09 February 2010

St. Louis Directories at Footnote.com

I've been working with St. Louis directories at Footnote.com for an upcoming column in Casefile Clues. I've been finding several entries for one family I am working on. Footnote.com lets me search all the directories for one city at the same time, which is really nice.

What I would like to be able to do however, is have the results sorted by year of directory publication. In the case I'm working on, I need directories from ca. 1860 until about 1875 when the individual under study died. I certainly do not need the entries after 1890 and having the years appear in my search results in an apparently random fashion slows me down.

Don't get me wrong. The ability to search these directories all at once from my own home is convenient. But there's always room for a little tweaking!

Guaranteeing Results

I see it on a regular basis from genealogists at all levels.

"I'll help you trace all your great-grandparents. I have success in 97% of cases. I'll find your ancestors." Others make similar statements.

It is not just the inexperienced who make such claims on their websites. I see it in promotional materials written by those with various certifications and years of experience. It always leaves me a little frustrated and wondering how many potential clients believe that success in genealogical research can be guaranteed. It cannot.

Readers of this blog and my newsletter Casefile Clues know that occasionally I hire genealogists to work on various problems for me. Time and distance does not always allow me to research everywhere I want or need to. Usually I hire genealogists I have dealt with before, whose work I have seen elsewhere, or who have been recommended by someone I know. If I am considering hiring someone and their website or promotional material indicates any suggestion of even a hint of guaranteeing results, I go elsewhere. It is just a personal preference of mine. I want someone who knows their "stuff" and knows better than to even hint at guaranteeing anything.

I'm working on more in a series of hiring a professional researcher for Casefile Clues. The researcher I've hired and I have agreed on what will be researched, what copies will be made (if information is found) and how much time will be expended. Nowhere did she promise me any results.

I'm hoping she finds what we are looking for. She is too. But we both know that there are no guarantees in genealogy research. You should too.

Another Expo Registration Giveaway!

I am looking forward to presenting at the St. George Family History Expo on 27 February 2010 in St. George, Utah.

The Expo actually starts on the 26th--but work prevents me from attending on Friday.

There is a great lineup of speakers and presentations--which can be viewed here.

I'm giving away another full registration to attend the expo (does not include banquet). That's quite a bargain. Here is how you can enter to win:

My sister website, Casefile Clues, contains a blog post about the passport application of Robert Frame. To enter the contest, send an email to contest@casefileclues.com answering the following questions:

  • What was Robert's date and place of birth?
  • What was Robert's height (in feet and inches) ?

Make certain your name and email address appear in the body of your email. Submit answers to contest@casefileclues.com by 17 Feburary 2010.

Winner will be announced on 18 February 2010. Name will be drawn at random.

Win a Full Registration to the Family History Expo in St. George!

I am looking forward to presenting at the St. George Family History Expo on 27 February 2010 in St. George, Utah.

The Expo actually starts on the 26th--but work prevents me from attending on Friday.

There is a great lineup of speakers and presentations--which can be viewed here.

I'm giving away one full registration to attend the expo (does not include banquet). That's quite a bargain. Here is how you can enter to win:

My sister website, Casefile Clues, contains a blog post about my ancestor Nancy Rampley whose Civil War pension was denied several times. To enter the contest, send an email to contest@casefileclues.com answering the following questions:

  • What was the name of the representative Nancy had write a letter in her behalf?
  • What was the date of the letter?

Make certain your name and email address appear in the body of your email. The Casefile Clues website contains a scan of the letter written in Nancy's behalf---all you have to do is find it and submit the answers to contest@casefileclues.com by 17 Feburary 2010.

Winner will be announced on 18 February 2010. Name will be drawn at random.

St. George Utah 27 February 2010

I will be making three presentations at the Family History Expo on 27 Feb in St. George, Utah. Topics will be: Court records, Illinois research, and migration. Fans in the area are welcome to come and introduce themselves.



08 February 2010

Basco Basketball Team 1930-1931

This photograph was found in my Granddad (John H. Ufkes)'s things.
It appears to be the Basco, Illinois, High School basketball team from 1930-1931. If anyone can identify anyone in the picture, please email me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com. Thanks!

Who are four of these people?

I only know who one of the people in this photo is.

The young lady on the far right is Tena/Trientje Janssen Ufkes (1895-1986).

Tena was born in Bear Creek Township in February of 1895 and died in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, in 1986.

I do not know who the others are in the picture. This photograph was one that my grandparents had. Tena's son John H. Ufkes (1917-2003), was my grandfather.

Any suggestions as to who the others are would be greatly appreciated.

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Flip it Over!

I've been quickly going through a few things in my grandparents' collection of clippings trying to find something for a Casefile Clues column. I ran across a clipping Grandma made from the church bulletin the Sunday I was baptized.

While she didn't write the date on the clipping, I was lucky. When I flipped the clipping over, the date was right there on the back: 28 July 1968.

The name of the church wasn't there, but that I already knew--Trinity Lutheran in Carthage, Illinois.

