconsin State censuses digitized and indexed: https://www.familysearch.org/ Many websites for Wisconsin: https://www.genealoger.com/

Some general websites and collections that may be helpful in Midwest research:

The premier website for research advice: https://wiki.familysearch.org

Always check the County and State USGENWEB sites as the most amazing collections can be found there.

Example: http://www.lawrencecountyohio.com/

Check the State Archives, State Libraries and State Historical and Genealogical Societies https://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/state-archives.html https://www.statearchivists.org/connect/resources-state/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_libraries_and_archives https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_Societies

www.footnote.com $ https://www.ancestry.com/ $ https://www.familysearch.org/ https://www.cyndislist.com/ https://www.findagrave.com/ https://billiongraves.com/ https://glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx

https://glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx https://www.archives.gov/research/genealogy http://usgenweb.org/ https://stevemorse.org/ https://www.myheritage.com/ http://interment.net. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ https://www.deathindexes.com/

Ackerson, Ginny - The Tales Dead Men Tell[edit | edit source]

Ginny Ackerson 1784 W 1300 S #109, Springville, UT 84663 groovifamily@msn.com

Death Certificates or Records of Death

Official records of death by civil authorities is a relatively new phenomenon. Most states did not start accurate death records until the early 1900's. Some states, like Virginia, started recording deaths in 1853 but they were spotty at best. Full compliance did not happen until the early 20th century. Early records usually contained the person’s name, age, date of death and place of death. Later records also recorded parents’ names, birth date, birth place, spouse’s name, cause of death, manner of death (accident, disease, homicide or suicide) funeral home and place of burial.

Probate Records

Most American probate records are created on a county or city level though there are some regional probate districts. These records mainly consist of wills, executor appointments, inventories of estates, distribution of property and guardianship records.


Wills are usually one of 3 kinds, holographic, legal or nuncupative. A holographic will is written, signed and dated entirely by the testator himself and has no witnesses. Probating this kind of will is tricky and involves proving that the handwriting is that of the testator. Legal wills are written out by a lawyer or the testator then signed by the person with the signatures of two or more witnesses. These can be long and complicated or very short and concise. If the will was made years before the actual death, these kinds of wills may have a “codicil” which is an addendum to either clarify or change the original will. This is done frequently when a potential inheritor has died. Nuncupative wills are what is usually termed as “death bed” wills. These are dictated by a dying person and written down by people present. These are generally simple and straight to the point. Before World War II these were commonly used in the battlefield.

Wills are valuable to genealogists because of the wealth of information provided about family relationships, their residences, possible ages, dates, and locations of land in their possession. A lot of wills name the husbands of their married daughters.

Petitions for probate and Application for Letters of Administration

These documents start the probate process and usually contain the date of death and the place that death occurred. The application may also contain the spouses name and all living next of kin and their relationship to the deceased. The appointment of an executor can yield many genealogical clues. A majority of the time the executor was a legatee and mentioned in the will and appointed by the testator himself.

Sometimes the court will need to appoint the executor, especially if the originally appointed executor has died or is unable to act in that capacity or the person died intestate (without a will). With large estates, estates that cover more than one jurisdiction such as county or state or if the testator left under aged children, several co-executors may be appointed. In all these cases, a great majority of the executors are related in some way to the testator and the relationship is frequently mentioned in the document along with where the executor resides. These papers are helpful in determining ages, dates, relationships and residence.

Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, and Executor’s and Administrator’s bonds

These documents have little of genealogical worth but the approximate date of death can be inferred and most names mentioned may have family ties.

Will Contests and Heir Proofs

These documents can be extremely valuable to the researcher as both name all living (and sometimes deceased heirs if they left children) and all testimony relating to the contest or right to inherit. You can find some really interesting stories in these documents!

Guardianship Records

Guardians are appointed by the courts if the deceased had minor children. A good general rule of thumb is that a child would be 14 to 21 years old if they are recorded as choosing their guardian and under 14 if the court appoints a guardian. Guardians were generally the living spouse of the deceased or another close family member. Guardianship accounts can provide clues as to their social status and their financial state. Often, if the family were well off, you can see where the children went to school by reading the accounts paid.


After death, each estate is inventoried by court appointed persons, usually three in number, especially in the event of an estate sale to meet the debts of the deceased. Inventories provide an insight into the lifestyle of the deceased by listing and valuing their possessions. Often this is the only probate document filed for a person.

Estate Sale Reports

When there is an estate sale, a list of each item bought, the price paid and the name of the person buying the item is listed. Although no relationships are listed, quite a few family members will appear on the list reclaiming heirlooms. An approximate death date (sometimes the actual death date will appear) can be assumed from the date of the sale.

Assignment of Dower

In older documents, the assignment of the widow’s portion of the estate for her lifetime was called the dower. This paper mentions the full name of the wife which sometimes is not mentioned in the will. Dower rights inspired current laws regarding disbursement of intestate estates.

Accounts and Final Settlements

These are the complete listings of debts, disbursements and remaining assets of the estate filed with the court. Sometimes this takes years so there are annual accounts submitted until the estate is completely settled. The listings of disbursements and debts can provide a lot of insight into when the children married and if the widow remarried, and if the children went to school and where.

Distribution Documents

These can be wonderful sources of information as they list each person inheriting from the estate, their current address and their relationship to the deceased.

Burial Records

Church burial records

Some denominations keep excellent records which name parents, spouse, children, birth and death

dates and birth and death places and marriage date and place. Most denominations record just the minimum of the name of the deceased, age, date and place of death and the plot if they were buried in the church graveyard.

