Category Archives: Uncategorized

Exhaustive Searches that are Practical

We give recommendations for future research every time a document is analyzed in Casefile Clues. Those suggestions are based only on what the document discussed in the issue contains. This helps us to maintain our focus on the one document and the understanding of it.

I try and not bring in what I may know about the family from other records. Sometimes that is difficult, but I feel it’s important to helping people see how to analyze and interpret records.  It’s sort of “cheating” if suggestions are based on things I know that are in no way stated in the record.

We also try and be as practical as possible in our suggestions. It would be easy to say “look for everything,” particularly in research situations in the United States before 1850. That’s not always possible and some records suggest looking for certain other records first–either because those records are mentioned specifically in the record being analyzed or they are implied based upon statements made in the record. It’s just a question of choosing where to “followup.” Cost and access are other issues that are considered as well.

We try and suggest the most reasonable searches in our “going forward” section and leave it at that instead of giving readers an extremely long list of every possible record to look at. That’s because usually those records will suggest other materials and give the researcher additional direction.

Our search suggestions on following up to individual records are not usually exhaustive. Not because exhaustive searches are not important, but because our philosophy in record analysis is to focus on one record.


My Blogs

I maintain the following genealogy blogs:

  • Rootdig.comMichael’s thoughts, research problems, suggestions, and whatever else crosses his desk
  • Genealogy Tip of the Dayone genealogy research tip every day–short and to the point
  • Genealogy Search Tipwebsites I’ve discovered and the occasional online research tip–short and to the point
  • Casefile Clues–information on my genealogy how-to newsletter which focuses on analysis, interpretation, and methodology through case studies and document analysis.

Subscription to these blogs is free. Subscribe/Unsubscribe links are in every email and on the top of each blog page.

Subscription to the actual Casefile Clues newsletter (emailed as a PDF file) is on a fee basis–only $20 for 52 issues. Subscription to the weekly blog update is only $5 a year.

15 Free Issues of Casefile Clues

New subscribers to Casefile Clues will have their subscriptions start with issue 16 and get issues 4-1 through 4-15 for free. Improve your genealogy research skills, your knowledge of sources, and your analytical abilities with our easy to follow, easy to understand, and clearly written newsletter.

We transcribe and interpret documents, discuss methods, and include strategies in every issue.

More than just the page

Issue 4-15 discussed an 1850-era affidavit from a War of 1812 pension file. The document was written on both sides of a folded sheet of paper. Keeping track of what was what was easier when the images included more than just the “desired” part of the image. Cropping images too closely can eliminate clues, especially when copies or images are made “on the fly” while doing research. The “side clues” on this image helped me keep track of just how this entire document was put together. Had each image been cropped closely while at the research site those clues would have been missed.

Visit our Casefile Clues to learn more.

The Habben Burial

Issue 4-14 discusses an 1880 death certificate from Illinois. It was analyzed in relative isolation to other information on the family–except for their 1880 census enumeration.

The church register of the Lutheran Church indicated that a Habben burial was the first funeral in the church register. The name is Habbe Rolfs Habben–not Harm.

A personal inspection of the cemetery by a relative today indicates that there are burials from the 1870s in the cemetery–so Habben wasn’t the first burial.

I need to see when the cemetery land was actually obtained by the church. That may help me determine when it was first used as a cemetery.

That one death certificate has caused me to have quite a few more questions.