I'll have to work on a citation for this in the spirit of Evidence Explained. Everything used in Casefile Clues is always cited, but this probably won't appear there as I usually don't write about myself.

03 February 2010

It is not that specific

This irritates me, but like many things that irritate me I doubt there will be much in the way of any response.

This is a screen shot of part of a timeline from one of the Ancestry Family Trees on a relative of mine. I did not compile the data. I have seen this type of problem numerous times and this is not an isolated case.

The county of birth is correct for this person (at least it agrees with every record I have uncovered), but the county seat (of the same name) is not. There's actually no primary record of this person's birth (too early) and the family likely lived in one of the outlying townships based upon tax and land records. The person was not born in the county seat.

But me disagreeing with the place of birth is not the point. Researchers can reach different conclusions. There is a larger problem with this sourcing.

The way this information is "sourced" seems to indicate that the 1850, 1860, 1870 and censuses provide the county of birth for this individual. They do not. All they give is the state of Ohio (I've seen them all). While I am glad that the Ancestry Trees allow for the inclusion of sources, the way it ends up being done is in a way that is very misleading as it implies the census provides an amount of accuracy that it does not.

For this individual, the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census should be tied as the source of a birthplace of "Ohio," not a place of birth of "Coshocton County, Ohio." That's why we should have multiple places of birth for most ancestors when doing sources accurately. We should not indicate that a source provides more accuracy than it actually does.

Sourcing like this only adds to the confusion and makes it imperative that actual records be used whenever possible.

Sometimes people wonder if there won't be a need for professional genealogists in the future. When I see the ease with which data like this can be compiled I think I know the answer to that question.

02 February 2010

George Trautvetter's Civil War Service

This page comes from the Illinois Adjutant General's Report (Volume 1, published in 1900, page 650) of Company H of the 14th Reorganized Illinois Infantry.

The entry, partially highlighted here, indicates that George A. Trautvetter enlisted on 18 February 1865 and was mustered in on the same day. It also indicates he deserted.

There was another George Trautvetter who served in the 15th Missouri Infantry, Company H who I blogged about before after finding those records on Footnote.com. That George enlisted in Keokuk, Iowa, a very short distance from where George A. Trautvetter lived. I had assumed the George Trautvetter who enlisted in the Missouri regiment and the one listed in this regiment were the same one. Now I am not so certain as George A. Trautvetter's biography contains details not consistent with him enlisting in the Missouri regiment.

It might really be time to obtain the Civil War pension for George A. Trautvetter and see what it has to say about his service---of course if he actually deserted there won't be one.

Who is the other George? Is it a different George? I'm starting to wonder. The problem is: who?

Mention Us on Your Blog, Please!

I'm not naming the site, the product or the company that sent me an email recently. I've included an altered version of it below.

--------- beginning of altered email (CAPS indicated altered item)---------------------------

The new BLAHBLAH is launching an online giveaway:BLOGABOUTUSANDWIN . One lucky winner will receive a FREETHING from OVERPRICED STUFF, valued at $ANOVERINFLATEDPRICE!

To enter, simply blog or tweet about BLAHBLAH before the RELEASE DATE, link to the official BLAHBLAH site and/or fanpage, and send your permalink to helpussellourstuff@notanemail.com.

Write a second blog or tweet between THISDATE and THATDATE and double your chances of winning.

For full contest details go here: WEBSITE DELETED.

-------------- end of altered email ----------------------

I'm not opposed to marketing. I'm not opposed to making money. I've been known to promote my own newsletter as well. Advertisements (clearly indicated as such) do not present any problem to me. Mentioning something in the text or an article or writing about something solely to "get something out of it" just doesn't sit well with me. I never cared for Paul Harvey for much the same reason. "Write about us and we'll enter you in a contest" just doesn't sit well with me.

If it doesn't bother you, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Products, books and other materials are occasionally mentioned here on Rootdig.com. If they get mentioned, it's because I actually use them. Once in a while a researcher or research service gets mentioned--if so, for the same reason. Readers likely will never see books or research materials from Eastern Europe on my site--because I don't have family there. That's it and nothing more.

Years ago a good friend in "genealogyland" asked me to give an hourlong lecture on a genealogy software program that she was thinking about using. I had not used the software yet, but out of great respect for my friend, I agreed to do the presentation and said I would have time to learn it so I could present about it. I learned about the software, created the presentation, and gave the presentation, explaining its use. After using it, I decided I would never buy the software and never recommend its use to anyone (and NO, I'm NOT saying what the name of the software was). I also decided I would never present again on anything that I wasn't already familiar with. I also decided I would never present on something I would not pay for myself.

I never blog about something because someone's offered me something or entered my name in a contest if I mention it. Consequently, if I am not a fan of something or don't use it (because it's not in my areas of research), you won't find it mentioned here. As a result, there may be great things in genealogyland that I simply don't mention because it's not in my area of research.

I've always tried to make my blog/website about actual research and things I actually do or use.

