Monthly Archives: July 2018

How Much “Outside” Information?

I struggled a little bit in writing issue 4-10. It discusses two affidavits in a Civil War pension file for a Union veteran from Missouri.

He’s from a family that has already been researched and I was tempted to include additional information beyond what was in the affidavit. One problem with that is “where does the issue end?” and “what to include and what to leave out?” So I decided to leave it all out.

That makes it easier to focus on what is in the affidavit and what it says. That’s also a good way to analyze any record or document–at least initially.

by itself

It can be difficult to do that, but it helps us to see things that we might not have noticed otherwise.

And, in the case of Casefile Clues,  it makes for fewer records to cite in an issue.

Our Philosophy

It has been a little while since I posted anything to the blog about our philosophy here at Casefile Clues and since we have some new subscribers I thought I would.

Casefile Clues is not geared towards the totally new genealogist. There already is a great deal of basic how-to information on the internet and in print form. Our audience is the experienced genealogist. Our focus is also on the process, why certain things were done, what worked, and most importantly what did not work.
Michael only writes about families he is actually researching. That does limit the scope somewhat, but my children have a fairly diverse background so there is variety. Suggestions for ideas are welcome, but unless you are related to me (as one gentleman in Topeka was), I’m probably not going to write about your family.
Casefile Clues does not accept any advertising, either in the PDF version of the newsletter or on the Casefile Clues website. This is partially because what time I do have for the newsletter is I want to devote to researching and writing. I don’t want to have to worry about advertisers, ads, etc. And…since Casefile Clues has no advertisers there is no one to worry about irritating. We really don’t get controversial in Casefile Clues , but this way I don’t have to worry if an advertiser won’t like that I “left out” their site, book, etc. I also don’t want readers to think I’m writing about a certain site or service in an attempt to promote it. I write about how I actually research. It is that simple. And suggestions are always welcome if you think I have overlooked something, because sometimes I do. Everyone does.
Some blogs, newsletters, and websites write about vendors or sites in hopes that their blog, newsletter, or website generates traffic to that site and generates them income. I’m certainly not opposed to income and I’m certainly not opposed to advertising (I use it on my site just to be upfront about it), but I really want Casefile Clues to be completely about the research.
If you’ve found Casefile Clues helpful to your research, consider:
  • mentioning it on your website/blog
  • sharing information about the newsletter with others
It really does help and I do appreciate it.
And your positive comments and support are also appreciated. There are a few taped up in my office for motivation when deadlines are looming.

About Casefile Clues

Casefile Clues brings you one or more of the following:

  • Sources–Some weeks Casefile Clues focuses on a specific source or type of record, discussing how that source can be accessed, researched, and interpreted.
  • Methodology–Some weeks Casefile Clues works on one of Michael’s problems. Many times these problems are “in progress,” and Casefile Clues reflects that by explaining what was researched, why it was researched, and where to go next (and why).
  • Case Studies–Some weeks Casefile Clues focuses on a specific record on a specific person and analyzes that record, discusses what it says (and what it does not) and where to go next based upon that person and the specific record.
  • Citations–Casefile Clues includes citations of sources and records. Articles can easily be read without them, but we include citations for those who prefer to have them and we do try and model citations in the style of Evidence Explained.
  • ReasonsCasefile Clues tries to give you insight into why certain research avenues were pursued over others. Often the genealogist simply does not have time or money to locate every piece of paper available. Sometimes it is necessary to go with what likely will give us the “most bang for the buck.”
  • Readable–We work very hard to make Casefile Clues readable. Columns are not “fluff” or generic “how-to” pieces.
  • CoverageCasefile Clues covers all American time periods and records. All families discussed come from the ancestry of Michael’s children who lived in a variety of states and countries. All examples are from actual families on which Michael has worked or is working. If you are subscribing when Casefile Clues begins discussing Philip Troutfetter, you’ll see that you just can’t make this stuff up.

Reader Comments

I received the nicest email from a regular reader last week. They told me they always looked forward to getting Casefile Clues and that it caused them to think about what they were finding and how they analyzed it.

Sometimes those are two of the most important parts of genealogical research.

Issue 4-10 is out!

casefile-clues-4-10Issue 4-10 looks at an atypical 1870 census enumeration from Mercer County, Illinois.

It went out earlier today. If you’d like to subscribe, visit our blog. If you did not get it and you are a subscriber, please email me at