Funeral Home Records

These records can be a great boon to genealogists. The following is a list of some of the records I have found in funeral home files: Obituaries, death certificates, birth certificates, marriage certificates, military records, funeral cards and programs, pictures of the deceased, newspaper articles about the cause of death (if it was a high profile disease, accident, homicide or suicide), and certificates of bodies in transit.

Currently, a lot of funeral homes are placing this information on line at their company web sites. They also include obituaries.

Sexton’s Records

The sexton is the person who is in charge of the cemetery, whether it is a church, public or private cemetery. Files here range from only names and burial dates to having almost as much information as funeral homes. Sexton’s records also include who bought the plot, how much was paid for it, how many spaces are available and who else is in the plot and sometimes their relationship to the plot owner.

Grave Markers

Tombstones can range from a rock, simple cross or plaque to large memorials and be made from wood, stone, marble and metal. They can have detailed information about birth and death and parentage or they can have no information at all. It is worth checking out as valuable information can be recorded on these memorials.

Casket Maker’s and Tombstone Maker’s Records

These are hard to find...yet some family establishments have records for many generations. You can get a clue as to where the estate got the casket and marker by reading the accounts and final settlement record and noting the name of the casket maker and the stonemason who were paid from the estate. Check to see if these establishments are still in business or if the records from those companies were donated to local libraries, genealogical societies or historical societies. If you don’t have a death date, the date the casket was ordered and then delivered will narrow it down quite a bit. Tombstones could have been placed much later.


Obituaries, Death Notices, and Legal Notices

These are the most common items published in newspapers for deceased persons. Obituaries are usually done by the family or funeral home and include detailed biographical data, living relatives and their current residences, predeceased relatives, place and date of burial and the funeral home that was in charge. Some include religious affiliation. Death notices are published in the paper by the Health department and include name, date of death and address. Occasionally you can find a memoriam a year or so later for someone who didn’t have an obituary published when they died. To settle estates, especially in cases where someone died intestate or the will is contested, families are required to print a list of known heirs and their place of residence along with a request for any other claimants to contact the family’s lawyer within a set time period.


Sometimes a person’s death is newsworthy; for example, if they were famous locally or in a terrible fire, car accident, homicide, suicide or local outbreak of a fatal disease. Check the papers for a few days before and after your relative’s death especially if the doctor or coroner lists an unusual cause or manner of death. It is amazing the details given in some of these articles about family relationships.

Coroners Records

Coroner’s Reports

When a death is unattended (no doctor present or not under a doctor’s care) or if murder or suicide is suspected, then an autopsy has to be performed and a ruling made as to the manner of death, whether it be disease, accident, suicide or homicide. These reports are made public after a period of time determined by the local jurisdiction. Though some are quite graphic they can be good sources of information. Some reports give a physical description of the deceased and include the police report of the circumstances surrounding the death.

Bodies in Transit

If a person died in one jurisdiction but was transported to another, the receiving coroner or funeral home had to sign a paper acknowledging that they received the body from the jurisdiction indicated on the form. This practice was originated in an effort to curb transmittable diseases. These were kept in the file of the deceased and in registers kept by jurisdictions and can provide valuable information such as date and cause of death, next of kin and the residence of both.

Social Security Death Index

The SSDI is available online up to March 2014 at several sites including FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. Because of recently enacted laws, the SSDI will not list deceased persons until 3 years after the person has passed. Information included in this record is name, birth date, death date, last residence or place where benefits were sent, place where SSN was granted. The name will only appear if a claim was made. The SSDI was computerized in 1962 and claims before then are being added to the database.

U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

A new index database at Ancestry.com consisting of about 49 million original applications. Info includes applicant's full name, Social Security Number (SSN), date and place of birth, date of death, citizenship, sex, parents’ names with mother’s maiden name, race/ethnic description and names changes. Applications are also available if no claim was made for disability, retirement or death benefits (names in the SSDI and the applications database are only of people who made claims) at https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-711.pdf

Online Sources

www.familysearch.org ; https://www.ancestry.com/ Has actual death certificates, burial records and wills for a few places

www.findagrave.com ; https://billiongraves.com/ Has inscriptions, some obituaries and biographies, some pictures of graves and people

http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/deathrecords.html Death certificates and indexes, cemeteries and obituaries by state

https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/United_States_Newspapers how to find old and new newspapers

Check funeral home web sites for burials and obituaries, check cemetery sites for burials and inscriptions, check the county and state genealogical and historical societies for databases including obituaries, cemetery records, wills and will indexes and more. Some county governments have will indexes online.

Eakle, Arlene H. - Property Records in America Form a Complete Record System; Why American Land Records are Important for Tracing Hard to Find Ancestors[edit | edit source]

c2018, Arlene H. Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

When your ancestors came to America—from the very beginning—and settled in Massachusetts, in New York, in Virginia, in South Carolina, they wanted their land titles certified and recorded: 1) original documents which they could keep in their own possession to prove ownership, 2) and officially recorded copies kept by the government. They wanted a clear title that they could pass along to heirs and purchasers alike, unhindered. In this system liberty and freedom are also considered property. Recall the wording of the original version of the Declaration of Independence—“Pursuit of Property” which was changed to “Pursuit of Happiness,” lest our enemies accuse us of greed.

Be sure to account for all of the lands your potential ancestor owned and what the source of that land is! Occupations, kinship networks, migration patterns, even places of origin can be documented in these records.

