Father and Heir-at-Law (from issue 4-16)

Part of issue 4-16 (discussing a land patent issued based upon a surrendered land warrant):

Father and Heir at Law

Harrison Ramsey is styled in the patent as the “Father and heir at Law” of Andrew Ramsey. The reference to Harrison as an heir-at-law of Andrew suggests that Andrew had no children. Heirs-at-law are individuals who inherit from a deceased person based on the rules of intestate succession as defined in contemporary state statute (individuals potentially mentioned in a will are legatees or beneficiaries—not heirs-at-law). Had Andrew had living descendants at the time of his death…

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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.

 

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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.
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