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)Â
- 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.
Create Your Genealogy â€œBusinessâ€ Card
I have run into people at conferences and local society meetings who share my surname interests. For these occasions, I have created genealogy â€œbusiness cardsâ€ that include my contact information, surname interests, and the geographical areas where my search is focused. Iâ€™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.
If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: mailto:email@example.com . Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!
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