31 October 2014

FamilySearch Updates: USA Materials in ME, IA, CA, and WA

The following databases are showing as updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Maine, Nathan Hale Cemetery Collection, ca. 1780-1980

Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992

California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953

Washington, County Records, 1803-2010

30 October 2014

The Kiles Find a Horse in 1810

Genealogists often use estray books as evidence that a person had lived in a certain place for at least a bare minimum amount of time. Notices of strays were also published in the newspaper as well.

This 1810 notice from the Chillicothe, Ohio, newspaper (obtained on GenealogyBank.com) does more than document the existence of a lost horse. It also suggests that John Kile and James Kile were living in or near Truro Township in Franklin County, Ohio, in the late 1809-early 1810 time period.

Digital image obtained on GenealogyBank.com
James Kile found the horse and John Kile was one of the appraisers. There is nothing in the notice to indicate the men were biologically related, but the reference does suggest they were relatively near neighbors of each other in 1810.

And in some cases, a newspaper mention be the only record that a person was in a specific place at a specific point in time.

Even if the owner of the horse cannot be found.

Seven Head of Horse Creatures

We've slightly modified this image for the purposes of this blog post. Using only the portion relevant to the Kile family would have required the removal of some context, particularly the fact that this was a Sheriff's Sale in Franklin County, Ohio.

[portion omitted] was used to indicate where some of the original image was cut away and the resulting image was made.

Digital image obtained on GenealogyBank.com
Apparently John Kile owed money to the estate of M. Fisher and apparently there was some sort of legal action brought to the Franklin County Court in 1828. The specifics of the debt are not mentioned in this newspaper notice. This legal notice is only announcing the sale. It is possible that there were other legal notices in the newspaper mentioning this case, but given that this is probably a chattle debt of some type it likely didn't make the local news.

There should be some type of local court record regarding this case against Kile in the county court records of Franklin County. Chances are it's not very detailed, but I won't know until I look. I might never have uncovered the case if I had not chanced upon it on GenealogyBank.com.

Seven head of horse creatures....now there's an interesting phrases. Why they just didn't say seven head of horses is beyond me.

Selling A Land Warrant for $47.00

Estate inventories and sale lists tend to be household and items that a relative used in the course of his daily life. At times these listings can provide a glimpse into our ancestor's life and clues as to his occupation.

Sometimes they can give us more.

On 8 May 1852 near Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois, there was a sale to settle up the affairs of James Kile. One of the items sold was a land warrant.

That's as specific as the description gets: land warrant.

There's no mention of how James obtained the warrant, but there are likely two ways:

  • he had military service and the warrant was based upon his eligibility for a land warrant based upon his documentation of that service
  • he had purchased the land warrant from someone else.
A land warrant entitles the holder to a specific amount of acreage within the federal lands available at that point in time. Federal land warrants usually don't mention a specific piece of property. The patent, which actually transfers real property title from the federal government to a private individual does that. The warrant indicates the holder is entitled to so much land but the patent specifies where that land is located.

How did James come to get the warrant?

We're working on that...stay tuned.

And you thought estate inventories were just about livestock, plows, and butter churns.

Recent Updates: FamilySearch-Canadian Materials

We're going to start periodically posting non-American updates to FamilySearch. These will not be as frequent as those updates, but we will post them for our readers who are conducting searches outside the United States.

Recent Canadian updates:

28 October 2014

Non-Famous People in the Newspaper-Your Genealogy Plate May Be Full

It's not just the rich and famous who appear in newspapers across the country. This 1956 item captures the license plate display of J. L. Goldenstein of Golden, Illinois. This item was in the San Diego Union, published a distance from Golden, Illinois. It didn't take much searching to determine that J. L. Goldenstein was the John Goldenstein--my great-grandma Habben's brother.

Don't assume that your "non-famous" people won't be in the newspaper.

You just never now. This item was obtained on GenealogyBank.

We'll have an interesting announcement regarding this picture in a future blog post.