Search tax rolls first, deeds second, patents and grants last. Tax rolls are year by year and will uniquely identify people of the same name. Use these identities to search the deeds and land grants.

What You Can Do with Tax Records:

Almost every male over age 16 and many women, including young girls are taxed. Exemptions are set by law or granted by special decree. Tax records are significant genealogy sources, because the majority of the population is tallied in these records. Here is a list of some of the evidence they contain:

Precise Identification of the Population--Males--age 16, over age 21; Status: Females--widows, heirs, owners; Father/Mother--"...of John," when more than one person has the same given name.

Proof of Residence--poll tax, levied on residents to support the local government Real estate tax--proof of ownership, location of property, not residency; non-residents usually stated or listed separately--"seated" means principal place of residence; “non-seated” means out-of-area owner

Preview of Spelling Variants of name--especially valuable for immigrant ancestors who modified their surnames in America.

Identify Militia District where the company often mustered as a group. Militia officers were responsible for taking and recording assessments and the local military censuses were recorded with the tax rolls.

Kept by Every Level of Jurisdiction--National, State, District, County, Local Districts or Companies. Duplicate copies ensured survival of the records.

One of the Best Census Substitutes we have: You can spot other family members and close associates; clusters of relatives in specific areas, on the same water course; determine where to begin your searches--you can use tax information to set the dimensions of your searches. Missing census years: New Jersey–1790; Kentucky--1787, 1790, 1800; Virginia--1782-85, 1787, 1800; Tennessee–1790, 1800, 1810, 1820.

Prove or Disprove Family Relationships and Traditions--fill in gaps on your family charts; verify probable places of burial for elderly parents; discover surnames of spouses and married daughters as well as missing maiden surnames.

Searches in tax records will help you search land and probate records more effectively. And when your ancestor has a common surname, the tax rolls will uniquely set him apart from all others by the same name--thus narrowing your actual research time in the original records.

Tax exemptions were made for age, physical condition, sex, color, military position, occupation, and public service. Exemptions were established by law, custom, petition, or court action. And recorded!

Delinquent lists could be printed in the newspapers with places of origin and subsequent settlement given for each name on the list. These lists link your ancestor to the places you have already searched. Genealogy editors love such lists to share with their readers—so also check current periodicals for these.

Read each list carefully and pay special attention to the amount of the tax paid. Papists (Roman Catholics) were taxed double in time of peace and paid triple or quadruple taxes in time of war. Quakers were also double-taxed. Some collectors identified directly, the religion of persons on the list whether they were charged more or not.

An Indiana statute, 1831, exempted “all persons who have served in the land or naval services of the United States during the Revolutionary War, upon payment of a poll tax and a tax on personal property. The soldier had to supply the court with a sworn affidavit before witnesses” providing details of his service. Revolutionary soldiers were also exempt from imprisonment for debt. (Tri-State-Trader, 1975)

Examples: Albemarle Virginia Tax Rolls

Tax rolls in some states include entries for women—as widows, as heirs. In Virginia, if a man had no male heirs, the daughters of the household would appear on the tax rolls when he died. For example, in Albemarle County the tax roll contained much more than the brief entries of 25 acres assessed to a group of women. If you chart the facts given in the roll, draw some conclusions from these facts, then examine the entire roll, some exciting evidence emerges which can be compared and supported with deeds and marriage bonds: You can determine which Nancy is the right one and who she married. You can distinguish the daughters from the mother/widow. And you can build the whole family, with the beginning of the pedigree. If you take the entries on their merits alone, you will miss the significance of the property descriptions given you as a bonus by the tax collector.

With the help of the property descriptions, and the year when each girl disappears from the tax roll, you can re-examine the rolls to see what male picks up that piece of land. Then look in his household for the missing girl. The procedure works equally well for a widow with a piece of property. Be sure to examine each district within the county if rolls are separate for each district. Tax collectors have been known to lump all of a man’s property together and to list them all on the same roll even though the land was actually in different districts.

Property descriptions given in the tax rolls are often more precise and easier to trace than that given in the deeds. And the descriptions distinguish between men of the same name. When correlated with deeds and probates, you can observe from year to year, the property status of each man and it becomes easier to discern who is who when a death occurs.


Evidence in Special Tax Years

1704-05—Virginia quit rent rolls of 14 counties survived for this year only; five Northern Neck counties did not survive, but the names of land owners on the Fairfax grants survive. A companion law required that the sale of lands must include the slaves; slaves could not be sold without the land. The law ensured that the plantation system survived.

1798--Federal Tax: Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine, New York, Maryland

1815--Additional levies made to pay for the costs of the War of 1812

Civil War (1863)--Federal and State Income Tax

Kentucky--1830-1870 state and local schedules

Dog taxes, especially in the South following the Civil War--1865 slave name, 1866-68 freed name. Use with probate inventories of white families who owned slaves before 1865.

