Watch Those Surname Prefixes
As a worker in the LDS extraction program, now called Family Search Indexing, I can corroborate John McCall’s “Quick Tip” of May 21. When recording surnames with prefixes they are always separated from the rest of the name and apostrophes are left out (i.e., McCall becomes Mc Call and O’Hara becomes O Hara). Note also that given names were often abbreviated and they are recorded as they were originally entered into the census or other record. Therefore, “Wm” is recorded that way and not expanded to William, and “Elizth” is not expanded to Elizabeth.
AWJ Editorâ€™s Note: Excellent tip! Depending on where you search, itâ€™s a good idea to search surnames both ways. With given name abbreviations, some searches, like those at Ancestry, will often associate them with the full name and see it as a match, but itâ€™s always a good idea to try variations. And donâ€™t overlook initials in place of given names as well.
Watch the Vowels
Watch the vowels, especially if your ancestor came from a foreign land. I have a relative named Ubbo in my family. When I searched Ancestry, I could not find him. I did, however, know when he was born, when he immigrated to the states (from Germany), and when he died. One day I decided to widen my search, and I found him with the first name Obbo.
It would seem that many entries in the U.S. census are very dependant on how the name was heard by the census taker, especially in older censuses.
Reference Historical Maps
For many years, before I really got serious about genealogy, I looked for my grandfather and never found anything at all except a census entry as a boy in Kentucky. I knew my father was born in Indian Territory that now is a part of Oklahoma. In my ignorance, I thought Oklahoma equaled Indian Territory–one and the same place. This is only partly true.
I stumbled upon a map of the time period when my father was born and low and behold not only is present Oklahoma comprised of Indian Territory, but to my great surprise at least half of the area was at one time designated Oklahoma Territory. When I looked in what was truly Indian Territory and not in Oklahoma Territory, I found him. When I think of all the microfilm time I spent searching in Oklahoma Territory and all the time I should have been in Indian Territory, I shudder.Â
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