My name is Maggie Champion, and I am the sole proprietor of Maggie’s Genealogy Service.  I am a professional genealogist, and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

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You have reached my Blog page.  My blog had its first post on Tuesday, 31 January 2012!

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Maggie Champion

You have been searching for records for a few hours in the state of Virginia. Then, you find your ancestor moved to Virginia from North Carolina. So, off you go there!

However, when you “go” to North Carolina, be careful. You are now in another time period and another state. Are the taxing procedures that same? What about probate practices?

Be careful that you know the particularities about the state where you are searching!


You have been searching for records online. Great, isn’t it!!

And then, you find that someone transcribed the obituary for your great-great-grandfather! Wow, what a find!

The transcription is there, but there is no mention of the source of the obit. Did it come from the newspaper close to where your relative lived? Did it come from the church newsletter? Did it come from “out of thin air”? Which one?

Be careful where there is no source listed. There is no way to know for sure that the information is “real” unless there is a source. And, even though there is a source, check out the source! The source may have been “created” too!


When visiting a courthouse, one doesn’t really know about the security screenings that may be involved in the visit. That is why it is important to ask ahead of time. If it is required to show some form of identification while visiting the courthouse, then make sure you have it with you. And, if “extra” papers are not allowed, then make sure to leave them in the car.

Also, if you are planning to make a copy of a record, make sure that you know what the courthouse allows. Some courthouses allow scanners and others do not. And, some allow certain kinds of scanners. Also know what the copy policy is. Is it okay to make copies?

I have visited courthouses that allow Flip-Pal scanners, some that do not allow any type of scanner, and some that do not allow copies to be made! So, check ahead of time!


When using the census, be careful to look at the census date.

The census taker may have come to your ancestor’s house on 16 June 1910, but the questions were supposed to be answered as of 15 April 1910. What if a child was born into the household in May?

Did your ancestor answer the questions “as of” that date? And, did the census take make sure that the questions were answered such? Some census takers were more concerned about accuracy than others, and some of the informants may not have understood about the “census date”.

So, be careful!


Have you ever found the Inventory of your ancestor’s estate? You know, it is usually in an inventory-type of book – separate from the probate records. Or, it may be in the probate records book – included with the rest of the record.

When looking at the inventory, don’t just look at the list of items. Make sure to look at who purchased the items. Is there anyone else that has the same family name as the deceased? What about someone else in the family – a son-in-law, a nephew?

The inventory is a good place to find those that you may not know are relation to the deceased. Make sure to look at everyone! You may find the relative for whom you have been looking!


So, you get to the courthouse, and you discover the will for which you have been searching! Yes! You have the book open, and you prepare to read the will to hopefully discover more of the family names.

Do you follow with your finger down the page? Do you let your finger rest on the page?

Do you realize that the oil in your skin can potentially damage that will?

Have you ever looked at a record and seen black spots – so many that it is difficult to read the words? That could be from someone letting their finger rest on the paper.

So, be careful that you don’t touch the paper.


So, this obituary was found in the papers belonging to my husband’s parents.

Chas Bringe obit


Who is it?

We know of one and only one Bringe who died on 3 April 1905.  His name is not Chas., but Karl Friederich Bringe.  He was the brother of my husband’s grandfather Bringe.  We have a photo of his gravestone – says Karl Friederich.  Could this be the same person?

Since we now had the obituary, I was able to search better for him in the 1900 census.  He was not living with his parents or any of his siblings.  But, I did find a Charles F. Bringe residing in Kern County, California, in the 1900 census.  He was a boarder with the Flasher family.  When I looked at the actual census record, his birth date was just one year off from what is on his gravestone.  And, he was a tool dresser on the oil wells.  The additional information of his immigration in 1884 assures me that this is the same Karl Friederich Bringe.

Then, I discovered that I had found the mystery man on another item from my husband’s parents.

We have inherited a trunk – it has stored in it items that belonged to grandfather Bringe.  And, the items are all from when grandfather worked the oil wells out west (mainly Oklahoma) from 1900-1905.  There are initials on the outside of the trunk – C. F. B., and the label inside the trunk is a label of the Los Angeles Trunk Factory.  My husband and I thought that the trunk must have belonged to Charles F. Bringe, another brother of grandfather.  But, I could never place him in California.  Now I know he was never there!  The trunk belonged to Karl (Americanized to Charles) Friederich Bringe!

What a lot of information one little obituary provided!