New or Updated On FamilySearch: GA Deaths and Trumbull County, Ohio

The following are showing as new or updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

Ohio, Trumbull County Records, 1795-2010

Georgia, Deaths, 1928-1938

World War Two Douglas Aircraft Plant Photo of W L Rampley

According to the original Ebay listing for this item, it was taken at the Douglas Aircraft Plant in El Segundo, California.

Exactly how the seller knew that is not immediately clear to me unless there is a notation on the back of the photograph that I'm not understanding.

The item was purchased because the man in the picture is identified on the back of the photograph as W. L. Rampley. The only date on the photograph is 11-24-1941, which is likely the seller identified the photograph as being from the World War II era.

The photograph was purchased because of the name on the back. I'm not certain if this Rampley is connected to my family with the same last name, but there's a reasonable probability. The majority of people with the Rampley surname descend from either a James Rampley who settled in Harford County, Maryland, in the late 1700s or a William Rampley who settled near Spartanburg, South Carolina at about the same time.

Hopefully we'll have an update with additional information on Rampley--and just who he is.

But it's a neat World War II era photo whether I identify the man in it or not.

26 October 2014

Estate Publication Notices Provide Residential Clues

Publication notices of estate settlements are one of those items that researchers sometimes overlook as "routine paperwork."

That can be a mistake.

I know where Andrew Trask lived in Mercer County, Illinois, at the time of his death. But if I had not known where he lived, the places within the county where the notice of the final settlement were posted could have been a clue as to the general area where he lived within the county.
Estate of Andrew Trask, Mercer County, Illinois, Probate case files, file 1475, box 1490, 
Affidavit of Publication and Posting of Notice, filed 19 April 1886, 
Circuit Clerk's Office, Aledo; digital image, FamilySearch (http//www.familysearch.org), accessed 26 October 2014.
The notices were posted at:

  • Ed Crosby's Store in Viola
  • Post Office in Norwood
  • Wray's Drug Store in Cable
  • County Clerk's office
The County Clerk's Office seems like a logical place to place any probate notice, so it's difficult to draw any residential clue from that. The other villages, however, are in the eastern end of Mercer County and it would be reasonable to conclude that Andrew lived in that portion of the county.

This information would have been helpful if Andrew had not owned real estate and his estate at his death had only consisted of personal property. The locations given in the publication notice may have been the only item in the probate record that suggested his residence.

Everything is a clue.

Dead Men Swear in Mercer County

Any item taken from a record out of context has the potential to confuse other researchers or to result in statements that are simply false.

This image from an estate settlement in Mercer County, Illinois, in the 1880s makes the point perfectly well. If the researcher takes just a key phrase out of this record, it may appear that Andrew Trask was alive and well on 19 April 1886 when this record was created or that a dead man was taking an oath.

"Andrew Trask, late of said County, deceased, being duly sworn on his said oath, does depose and say that he has..."


Late does not necessarily mean dead, but deceased usually does. Did the clerk err and neglect to cross out the word "deceased" in the record book?

Dead men do not swear nor do they take oaths, at least not on Earth. The conscientious researcher does not quote a document in such a way that the report is misleading.

This little snippet makes it clear why quoting any document needs to be done with enough context to make the meaning clear.

Andrew Trask had not been sworn in open court on 19 April 1886. He was dead and buried in a Mercer County cemetery at the time. The word "deceased" is correct. Dead mean don't make oaths. It was the administrator of his estate who was in court on that date. Those words "The undersigned, Administrator of the Estate of" make all the difference as they clearly indicate who was taking the oath.

Estate of Andrew Trask, Mercer County, Illinois, Probate case files, file 1475, box 1490,
Affidavit of Publication and Posting of Notice, filed 19 April 1886,
Circuit Clerk's Office, Aledo; digital image, FamilySearch (http//www.familysearch.org), accessed 26 October 2014.

Make certain when you extract details that you extract enough.

Dead men may tell tales but they don't make out affidavits.

25 October 2014

Illinois Probate Records Updated On FamilySearch

The online images of probate materials from Illinois has been updated on FamilySearch.

Illinois Probate Records, 1819-1988

We forgot to include this in our recent FamilySearch posting.