Printed Tax Records

__Georgia Tax Digests, 1790, 1800-08

__Illinois, Early Illinois Records Card File, on microfilm FamilySearch

__Kentucky, Old Lincoln County: Land Holders (17,000) 1787-1811; Householders (34,000) 1787-1811

__Maryland: Baltimore City Archives, tax rolls for 1798-1808

__New Jersey, 1793 Military Census

__New York, Dutchess County, 1718-1787

__North Carolina, 2 Vols. selected lists printed in North Carolinian

__Ohio, Early Ohio Tax Lists, non-census years: Washington County, 1800; Territory South of the Ohio River [Tennessee] in Early Ohio, Vol 2

__Pennsylvania, selected counties 1780’s; Pennsylvania Archives, 1743-1789

__Virginia, 1782-1787 census substitutes, 1790, 2 Vols.; 1800 Virginia Genealogist

__Virginia, Northern Neck Rent Rolls computer print-out, Genealogy Library Center, Tremonton UT 84337

__Virginia: 1790-1800 County Tax Lists, available by subscription; Colonial Tithe Lists http://www.binnsgenealogy.com

__AIS Index: New Jersey (issued separately, 4 Vols.); Delaware; Virginia (Northern Neck)

Study Suggestions: Henry C. Adams, Ph.D., Taxation in the United States, 1789-1816 (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Studies 2nd S. V-VI, 1884); Beverly W. Bond, Jr., The Quit-Rent System in the American Colonies (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919. Reprint, 1965, Peter Smith, Gloucester, MA); Arlene H. Eakle and Linda E. Brinkerhoff, Tax Records:A Common Source With an Uncommon Value (1978. Family History World, P.O. Box 129, Tremonton, UT 84337). John T. Spellman, “Tax Records: A Treasury of New York Information,” The New York Researcher (Fall 2014): 52-57.

How to Read and Chart Land Documents--

Premises - date of document, date of recording

Names of Parties - part they take - 1), 2), 3), place of residence

Testatum - purpose of deed


a) Consideration: money paid

b) Intension (intention): DOTH, GRANT, BARGAIN and SELL

c) Parcels: description: ALL THAT... Habendum: estate created and use intended


Testimonium: signatures of parties, witnessed and signed

How to Read Old Title Deeds. C. Julian Cornwall, University of Birmingham, Department of Extramural Studies, 1964.

Why Chart Your Property Data?

The final format you seek is a family record showing father, mother, and all the kids with their relationships to each other proven to be true. Accompanying these family records, you want a pedigree or lineage chart showing how each family descends from common ancestors. If you extract the data to family charts as you go, you get these benefits:

1) Standardized data for comparison and analysis. You can examine each line quickly and effectively draw the conclusions provided by the evidence. You are less likely to err.

2) Separated pieces of evidence for easy sorting--by name, by date, by place, by relationship, by migration pattern.

3) Clearly identified persons from each record--you know who, where, what, when, why or you pose these as questions to be answered.

4) Itemized property holdings to account for each transaction and all properties. Did your ancestor sell each piece of land he purchased? Were lands left over to provide for widow and divide among children?

5) Questions answered from the data directly: Could a minor own land? How old did a person have to be to sell land or to apply for a grant? If a woman’s name appears first in property record, is she a wife, a widow, a mother? Could a man own land in more than one jurisdiction at the same time?

6) Property ownership has been of sufficient concern to all levels of society that most American jurisdictions create and preserve one or more categories of property records-- providing a constant in proof of relationship no other record category can match.

Charting your evidences as you go through the records allows the evidence to dictate the direction research takes--a true reflection of the life history of your family. If you have been putting all the evidence in your computer program, these details will be found in the notes. Chart

this evidence in your computer program, so the computer can help you with analysis of the data. Give it a try—you will be overjoyed at the result!

Evidence examples: Sr. and Jr. Record clerks are not always consistent and since the use of Jr. and Sr. does not always refer to father and son, you can be easily misled unless you exercise caution. A better way to show it might be: John Sellers (of John), John Sellers (of Jacob). Jr. and Sr. just mean that there are two men of the same name.

When you have 5 James Sellers, 4 Robert Sellers, and 4 Isaac Sellers residing in the same group or cluster of families--all too common in most families--and you lack census enumerations or wills listing each family unit, you can sort these “same persons” by 1) what they do, 2) where they live, 3) who they are involved with, and 4) how much they own or pay:

1) John Sellers who resides on Glades Creek, a branch of Muddy Creek and owns land on Sellers branch of Muddy Creek

2) John Sellers (son of James), resides on Silver Creek

3) John Sellers who resides on Glades Creek which flows into the Catawba River

Only Silver Creek is still in Burke County, NC; the other 2 locations end up in McDowell County, created in 1842 from Burke and Rutherford Counties.

Names of Creeks and Rivers Can Be Troublesome

More than one creek of the same name, within a similar location: Camp Creek; Cain/Cane Creek; Beaverdam Creek/Branch; Muddy Creek. And the word “near,” a common locator word in property records, means “closest,” not necessarily nearby. It could be 5 - 50 miles away.

Gores: Another Set of Records

A gore is a pie-shaped wedge of land (sometimes oblong-shaped). It is created when a survey line is run incorrectly or when a boundary change leaves an extra strip of land. Gores are found in Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and parts of the West. They are “surplus” land and they often have their own set of records - in Vermont, New York, New Jersey. Their lands may be absorbed into the county or town of which they were once a part. In this case, the records are absorbed and preserved in the county or town, too.

Short Study List:

Dollarhide, William. “Retracing the Trails of your Ancestors Using Deed Records,” Genealogy Bulletin #25 (Jan-Feb 1995): 1-8. Establishing proof of residence and genealogy relationships. Dollarhide recommends searching the deeds first.

Eakle, Arlene H. http://VirginiaGenealogyBlog.com “Southern Land Records: State-by-State, August 15, 2012 Virginia-Maryland; August 18 2012 Louisiana-Alabama/Mississippi.”

