July 2013

Have you ever searched for a name in a County Clerk record? Usually, the County Clerk’s office is where one will find probate records. When looking for probate records, if you are lucky the book has an index. And, usually this index is in the front of the book.

One time, when trying to find an ancestor’s record, I was looking in the index under the letter “S.” Do you know how popular last names beginning in “S” are? Very popular! So, I got to the end of the page, and no ancestor. I turned the page to see if they were continued on the next page. But, they weren’t there. However, there were more of the “S” surnames on the previous page. So, I looked carefully through the names. I got to the bottom of the page, and still no ancestor. But, since the entire page was used, I thought that maybe there was another continuation page. I went through the entire index. I did find them – after the “Z” page! There was not a notation on any of the other “S” surname pages about looking after the “Z” page, but that is where they were!

So, if you don’t find your ancestor, look through the entire index. The continuation page may be where you would least expect it to be!



Do you have ancestors who immigrated to the U.S.? Do you know if their name changed once they entered the U.S.?

I was looking for someone’s ancestor with the first name of Carmela. The first census of which she was in was 1915. She was listed as Carmela. I looked and looked for another Carmela to no avail. I thought I knew who she had married, but I wasn’t sure. Then, I found her! She was listed as Mildred on the marriage application. From then on, I looked for Mildred, and I found much more about her!

So, don’t always assume the name was never changed!


Have you ever been following your male ancestor in the census, and suddenly discovered that his wife did not age the same 10 years that your ancestor did?

It could be that your ancestor’s first wife died, and he remarried someone with the same first name. And, he could have had children by the 2nd wife before the next census. So, don’t assume that the information given to the census taker was incorrect. It could be that it is necessary to look for another marriage – your ancestor’s 2nd wife this time!


As you know, I have been writing my blog for some time now. I have written tips on doing research, ideas for breaking through brick walls, and examples of my own research (Babcock and Bradshaw families).

I would like your opinion. Would you prefer to continue to see research tips? Has it been helpful for me to give you examples of my research on families where I have brick walls? Do you have other ideas for my blog?

Please give me your feedback. I value your opinion!


If you are like me, you have hundreds of photos in magnetic photo albums, photo boxes, or hanging on the wall. Are you in the process of archiving the photos so that your descendants will have the same photos to look at when you are no longer living?

If not, it is a good idea to archive them.

If you are not able to archive them, at least identify the people in the photos. If no one in the future knows who the people are, your descendants won’t have photos of you. They will just have photos with unknown people.

Think about it!


In censuses before 1850, only the head of the household was identified. Everyone else in the household had a hash mark put in an appropriate column, i.e. female 20-29 years of age.

Who was the head of the household? Was it the oldest male in the household? Not necessarily. It may be that a man was head, and his father was living with him. Hence, the oldest was not the head. Also, I have seen a woman as the head, and males living in the household.

So, be careful. Don’t assume anything!


Have you physically been to a Recorder’s office in the county in which your ancestor resided? Do you really know everything that is in the office?

In the Recorder’s office of Putnam County, Indiana, there is much more than land records! Yes, there are grantor and grantee deed books, with indexes to the books. And, there are mortgages by mortgagor and mortgagee. There are also School Fund Mortgage Records, Miscellaneous Records (includes an index), Records of Wills and Orders of the Court, Release and Assignment Records, Old Age Records, Bond Records, School Commissioners Records, and cemetery deed books.

So, take a look inside! You never know what may be found!


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