Your Quick Tips

A Book Behind the Name
My great-grandmother, Capitola McCann, was born in Tyler County, West Virginia, in 1859 and was the youngest of four girls. They all had rather unusual names—Loania, Theodosia, Viola, and my ancestor, Capitola. I was curious about where her name might have come from, and searching around the Internet I found a book that might offer an explanation. An author by the name of E.D.E.N. Southworth wrote a book called The Hidden Hand, or Capitola the Madcap—and it was first published in 1859! It was the story of Capitola Black, or Black Cap, who was a bit of a tomboy and an adventure-loving girl.

I would like to think that my Capitola’s mother was a reader, and that the book would not only explain where my ancestor got her name from, but also where my love of reading came from!

Bonnie Selig
Elizabeth, IL

AWJ Editor’s Note: For more information on E.D.E.N. Southworth, see the following sites:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture
(Stephen Railton and the University of Virginia)

Portraits of American Women Writers That Appeared in Print Before 1861
E.D.E.N. Southworth, 1819-1899

eBay’s “My Favorite Search”
Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak suggests searching eBay from time to time to look for family items. Better yet is the use of eBay’s “My Favorite Search” function. You can add your very specific searches for up to a year’s time (with notice to renew), and eBay will notify you via e-mail when it becomes available. It works great with unusual family names or specific search terms of names/locations, etc. I have found tremendous family treasures this way.Linda

Searching the Census
Searching the census using the names of your ancestors may not always show expected results. We are held at the mercy of both the original census takers’ spelling capabilities and the ability of transcribers to read the results. I have found my family name Zuver, not only spelled differently in common forms such as Zuber, Zouver, Zoover but misread by the transcriber as Zever, Zubin, Zurer, Zewer, Beever, and Zeiver, to name just a few.

If I am fairly sure that my relative should be found in a particular state, county, and township, I add that information to the search fields, remove the last name, and add the birth year with a two- or five-year spread. To reduce the number of results, I add the first name, but I have also found some misspellings, such as Millard instead of William. I first search what “Z” entries show and then scan the remainder if the selected relative does not display. This method has helped fill in many unfound census entries for my family. My last step is to fill the Comments and Corrections notice out so that Ancestry can correct the entry for other researches.

Cathy Sutherland

AWJ Editor’s Note: To learn more about the Comments and Corrections feature at, see:

If you have a suggestion you would like to share with other researchers, send it to: Thanks to all of this week’s contributors!

Quick Tips may be reprinted, with credit to the submitter, in other Ancestry publications, so if you do not want your tip included in a publication other than the “Ancestry Weekly Journal,” please state so clearly in your message.

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One thought on “Your Quick Tips

  1. I have a Capitola in my Bryan family, but her name was not from a book. She was the 17th child born in the family and they had quite frankly run out of names. A large Capitola Flour sack was sitting in the kitchen and a quick solution was found.

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