Author Archives: mjnrootdig

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.



We’ve picked up several new subscribers as a result of our recent promotion.



As a reminder, Casefile Clues is sent as a PDF file attached to an email. Issues are for personal use only and not to be forwarded, shared, etc. We try and keep subscription rates as low as possible and we appreciate those who help us out by not sharing.

Newsletters are named in a similar fashion: casefile_clues_x_y.pdf where x is the volume number and y is the specific issue number. Some subscribers find it helpful to put them in a separate folder–but the names make it easy to see if you happen to be missing an issue.

Issues are sent from either or Issues usually go out on the weekend, but there is some variability in that schedule. I always post to this blog when an issue goes out. Sometimes messages get bounced back because email boxes are full, temporary errors, etc. If you see that an issue has been sent and you don’t have it, please let me know.