Hansen, Holly T., James L. Tanner, and Arlene H. Eakle. US Land and Tax Records Research Guide. Morgan UT: Family History Expos, 2015. Thorough treatment of land records including bounty lands, government, and private property records

Hone, Wade E. Land and Property Research in the United States. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997. The best genealogy description in print of the Federal Land Records.

Salmon, Marylynn. Women and the Law of Property in Early America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990. Essential section on a widow’s right to dower property and the differences in each colony.

Juengling, Fritz - Tips for Genealogical Research[edit | edit source]

Fritz Juengling Ph.D., AG®

In this class, you will learn various tips that will increase the quality of your research and efficiency of work. These are a few of the tips that the presenter has gathered in nearly 30 of his own research and as a Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. You should keep this list of tips handy and review them periodically as you grow as a family history researcher.

1. Source your material

Label each document, whether on paper or electronic versions.

Surname, given names, event, repository, format, film/call number, place, church/civil registry, volume number, page number, entry number

For example:

McDermond, Martha death FHL US film 1379044 United States, Minnesota, Stearns death register year 1899 p. 133

Barkhofen, Anna Christina death FHL Intl film 1336690 Germany, Prussia, Rheinland, Duisburg, Liebfrauen Church vol. 22 pp. 47-48 Nr. 138

2. Write your name and contact info on your flash drive. Use a permanent marker or an address label. Put a piece of tape over it to keep it from wearing off.

3. Do not trust the index

a. Index within record

b. Index outside record

4. Keep a log of what you have looked at, giving both positive and negative results.

Log for: Hoefnagel, Christina Catharina

Date Repository & Call # Source Goal Results:
04/04/12 Rijksarchiefdienst, Netherlands. Family History Library, Utah, USA. Family Search: Historical Records, Online. Netherlands. Civil Registration 1811-1950. Rijksarchiefdienst, Netherlands. Registers van der Burgerlijke Stand. deaths To find Christina Catharina Hoefnagel’s death: Found
4 Apr Netherlands, Gelderland, Afferden Catholic church records FHL Intl film 108644 vol. 541 year 1796 no page To find Christina Catharina Hoefnagel’s baptism: Found
10 May Family Search Online collections Netherlands, Gelderland P...Church Records, 1552-1903 Nederlands Hervormd Nijmegen Dopen 1802 To find Wilhelmus Huijbers’ baptismal record: not found.

5. Do not trust information from the internet, e.g. death date of Edouard Potjes is often given as 12 Jan. 1931, when he died 4 Jan. 1931. The place of origin of the Traphagen family is given as Leunichor, France, when it’s really Lemgo, Germany.

6. Do not trust secondary sources, or sources far removed from event, even if primary person is allegedly giving info. Potjes gives wrong birth country, but with correct town. Frederika Wilson gave wrong marriage date.

7. When you make a copy of a record, copy the entire page, so that you will know what the headings are. You might need info, such as a date, that is given elsewhere on the page.

8. If you cannot find someone in an online index, try different search parameters, e.g.

a. different spellings

b. wildcards * = more than one letter, ? = only one letter

c. enter less or more information to return different results

9. Digitize your documents: better resolution, can share more easily with others, and can put photo right into your genealogy program.

10. Do not believe that a name has always been spelled the same way throughout time. Look for various spellings.

11. Read and note everything on a document. Even that one bit of information that seemed so unimportant might unlock a mystery later on.

12. Back up your info in case you lose it—your flash drive or your hard drive crashes.

13. If you are going to the FHL:

a. label all your belongings with your name and contact info—esp. your flash drive.

b. look up as much as you can before you go there. Go to your local FHC and look up the film

numbers that you want to look at while there. This will save you time and allow you to spend more time researching.

c. request a "Vault Film" before visiting

14. Look up information on more than one database and on more than one format.

15. Be suspicious of information on a record. Maria Spuria.

Online help from your own home!

FamilySearch has recently created a new tool for you to get genealogical help in the comfort of your own home. If you can't make it to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, use these groups to find much of the research help that you need. Of course, it’s free!

If you have special skills or knowledge, you can contribute by answering questions or posting announcements.

For more information, please see this site on the FamilySearch wiki: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Genealogy_Research_Groups

© 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reprinted or reproduced in any form for any purpose without prior written permission.

Permission from Fritz Juengling to post on this wiki site was received 5 September 2018. No other reproduction is allowed without permission.

Oberg, Lynette - FINDING JOY IN FAMILY HISTORY[edit | edit source]

TASK – Create an Account-If you already have an LDS account you will use that. If you don’t have an account, go to FamilySearch.org and click “Free Account” in the upper right hand corner.

TASK- Add a Name-Go to Family Search.org and click on the “Family Booklet” icon under “Family Tree”. After you sign in you can click “Fill in online version”. As you fill in this information the system will build a tree for you. Navigate around in the tree to places where people are missing, a parent perhaps. FamilySearch.org/Family Tree/ Family Booklet.

TASK- Download/Print a FanChart- Fan charts are a wonderful way to help children/youth connect with their ancestors. Also available is Family Trees- If you’re looking for something a little more artsy, there are 4 different styles to choose from. This can be found at familysearch.org/campaign/keepsakes. Also treeseek.com

TASK-Index a Batch- Anyone can be an indexer! Indexing is what makes digital records searchable on FamilySearch.org. Millions of records are added every day. Go to Familysearch.org/sign in. Hover over “Indexing” listed in the top menu and then choose “Web Indexing” from the dropdown. Click on the blue “Find Batches” button and get started. Be sure to read the project instructions.