24 October 2014

Updated Databases on FamilySearch: NY, TN, OH and GA materials

The following databases are showing as updated or new on FamilySearch:

New York, State Census, 1865

Tennessee, Probate Court Files, 1795-1955

Ohio, Trumbull County Records, 1795-2010

Georgia, Deaths, 1928-1938

Settling Up with A Rifle and A Pig

There are always interesting discoveries to be made in probate case files. Like any court record, the amount of detail they can provide varies greatly from one file to another and can provide interesting insights into our ancestors lives.

Like how they paid their doctor bill.

Many families have traditions about how a doctor was paid by a means other than cash. The probate file of William Smith in Mercer County, Illinois, provides direct evidence of how a 1860 era doctor bill was paid.

The Smiths gave the doctor a rifle and two pigs to complete payment on their $34 bill. 

The doctor signs an affidavit stating that the account had been paid in full.

There are no details about the type of rifle or the type of pigs. In all seriousness, the court really wasn't interested in the type of rifle or pigs used to pay the bill--just that the bill had been paid.

Common usage of the time would indicate that since the animals were referred to as "pigs" and not "hogs" that they were younger animals, perhaps recently weaned and not fully grown. But that's speculation.

And there's no record of the gun permit or the transfer of ownership--(smirk!).

Sometimes there's interesting details in those estate accountings.


Pig: Image courtesy of Tina Phillips at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Pig: Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

23 October 2014

lidya Sargeant Not Lydia Sargent

Variant spellings are frustrating for many genealogists, including myself.

This image (with the black text) was originally used an illustration in a recent Genealogy Tip of the Day blog post. I incorrectly spelled the name in the citation. It should have been "lidya Sargeant"--not Lydia Sargent. Normally when writing about ancestors whose names are spelled a variety of ways, I standardize the names in any general discussion of them and in my conclusions about them.

But when transcribing documents and records I should transcribe the names as they are written or at least as close to that as possible.

I didn't in this case and thanks to a reader for very graciously pointing this out to me.

22 October 2014

FamilySearch Updates: TN Probates, WA Marriages, and SD School Records

The following databases are showing as new or updated on FamilySearch:

South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970

Tennessee, Probate Court Files, 1795-1955

Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008

Who Are You Missing In the Census?

Most genealogists have at least relative they can't find in a specific census. Here are four people I simply have been unable to find along with what I know about them.

1920 Anna Apgar

  • Born in 1913 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
  • In 1920 should be living with her mother, Marie (Demar) Apgar Verikios and her step-father Peter Verikios.
  • Not enumerated with her living grandparent or a parental sibling.
  • It is possible she was in Clinton County, New York--where her mother was born in the 1890s.

1870 John Ufkes

  • Born 1838 in Ostfriesland, Germany.
  • Place of birth could be listed as Ostfriesland, Germany, or Prussia.
  • Name actually Johann Frederichs Hinrichs Ufkes--those middle names could be a last name in a census enumeration.
  • Should be in the Adams County, Illinois, area although he did start a homestead in Nebraska in 1871.

1870 Ira William Sargent

  • Born early 1840s in Canada
  • Other enumerations list New York or Illinois as a place of birth
  • Should be in Davis County, Iowa--where he married in October of 1870. 
  • Parents are dead by 1870 and he's not enumerated with any siblings in 1870.
  • Could be enumerated as Ira or William Sargent or Ira or William Landon (his step-father's surname).
  • Probably not living with step-father, Asa Landon, as Landon returned to his native Canada during the Civil War leaving his step-children in the Missouri/Iowa area.

1850 Peter and Barbara Bieger

  • Should be in either Hamilton County, Ohio (where they married in 1849) or Hancock County, Illinois (where they purchased property in the fall of 1850).
  • Born in the 1820s in Germany.
  • Possible they were moving from Ohio to Illinois at the time of the enumeration.

I've not included sources in this blog post, but I may be well-advised to revisit each statement I've made about the person in question. This is especially true for any statement I've made that begins with "could" or "should" as those statements are not backed up by any documentation or source.

