Your Quick Tips, 21 May 2007

Search by Location
There is one option for searching census records that you did not mention. Many of my family members were farmers and lived in small communities. I have searched by putting in the location with no first and no last name. It brings up everyone who is indexed for that location. I have done this for a community that has several hundred in it and for a few locations that have several thousand. For large cities I found this not practical. Using this technique I have found people that I would never have otherwise. Their names were indexed very differently than what I could imagine, yet were discernable by reviewing the results list of names using this search method. I had gone through searching the census using a list of all possible name spelling combinations with and without Soundex and wild cards and was not finding them; however, this method was a success several times.

I also found relatives this way. If there are small communities surrounding the location of interest I will do the same for that location and scan through the names. There are times that the people listed as neighbors in the census might not be the closest in distance from the family I am searching. This is because of the layout of the roads and topography of the land. Someone may be living next to the acreage of the family being researched but on another road that might not appear until several pages later in the census. So when looking at “neighbors” on a census record, these relatives would be missed but using the above method I will find them and other surprises as well.

Ritchie Hansen Continue reading

The Year Was 1890

The Atlanta Constitution, 5 January 1890, from Ancestry Historical Newspaper CollectionClipping from Historical Newspaper CollectionThe year was 1890 and the world found itself largely in the grip of “La Grippe,” an influenza outbreak that would continue through the early years of the decade. The Decatur Daily Dispatch (Decatur, Illinois) notes that members of royal families across Europe had fallen victims to the disease and in France, deaths from influenza the previous week were 2,334. It also discusses outbreaks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Goshen, Indiana; Jefferson City, Missouri; and Greensburg, Kansas. (Click on the newspaper image on the left to enlarge it and read the entire article.) Another article from The Atlanta Constitution reports the epidemics effects in New York, Boston, Paris, and Berlin on 5 January 1890. (Click on the newspaper image on the right to enlarge it and read the entire article.)

New Yorkers cheered the return of famed reporter, Nellie Bly, who raced around the world to best the hero of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days.” She made it in seventy-two days, six hours and eleven minutes. Nellie Bly, the pen name of Elizabeth Jane Cochran had previously gained fame by having herself committed to a New York insane asylum and reporting on the cruel conditions and treatment of the inmates. Continue reading

Photo Corner

Jan (John), Leonia (Nina) and Charlotte Goetkint from Antwerp, Belgium. 1923Contributed by Monique Chamberlain
This is a photo of my grandparents and mother – Jan (John), Leonia (Nina) and Charlotte Goetkint from Antwerp, Belgium. 1923.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Carleton Weller Kenyon, 1925-2003, and his sister, Jean Arlene (nee Kenyon) Lovelace, 1931 in Yankton, SDContributed by Garnet K. Elliott, Keizer, Oregon
This is one of my favorite brother-sister photos of my father, Carleton Weller Kenyon, 1925-2003, and his sister, Jean Arlene (nee Kenyon) Lovelace. She celebrated her 80th birthday May 1. It was taken around 1931 in Yankton, SD. Their former home, built in 1886 (Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home), is open to the public as the tallest Queen Anne in the state.

Ancestry Publishing Introduces the Official Guide to

 Ancestry Publishing is proud to introduce the long-awaited Official Guide to Official Guide to AncestryYou know that is the #1 site for family history on the Web. Now, learn to use it like never before! Written by Ancestry Weekly Journal favorite, prolific author and genealogy lecturer, George G. Morgan, this book takes you on a detailed tour through the many exciting features of and teach you how to most effectively search for your ancestors.

The book presents an easy-to-understand guide to how to access and use the power of the thousands of Ancestry databases. You will learn how to navigate the entire site, how to browse, and how to use all of the search functionalities to maximize your efficient use of the entire site. You will learn how each of the major content areas are organized and presented, and what is included in each area. Sample case studies are described, and the appropriate database search templates and search results are illustrated with scores of actual screen shots. George also offers practical suggestions for using the results to continue and further your research. Continue reading

Minnesota Divorces and State Censuses Posted at Ancestry with Free Indexes

Split Rock Lighthouse, 200 Feet Above Beautiful Lake SuperiorThis week Ancestry posted the following two databases of interest for those with roots in Minnesota:

Minnesota Divorce Index, 1970-1995 (Free index)

This database contains a statewide index of divorces filed in Minnesota between 1970 and 1995. Information that may be found in this database includes:

  • Husband’s name
  • Husband’s age
  • Wife’s name
  • Wife’s age
  • Divorce date
  • County divorce was filed in

Minnesota Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905 (Free index)

This database contains the Minnesota territorial and state censuses for the following years:

Group photograph: Schneider family in Baltimore, Maryland, ca. 1921-22

Edith May, Helen Caroline, Edith Augusta Louise (my Grandmother) and Theodore Charles Henry (Dadu) SchneiderI received this photograph the other day and because of the size, I’d have to crop it to fit it in the newsletter and that would really detract from the lovely composition. Thanks to Matthew for sharing it!

Here is a photograph of Edith May, Helen Caroline, Edith Augusta Louise (my Grandmother) and Theodore Charles Henry (Dadu) Schneider. A gentler time, and beautiful imagery. I really love this photo of my Grandmother. Until 2007, this was the only photo of Nannie, Helen and Dadu that I’d ever seen. This print belonged to my late Grandmother Edith. Photographed by Dadu Schneider, approx 1921-22 at the time that his photography studio in Baltimore, Maryland was in business.

Thank you 😉
Matthew McClellan
Charlotte, North Carolina USA

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Weekly Planner: Seek Out New Reading Materials

girl reading outside.jpgWith weather warming up here in the Midwestern United States, I seek out any excuse to go outside and enjoy the weather. Check out bookstores–new and used, online and off–or your local library in search of titles that will help you learn more about the times and places in which your ancestors lived. Then make some time for a relaxing read in the park, on the porch, or in your favorite comfy chair. You never know when the knowledge you gain from books will come into play in your family history—and it’s a great way to enjoy the day.

Using Ancestry: Census Search Review, by Juliana Smith

We all probably have at least one of them. In my case, there are several. They’re those families for whom you’ve searched and searched and searched, but are still unable to locate in the census. You’ve pulled out all the stops, repeated the searches over and over, and spent more late nights than you’d care to admit trying to coax them to appear on the screen. Yet they steadfastly refuse.

For those of us who have been researching for a long time, we may know the tricks, and think we’ve tried it all, but sometimes it’s a good idea to review and see if there’s something we missed.

Are You Searching Direct?
If I’m missing an ancestor in a census, rather than trying to catch them in a big global search “net,” I go right to that particular census year and search it directly.  At, the census search forms differ from year to year based on what information is searchable in each index. More recent census years often have more fields that can be used to zero in on your ancestor. Just remember not to fill in too much search criteria, or you risk ruling out your ancestor’s entry. Start with a broad search and then rotate in new search criteria until you get a manageable number of hits. Continue reading