End of soapbox and back to work.

01 February 2010

Pig Breeder Transfers Provide Genealogy Clues

Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

I spent a few minutes today playing on Google Books after a few Casefile Clues readers reported success after reading issue 27. Each hog was given a name and their pedigrees are shown through the grandparents. Typical for animal breeders

The book image here is from the 1911 and was located by searching on rampley "west point." The W. Rampley shown here I am reasonably certain is my great-grandmother's brother. They were children of Riley and Nancy Newman Rampley. There are a few of Nancy's family that I'm trying to track down.

Notice to whom W. Rampley sold several of these hogs--A. W. Newman of Hurdland, Missouri. This may be a clue in locating a few lost members of the Newman clan--and all from a 1911 directory of hog breeders. Not what one would expect.

And for those who wonder what a Chester White is, we've added an image here to this post. It's not one of the sows listed on this page, but it gives off the farm readers an idea.

28 January 2010

It is All About Context

This image is from the 1855 Mercer County, Illinois State Census.

Just a couple of things I noticed while using this image for next week's issue of Casefile Clues.

The names are in rough alphabetical order--that's fairly evident from the screen shot here and very evident when viewing page after page.


The 6th entry on this image--the last name is not all that easy to read, admittedly.

However if I were indexing this page, I would have noticed the names were in approximate alphabetical order. The first letter of the last name begins with either an "S" or a "T." A "T" appears most likely looking at the "S"s right above it.

Ancestry.com indexed the name as "Andrew Frank." I realize why someone might have thought that if I had simply posted the image of the name completely out of context as I did here (although I still think the last two letters look like "sk" or maybe "sh.").

Ancestry.com also titled these 1855 census images a little strangely below the county level too, but I'll leave that comment for later.

It's not all about context, but context is extremely important. Nothing is created or exists in a vacuum.

26 January 2010

Happy Birthday Granddad..

My Granddad Ufkes (John Henry Ufkes) would have been 93 years old tomorrow (27 January). He was born 27 January 1917 to Frederick and Trientje (Janssen) Ufkes on the family farm near Basco, Hancock County, Illinois. Granddad was the only grandfather I ever knew--my Grandpa Neill passed away when I was an infant.

I've posted my version of his obituary on my website.

Happy Birthday and Rest in Peace, Granddad. You deserve it.


24 January 2010

Sample Copy of Casefile Clues

Readers of the Rootdig.com site can get a sample copy of my weekly newsletter, Casefile Clues, by pointing your browser here:

Casefile Clues is delivered weekly as a PDF file attached to an email. The sample focuses on a German family, but topics cover the entire United States and a variety of time periods. Emphasis is on sound methodology, citation, and clear writing. Attention is also paid to "why" certain things were done or tried--not that I'm always correct, but at least I try to let readers know what was going on in my head as I was researching.

Questions can be sent to me at mjnrootdig@gmail.com

23 January 2010

Incorrect Volume Numbers on Google Books

This "hit" from Germans to America was located on Google Books. There is no doubt that the desired individuals, Martin Fecht and Kea Goldenstein, appear in Germans to America.
They just don't appear in volume 1 as indicated on the search results which is shown in this image. Volume 1 of Germans to America covers the early 1850s and Fecht and Goldenstein (and the rest of the names shown) arrived in NYC in March of 1881.
In working on the next issue of Casefile Clues, I've discovered that in some books from a series that appear in "snippet" form, the actual volume number listed is incorrect. Anyone else noticed this?
My first in an ongoing series of articles on Google Books will appear in issue 26 of Casefile Clues, scheduled for distribution in a few days.

21 January 2010

Hand on the image

This was a page I stumbled upon while playing around with Google Books for an upcoming issue of Casefile Clues.
Apparently the digitization of books by Google is not a completely automated process--as the hand here shows.
Just thought it was a neat image. Thankfully they didn't cover up anything I needed--that's usually the way it goes.

Laying the Groundwork for Salt Lake City FHL Trip

I'm laying the groundwork for the few things I want to look up for myself or for future writing when I am in Salt Lake City this coming May at the Family History Library. Nothing too fancy yet, but thinking about things. It is never too early to get started and our trip participants have already been given preliminary information about the trip.

It's not too late to my group in May/June for a week in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library. Your research will never be the same.

I still have a stack of things (ok, a flash drive full of images) from the last time I was there. I will read through those in the next month to see if there were any leads I need to follow up on my next trip.

Embedded Image from Google Books

This is a test post. This is a part of page 534 of the Encyclopedia of the history of Missouri: a compendium of history and Biography, published in 1901. Levi Rhodes is my wife's ancestor. This page is from the history of Sand Hill in Scotland County, Missouri.

Books on Pig Breeders Counts as Juvenile Fiction

One really has to wonder sometimes. While working on a Casefile Clues article, I stumbled across this reference on Google Books.
The first two books were published by various hog breeder associations. Google books classifies them as "juvenile fiction."
If they were Charlotte's Web, maybe, but that's not what these books are about.