TASK- Find a Record or a Hint-FamilySearch has published over 5.5 billion records. Once you are on FamilySearch.org you may see a blue hint next to a name. Open the hint and see if it is one of your ancestors. If you don’t find hints, search billions of records by name, locality, date, etc.

TASK-Download the free mobile apps- Everyone’s cell phone can be considered a virtual library. The free FamilySearch - Tree app makes capturing and preserving family stories easy. Go to your app store and download the app. FamilySearch – Tree (FamilySearch – Memories. FamilySearch - Tree has all the capabilities of this app. It’s more of a way to keep memories indexed).

TASK- Upload a Photo-Once you have downloaded the app, uploading a photo is simple. Sign into the app if necessary. Once you are in the Tree choose someone and scroll to “Memories” across the top and click the green + circle and choose “Add Photo”. Once you do this you can add an existing photo from your phone or take a picture of someone or something. You can also do this through FamilySearch.org and you can even pull in photos from Facebook and Instagram!

Family Tree/Tree/Select Individual/ Memories/ Green + Circle/ Add Photo

TASK- Create a Story- Creating a story is simple and the best way to journal is by writing about a photo, like everyone does on social media. Go to Family Search.org/ sign in/ memories/ gallery/scroll down to “create a story” and click on it. Upload a photo from your gallery or from your desktop. This can be done from the app also.

TASK- Upload a Document- This is a great way to add documents you have at your home. If you have a scanner, use it. If not, take a picture of the document and upload it through the Family Tree app on your phone. Scan- Go to familysearch.org/sign in/ memories/gallery/documents icon/green plus circle/choose files

TASK – Record Audio-Recording audio is simple on the FamilySearchTree app. Open the app and go to the Tree and choose someone you want to tell a story about or choose yourself. Scroll to memories across the top then click the green +circle in the bottom right hand corner. Choose “Record Audio”. If you like the sample questions you can choose one or simply click “Begin Recording” and hit the record button. Remember these recordings should always be brief.

Oberg, Lynette -Ideas for Engaging Your Family in Family History[edit | edit source]

Create an account for your children-

“How to Article” is found on FamilySearch. Creating an Account for a Child to Use FamilySearch.org. Go to FamilySearch and click the “help” button in the upper right hand corner. Type the article name in the bar.

FamilySearch Wiki- Family Activities for Children 3-11

What you will find:

Your Place in History

Your Genealogy

Memories and Completing Youth Projects

Online Games and websites.

Website: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Familyhistory activities for children:3-11

All the Stories- App

Sign into FamilySearch.org Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “App Gallery”. Search for All The Stories. Follow the prompts to access all your ancestor’s stories in one place.

The Genealogy Kids

What you will find:

Their BIG list of Family History Activities

Website: https://thegenealogykids.com/our/

Compare-a-Face, Ancestor Challenge and More

Learn about your ancestors through these different fames and information

Website: https//www.familysearch.org/discovery

The Family History Guide

A partner of FamilySearch that helps you understand FAmilySearch and alos haslinks to all sorts of activities and games for families in every age group.

Website: https://www.thefhguide.com/

BYU Family History Technology Lab

Developed by Professors and students, there many ways to interact with your Family Tree- Relative Finder, Geneopardy, Wheel of Family Fortune and much more.

Website: https://fhtl.byu.edu/resources.html

Trotter, Mat - Harnessing the Combined Power of FamilySearch Partner Solutions[edit | edit source]

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Mat Trotter FamilySearch Ambassador & Heart Specialist Mat.Trotter@FamilySearch.org https://genealogytrot.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/326230510721944/ There are many websites and apps that work hand-in-hand with FamilySearch to offer valuable tools that make the work of family history easier. Learn about these resources and discover more about your relatives and connect them to your tree.


Solutions Gallery - https://partners.familysearch.org/solutionsgallery/s/

Family Tree Management Legacy Family Tree – https://legacyfamilytree.com/DownloadLegacy.asp RootsMagic – https://www.rootsmagic.com/Try/RootsMagic/ Ancestral Quest - https://www.ancquest.com/index.htm

LDS Access Ancestry - https://www.familysearch.org/partner/ancestry Findmypast.- https://www.familysearch.org/partner/findmypast MyHeritage - https://www.familysearch.org/partner/myheritage AmericanAncestors - https://www.familysearch.org/partner/americanancestors Geneanet - https://www.familysearch.org/partner/geneanet

RecordSeek - https://recordseek.com/ Add Images and Stories - https://www.familysearch.org/photos/gallery Add Story with Images - https://www.familysearch.org/photos/storynew

All the Stories - https://stories.familyfoundapp.com/ TreeSeek - https://treeseek.com/ Pedigreeable - https://pedigreeable.com/ Puzzilla - https://puzzilla.org/ Exploring Family Trees* - https://learnforeverlearn.com/ancestors/ Pedigree Pie (Grandma’s Pie) - https://pedigree-pie.fhtl.byu.edu/ BYU Family History Technology Lab - https://fhtl.byu.edu/ FamilySearch Fan Chart - https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/fanchart Consultant Planner - https://www.familysearch.org/help/helper Kinpoint (Beta not Take a Name) - https://kinpoint.com/person KinMapper - https://www.kinmapper.com/ RootsMapper - https://rootsmapper.com/ The Family Nexus - https://thefamilynexus.com/the-family-nexus-mobile-app/ FamilySearch Time Line with Map - https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/timeline/ FamilySearch Family Tree App - https://www.familysearch.org/mobile/tree FamilySearch Memories App - https://www.familysearch.org/mobile/memories FamilySearch Discovery - https://www.familysearch.org/discovery/ FamilySearch Campaign Nauvoo - https://www.familysearch.org/campaign/nauvoo

