Your Quick Tips, 22 September 2008

Look at Alternate Names
Recently I was searching census records for a relative. I had found him in the 1910 and 1930 census in the same location, but I could not find him in the 1920 census. I tried several different tactics, using common misspellings for his last name, Soundex, searching by birth year, first name, etc, but without luck.

I searched on the last name again. This time, among the results at Ancestry, I noticed another family with the same last name. For that family alternate names were listed, the correct spelling and also an incorrect spelling from either the original census taker or the transcriber. This misspelling was one I had never seen before. I redid my search using that misspelling and bingo, there was the person I was looking for! His last name has never been corrected with an alternate name for this census.

In the future I will pay more attention to the alternate names for other similarly named.


Post-ems on RootsWeb
On RootsWeb, many of the databases let you add Post-ems, for instance California Deaths, Texas Deaths, and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). When I locate family in these indexes, I add the following with the Post-ems:

  • First Middle and Last Name (Maiden if applicable) 
  • Husband or Wife of . . .
  • First/Middle/Last Son or Daughter of (Fathers full name & mother’s maiden name)

This identifies the person, supplies information the researcher may not have, and gives the researcher my contact information, should they need more information. If all researchers would do that it would grow into a very useful database.

Tom Hoot

Create Your Genealogy “Business” Card
I have run into people at conferences and local society meetings who share my surname interests. For these occasions, I have created genealogy “business cards” that include my contact information, surname interests, and the geographical areas where my search is focused. I’ve also added a link to my tree on Ancestry, so that people I meet can check for themselves to see if there is a connection between our families. Office supply stores carry paper that you can use to print the cards.

Natasha Gold

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4 thoughts on “Your Quick Tips, 22 September 2008

  1. Bravo Natasha!

    Great minds think alike, as they say. 🙂 In researching my Smith families, I am constantly meeting with small (and large) groups of mostly 3rd cousins. And in wanting to continue our correspondence, I was constantly having to scribble down my phone number, address, e-mail etc.

    I came up with a card design with a neat little design- a clip art tree. And it says “Serving Your Smith-Finding Needs Since 1999” with all my vital data. It has come in so handy! I just leave stacks of them out at family gatherings. It leaves me more time to socialize and scan everyone’s old photographs, which is what I came to do.


  2. Natasha & Laini
    What a great idea, any chance of seeing how the card actually looks? I’m very interested in creating a similar card for my family names … just curious how to present the information and see how you have tackled this.
    Many thanks. Laurie

  3. I designed a business card that has a picture of a swan on it–a play on my maiden name and email address–with pertinent address and phone information on the front and, on the back of the card, the names and states (abbreviated to fit)of the various families I’m researching. I have to admit that I copied the idea from another person at a conference some 3 years ago, but what a good idea it was. I have a couple of good clip-art programs, and designing a business card really isn’t very difficult in either WordPerfect or Microsoft Office, and it’s so easy to print out a sheet or more of the cards, and save the document to use whenever it’s needed. It’s a really super idea and so useful on your genealogical travels.

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