Monthly Archives: September 2016

Using my Camera and Word to Track my Citations


This was a really high-tech approach I took to note taking while I was at the Family History Library last May and June. I was working in some Boston, Mass., records and to keep myself from getting confused, I took pictures of the index entries for the estates I needed. Then those pictures were pasted into Word and I created a table alongside the image and added columns for:

  • FHL roll number
  • copied or not
  • notes

Not overly sophisticated, but it served my purpose and made creating citations easier later. I then took a picture of my notes to save as an image along with the actual images I made of records.

We’re hoping to include some issues of Casefile Clues using the records from Boston.

Waiting to Become My Children’s Guardian


The next issue of Casefile Clues (4-4) will look at a guardianship petition from 1889. We will focus on what the document says and try and strip away assumptions we may make about a document that may not necessarily be true.  This is an excellent case where not making assumptions is advised.

As we’ll see in a later issue–this petition was filed six years after the husband died and for a very specific reason which is alluded to in the petition.

Subscribe now and get in on the discovery.

Save on Casefile Clues Genealogy How-Tos and Get the Blog Update Free

To celebrate the start of our 4th volume of Casefile Clues, we’re offering new subscribers a chance to receive a full volume of issues and receive my weekly blog update for free. The blog update is normally $5 a year but is free if you subscribe to Casefile Clues by 5:30 pm on 26 September.
The blog update is weekly and summarizes postings to my four blogs along with premium content:
  • tombstone of the week
  • citation the week
  • photograph of the week
  • term of the week
The blog update is short and to-the-point. A sample is posted online.
Casefile Clues is more in-depth and focuses on a specific document, brick wall, or research concern in every issue. It is easy-to-read, practical, and based on actual research situations and always summarizes the record being discussed, the pitfalls of that document, and where to go next. Our goal is to get you thinking more about each record you find. Samples can be downloaded here. We cover records from a variety of time periods across the United States.

Newsletter Subscribers Can Get Michael’s Weekly Blog Update at No Charge

A subscription promotion is going out today where new subscribers to Casefile Clues can receive my weekly blog update for a year for free when they subscribe.
So that long term subscribers to Casefile Clues are not left out, we’re offering newsletter subscribers the opportunity to receive the weekly blog update at no charge–if they want it.

You can see one of our recent weekly updates on my Rootdig blog. It contains a few premium items that are not a part of any of my blogs.

You will not be automatically put on the weekly blog update distribution list unless you specifically request. The email to send your request is:

Missing Issues?

If you are a paid subscriber to Casefile Clues and are missing issues, please email me at and let me know what issues you are missing.  Please use “missing Casefile Clues” in your subject line and then tell me what issues you need.

Issues are numbered sequentially and named as


where x is the volume number

and yy is the issue number.



Going Forward

I’m excited about Casefile Clues being up and running again. Writing is always an excellent way to strengthen your research, see things you overlooked, get new ideas on other problems, etc.

As a reminder, I only write on families or use examples from my own personal research on my children’s ancestry with an emphasis on my own background (a copy of my ancestor table is posted on our blog). There’s  quite a bit of variety there and I try and pick items that are representative of records in general and make commentary about the records and not just the family they involve.

I don’t just “grab” a record from a random family and discuss it. Every record was created in several contexts: historical, social, political, economic, and familial. I don’t like analyze any record without knowing something about the family the record involves. That helps to make the analysis stronger and sometimes causes me to notice things in the record that might be overlooked.

I always try and include a “where to go next” based on the document being discussed in those issues that are focused on one record. While looking at everything is always the ideal, it’s not the reality for a variety of reasons. That “where to go next” section tries to emphasis which records should be accessed first, which ones may be cost-prohibitive to obtain, and which ones are less likely to have the desired information. It’s sometimes difficult to make those suggestions without knowing something about the family. Part of our purpose is to give readers ideas to help them in their own research.

I’m working on a list of general topics that will be the focus of future newsletters and will post that when it is complete.

Thanks for your support of Casefile Clues. It is appreciated.



Grow Your Research Skills with Casefile Clues–20% Off Celebration

At long last, we’ve finished volume three of Casefile Clues. To celebrate, we’re offering a 20% discount on any order of back issues of the newsletter. The coupon code is casefileclues. A complete list of issues and topics can be seen on our listing–where you can order as well.casefileclues

Casefile Clues is produced as a separate PDF file for each issue. Orders can be for individual volumes (52 issues each) or the entire set of 156 issues–that’s over 800 pages of genealogical instruction that’s easy to read, easy to understand, and practical. Our intent is to help you with your research by concentrating on the process and the method, not just the neatly-wrapped finished product. Seeing the how and why of the research is important as well. We’re also not trying to impress with five-syllable words or waist-deep prose that requires four readings to understand.

Download is immediate–after your order an email link will be sent allowing you to download your purchase.