Relative Finder - https://www.relativefinder.org/ One Page Genealogy - https://opg.fhtl.byu.edu/ Find-A-Record - https://www.findarecord.com/

Early Latter-day Saint Database - http://earlylds.com/ Encyclopedia of Mormonism - http://lib.byu.edu/collections/encyclopedia-of-mormonism/ L.D.S. Biographical Encyclopedia Index - http://www.mendonutah.net Mormon Migration - http://mormonmigration.lib.byu.edu/ Mormon Missionary Diaries - http://lib.byu.edu/collections/mormon-missionary-diaries/ Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel - https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/ Mormon Places - http://carto.byu.edu/mp/ Mormons and Their Neighbors - Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah: http://pioneers.rstebbing.com/ Nauvoo Community Project - http://nauvoo.byu.edu/ Tracing Mormon Pioneers - http://user.xmission.com/~nelsonb/pioneer.htm Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846–1869 - http://overlandtrails.lib.byu.edu/ Welsh Mormon Immigrant project - http://welshmormon.byu.edu/ WoodenVillage.org - http://woodenvillage.org Winter Quarters Project - http://winterquarters.byu.edu/

Billiongraves - https://billiongraves.com/ History Here* - https://www.history.com/history-here

© 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reprinted or reproduced in any form for any purpose without prior written permission. Written permission by Matt Trotter given to post into this 2018 Conference Wiki site 16Sept2018.

Saunders, Wendell - Principles & Techniques of Interviewing for Family History[edit | edit source]

The WHO, the WHAT, the WHEN, the WHERE, the WHY, & the HOW

Wendell Saunders

Stories and Histories

Family historians often search for years, looking for a few clues in old records – hoping to find more than just the names, dates and places of their ancestors. Someday, we will be someone’s ancestor. Leaving behind a mindful, careful record of our lives requires planning and some effort. Leaving behind oral histories you have gathered is and additional blessing for them

* Stories

* A story is (ideally) a narrative, told as close to the true events as can be remembered.

* Although a true account is an ideal, stories are often embellished with threads of human interest or humor that carry the personality of the story teller.

* Oral Histories

* Recorded collections of stories told by living people about the past.

* Personal histories are focused on a person, but often include narrative related to family and friends

* Family histories are focused on a family (immediate, extended, or ancestors)

* Oral history is:

* “recorded information about the past that you get from talking to people about their experiences, families, etc.”

* Merriam Webster Dictionary; defined for English Language Learners

* Often an oral history includes details and feelings that exist nowhere other than in the mind and memories of an individual.

* Family members, especially the elderly, all have valuable information to share about your family history, whether they know it (or even believe it or not).

* You have to ask the right questions.

Why Should I Interview Anyone?

* The WHY is the most important factor.

* If you do not have a WHY, then the Who, When, Where, What and How won't make any difference.

If you don't have a strong WHY, then you WON'T.

If you do not conduct and record the interview there is a good chance that many memories of family stories and details wi

ll be lost forever.

* Gathering and preserving family stories and histories should be an urgent priority as the family members with the memories will pass away, often without warning.

Who Should I Interview?

* Anyone who has knowledge, memories, or stories about something you are interested in.

* This might include: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mom, & dad

* A grandparent might seem and obvious choice, but don’t forget their neighbors, a fishing or hunting buddy, people they worked with or worked for, friends from church, people they associated with in leisure activities…

* You might interview the grandparent’s children and grandchildren.

* You may be surprised by their observations and perspectives. They will remember events that your grandparent may have forgotten.

* When you are making a list of people to interview, determine whether there is someone in the family who is really getting on in years. While it is sad to think about, they won't be around forever.

* Additionally, they may become mentally, verbally, physically or visually impaired, which may affect their speech, tolerance for a long interview, or even their ability to remember people, places and events.

* Unanticipated deaths may occur, but it is always best to prioritize the people with advanced age or failing health and gather their stories first. *

When should you interview? AS SOON AS POSSIBLE !

* You never know when something will make an interview that could be made today, impossible to make tomorrow.

* Interviewing cannot be ignored for years and then "caught up on" in a few weeks.

* Make a plan, make a schedule of interviews, then do them.

WHERE Should I Interview?

* Wherever you can get it done.

* Quality:

* Obviously there are factors that could be met to improve the quality of the interview.

* A poor recording made next week is infinitely better that a great recording… that never occurs.

* Do everything you can to improve the recording quality, but if it comes to getting a poor recording or no recording at all, go for the poor recording.

* Where the person being interviewed is most comfortable

* In general, the younger the person is, the more comfortable they will be with being recorded. However, older people often require measures to put them at ease.

* In general, the more outgoing a person is, the more comfortable they will be with being recorded. However, shy people often require measures to put them at ease.

* What makes a location comfortable… depends on the person

* Familiar locations, perhaps their own home

* Quite locations without distractions and noise

* Groups: Some might be most comfortable alone with the interviewer, others might be more comfortable with a few close family members to whom they could tell their stories to and the interviewer is a “fly on the wall” who is just there to record

WHAT Should I Interview About?

* The simple answer is “anything that is of interest.”

* General Questions: There are many lists of general questions that will lead to a good interview. (Google Search)

* A general question for a father might be "where did you first meet mom?"

* Specific Questions: These best come from the answers to general questions.

