My name is Maggie Champion, and I was the sole proprietor of Maggie’s Genealogy Service.

I am now retired.

Enjoy the blog!




Well, the day has come that was foretold in March of this year.

Today is the final day for this blog, as I am retiring.  (Just in case you are wondering, this is blog number 557.)

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my blog!  Some have been with me from the very beginning (2012), some have joined recently, and some joined in-between.  I thank each of you for taking a part of your busy day to learn something, possibly new, about genealogy.

I wish all of you much success in discovering more about your ancestors, and thusly discovering more about you!



Do you know the difference between direct and indirect evidence?

According to Evidence Explained, 2nd ed., by Elizabeth Shown Mills, direct evidence is “relevant information that states an answer to a specific research question or appears to solve a research problem all by itself.”  Indirect evidence is “relevant information that does not answer the research question all by itself.  Rather, it has to be combined with other information to arrive at an answer to the research question.”

Take a look at this document.  This is one of the pages in the “Petition of Nathan Cole in the Matter of the Infant Children of Daniel Cole deceased.”  The date of the document is 17 February 1830.

What questions could be answered with this document?  What kind of evidence is given for answering these questions?










If we are asking who was the father of Mary Charlotte Cordelia Cole who was born in 1825 (information confirmed from other sources), this document is direct evidence that Daniel Cole was her father.   If we did not know for sure who the siblings were of Mary Charlotte Cordelia, this document is direct evidence who were her infant siblings.  (This document does not state that this was all of her siblings – just the infant siblings.)  Additionally, this document states who was to become the guardian of Mary Charlotte Cordelia and her siblings.  Joseph Cole was probably related to Daniel Cole, but the document does not state the relationship.  Other documents will need to be found to determine this relationship.  So, indirect evidence is also given in the document.

What other questions can be answered with this document?  Is the evidence direct or indirect?


If you feel “lost” in the research of your ancestor, what are some questions that may help in finding more about the ancestor?  If you know that you ancestor was residing in Stanford in 1870, these questions may help in discovering more about your ancestor.


Where was the nearest church?  Did you ancestor attend there?

Who were your ancestor’s neighbors?  Would any of there documents name your ancestor?

Where was the nearest cemetery?  Was your ancestor buried there?

What was the local government like in Stanford?  Is it possible that your ancestor worked in the government?

Was there a war going on at the time?  Did your ancestor enlist?

What was daily life like in Stanford?  What role did your ancestor play in this daily life?


There are even more questions that can be formulated to assist in learning more.  Questions may help!



Here is part of the”Personals” from the newspaper, “The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin),” dated 1 November 1911.

If any of the people mentioned are your ancestor, you can learn quite a bit from what was printed in this portion of the newspaper.  One bit of information gleaned from this article is that Mrs. H. B. Smith, of Wellington, Kansas, was visiting her sister, Mrs. R. E. Carncross.  If you did not already know where it was that Mrs. H. B. Smith was residing on 1 November 1911, you now know that she was residing in Wellington, Kansas.  And, she had a sister, Mrs. R. E. Carncross, who was residing in Appleton, Wisconsin.


Make sure to read all of the newspaper, including the Personals section.


Here is a photograph that was found in a trunk at the home of my hubby’s parents.



This photo was contained in an album of many photos.  There are no identifications given for who are in the photos.

We think that this is probably the parents of hubby’s grandfather – this couple came to the United States from Germany in 1884, when grandfather was a baby.  However, we will never know for sure, since there is no caption for the photo.





Please label your photos!!  You may know who the people are, but those coming after you will not necessarily know.



Do you know the difference between an original source and a derivative source?

Here is an example of an original source.


This document is an image copy of an original record (death certificate for Mrs. Elizabeth Harwell) that was produced by an authoritative agency (Bureau of Vital Statistics in the Commonwealth of Kentucky).








If I decided to transcribe the document, and make this transcription available to others, then the transcribed document would be a derivative source – it is not the original source, but a transcription.

And, even though the image copy may have mistakes in it, it is still much better than the transcription of the document, which may have additional errors in it.



I imagine that all of you are familiar with this type of book.


These are history books, usually found at family reunions and the library.

When you use the information in one of these books, how do you use it?  Do you copy the information verbatim?  Are you certain that the information is correct?

As tempting as it is to copy the information into your tree, it is important to verify the information.  Of course, you can keep the information as “probably correct”.  However, until the information is verified, it should not be put in your tree.