It's also worth noting that it may not be worth my while to spend too much time additionally searching for these people as I've already devoted quite a bit of time to it already. It may be that the enumeration simply doesn't provide anything that I do not already "know."

Then again, it's also possible that if I find them in an unexpected place I end up with a whole new set of questions.

21 October 2014

Learning More About North Carolina, Civil Action Court Papers--Not!

Ancestry.com has included images of North Carolina civil action court papers in its online collection of materials. The items are unindexed, but the images can be viewed by county. They are also available online free at FamilySearch.

There's even a link on the Ancestry.com website to the page on FamilySearch where "you can learn more about this collection."

Well, not quite.

The wiki page on FamilySearch is empty as no one has added to it.

Didn't take long to read that!

The page Ancestry.com linked to is a page on United States court records in general--apparently.

I think Ancestry.com meant to link to this page on FamilySearch

Do they read the pages they link to? 

Joseph Daby Will Part 2-Not So Easy To Read

part of the will of Joseph Daby, Middlesex County, Mass., file 5702; 
digital image, www.AmericanAncestors.org,  viewed 18 October 2014

This is the second post from the will of Joseph Daby in Stow, Massachusetts, which was admitted to probate in June of 1763. This is the clause that centers on his wife, Eunice and her care and support after his death. We'll have a transcription in an upcoming post as this image is a little more difficult to read than the initial clause of Joseph's will.

The images on AmericanAncestors.org sometimes are not quite as clear as the digital images I made from Massachusetts probate materials while at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. This is a will where I may want to create my own images from the Family History microfilm and compare those to the images I've obtained from AmericanAncestors.org.

Waiting for Permission

A reader sent me links to information on a distant Sargent relative whose loom was a part of an educational display at the Lincoln Log Cabin Site near Lerna, Illinois. I'd like to use their picture of the loom as a part of a blog post on the item and the family.

However since it's not my picture I need to obtain permission first before I'll use the picture. Realistically the worse that would probably happen is that I'll be asked to take the picture down. It's really just polite to ask before using someone else's image on my own blog...even if I credit them.

So the blog post will have to wait.

Stay tuned!

Updated on FamilySearch: Illinois and California Materials

The following databases are showing as updated on FamilySearchi since our last update:

Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991

California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994

18 October 2014

Related to Michael?

As some of you know the only families I mention are ones to whom I am related. For those wondering how I connect to the families recently mentioned, a copy of my ancestor table is here.

Will of Joseph Daby from 1763, Part I

The image that follows is the initial part of the 1763 will of Joseph Daby of Stow, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, which was admitted to probate in June of 1767.  The will actually contains the names not only of Daby's daughters, but also several of his grandchildren. 
part of the will of Joseph Daby, Middlesex County, Mass., file 5702;
digital image, www.AmericanAncestors.org,  viewed 18 October 2014

--------------[begin transcription]-------------
In the Name of God Amen this fourth Day of April Anne Dom. one Thousand and Seven Hundred and Sixty and three I Joseph Daby of Stow In ye County of Mi[?]x. In ye Province of the Massachusets Bay in New England Gentn. being Suspible of my Mortality and the State of my Family Requiring a Settlement I Constitute  and appoint this to be my Last Will and Testament Principally I recommend my Soul to God In hope of Mercy thro ye Merits of Jesus Christ and my Body to ye Earth to be buried in Decent Christian Burial at the Expance and Discretion of my Exer here after appointed
--------------[end transcription]-------------

I fought with myself on whether the word in the bottom left hand corner of the image was "Direction" or "Discretion." Looking at the way the writer makes his letter "s" (when not the initial letter of the word), it seems that the third letter in the word was an "s." Both words would make reasonable sense in the context of the sentence.

Given the location of the record, it seems that the Mi[?]x is a reference to Middlesex County.

The only son Daby mentions in his will is one who apparently predeceased his father.

We'll have more of the Daby will in future posts.

Updated on FamilySearch

The following databases are showing as updated on FamilySearch since our last update:

New Mexico, Territorial Census, 1885

New York, Naturalization Index (Soundex), 1792-1906

South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970

Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991

How much of an update has taken place I can't say.