* An answer such as "I met Dorothy at college" could lead to more specific questions about the college, what he was studying, what the wife was studying, where did they meet, etc.

* Answers are often the best source for follow-on questions

* There are several ways to interview. Starting from the least involved we will talk about each

* As we progress the methods will require increased preparation, equipment and skills.

* The skills are not difficult to acquire. The preparation just takes some time, planning and a small investment in equipment.

* The quality of the recording generally goes up with the quality of the equipment, but with a good microphone & small tripod even your smart phone can make surprisingly good audio & even video recordings.

How #1: Occasional Notes

* For me this was a desperation measure

* I had a close relative that who did not like to discuss the past. However, in day to day discussions details of the past did come out.

* When they did I would jot down a few notes

* As soon as our discussion was over I would expand on the note with details I could remember.

* This was “hit & miss” oral history, but in this case it was the best I could do.

How #2: Written Interview

* You may have an unplanned meeting with someone and you are without recording equipment

* Perhaps you are talking to one of those people who clam up when a microphone is in the room

* In either of these cases you may be able to conduct an interview with just a pen and paper. Newspaper reporters did their job like this for decades.

* As quickly as possible transfer your notes to a word processor. As you are typing amplify the note with details that you remember from the conversation but did not have time to write.

* Example: Your written notes may only say that grandma met grandpa at the general store. However, as you are typing you remember that it was market day, that the family lived 10 miles from the store and that they were buying potatoes and flour, and that grandma was wearing a blue gingham dress.

How #3: Audio Interviews

* With an audio recorder you will use questions to prompt the person being interviewed to relate information. The question and the response will be recorded on audio.

* The recording can be transcribed into written documents

* The recordings can also be placed on digital media for descendants to listen to the actual voice of their ancestor.

* The recording will include both the questions and the answers.

* Leave the recording in the Q&A format

* If the interviewee is comfortable with it, ask them to respond by incorporating the question into the answer.

* Transcribe the interview modifying the answers to incorporate the questions.

How #4: Video Interviews

* It is said that more is communicated by the body and face than by the words.

* With a video camera you can not only capture the recorded words of the person being interviewed, but you can see the person’s emotions as they share their stories.

* Generally, the guidelines for audio recording all apply, but there are additional guidelines related to video

* Video cameras are usually more effective if they are farther away and in the background, not “in your face!” This requires a good microphone that is mounted on a stand or clipped to their clothing, and that it either wireless or has a long cord.

* The interview can be edited and produced as a DVD or other digital media

How to interview someone geographically distant

* Face to Face: If you have the opportunity (vacation, reunion, etc.) to meet face to face, this is usually the best & most comfortable option.

* Mail: Send an introductory letter or email to create a rapport with your relative by telling them about yourself, your family and why you are so interested in the family history. If they agree, follow this up with a list of open-ended questions. It calls for a lot of writing on the part of the interviewee.

* Email: Poor substitute for a letter to get started, but after relationships are built this can work well. Again, a lot of writing.

* Phone: Once the process and agreements are met, the phone is a good way to go if you have a recording device set up to record the conversation.

* Skype: Has the advantage of face-to-face and phone interviews and can be recorded.

* Other Approaches: There are now and will continue to be new tools to communicate. Use whatever works for you.

How: CONDUCT an Interview

* Preparation:

* Decide on a topic or a person you are interested in

* Select a person to interview

* Ask them for permission to conduct an interview

* Be specific and honest in your request

* Schedule a time and location to conduct the interview

* Prepare a list of questions

* Share with them the major areas of interest about what you will be asking. If they are still concerned give them a list of “top level” questions.

* Call ahead the day before as a curtesy reminder

* “Day Before” preparation

* Put your questions, supplies, recording device, power supplies, extra batteries, microphone, extra memory cards, etc. into a carrying case. Check out the devices. Make sure it (they) works.

The Interview

* Eat before you go, but not too much and don’t drink to much liquid

* Arrive on time (consider traffic and weather)

* Be yourself but be courteous. Smile

* Minimize the equipment “footprint”

* The equipment is best out of sight or inconspicuous. Its best if the microphone is the only thing in sight.

* Begin the recording with an introduction

* Minimum of the names of interviewer and interviewee, date, location, and purpose of the interview

* Everything you do should lead towards an interview that is spontaneous and emotional. Genuine emotion is the “Gold Standard” of an interview.

* Put them at ease and help them to loosen up

* Start with easy questions and don’t put them on the spot

* Some people with NEVER loosen up… press on as best you can

* Ask the Right Questions. The best interview stories come from asking who, what, why, when or how questions. Avoid “Yes/No” questions.

* Get personal (if you can). Some of the best stories come from the personal questions. However, you should ask these carefully. A personal questions that is ok for one person might be very much off limits to another. Get a feel for this.

* Follow up good answers. Good answers bring better questions.

* Show interest during the interview and thank them when you (or they)* are finished

After the Interview

* Label Everything! Every tape, every piece of digital media*, paper notes, etc. If the item is to small to label put it in a sealable container (e.g., zip-loc® bag) that is labeled.

* Make Copies! Removable media, your hard drive, the cloud, online computer backup services

* Transcribe the digital (audio or video) into a text document.

* If the audio is clear you can use transcription apps (e.g., Google)

* If the audio is not clear enough for that

* You can use transcription services (expensive)

* You can recite the narrative into a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking

* Edit a COPY of the recording into a finished product (keep the best parts)

“Ask not why your ancestors didn’t leave stories for you ― ask what stories you will leave for your descendants”