November 2017

Someone in my family immigrated to the United States in the 1880’s. I have been searching for quite some time for the naturalization certificates of those that immigrated.

I have found two certificates – and there were 7 males in the family.  Why didn’t all of the males become naturalized?

Voting was a good reason to become naturalized, but un-naturalized aliens usually could still own property.

The reason could be that the others never bothered with naturalization.




When reading about your ancestor in the newspaper, make sure that you are reading the entire article.

In the example below, the news concerning Clyde Chapman begins in column 5, and continues into column 6. In the same manner, the news concerning Miss Eva M. Wilcox begins in column 6, and continues into column 7.












Madison County (New York) Leader and Observer, 3 July 1919, p. 5, cols. 4-5; digital images, ( : accessed 2 November 2017).

You would like to visit the courthouse in the county where your ancestor resided. Before making the trip, do some planning.

Visit the courthouse web page. On the web page, you may discover some of the rules of the courthouse –

  • do they do searches before entering the courthouse
  • when they are open
  • can one bring a camera, scanner, or cell phone into the courthouse
  • are all of the records in the courthouse, or have they been moved to another county building

If you do not see the information you need on the first page of the website, you make need to call the individual office that you would like to visit.


When you are looking for information, are you looking in the correct century?

Remember, the 18th century is those years in the 1700’s, not the 1800’s. The 19th century is those years in the 1800’s, and the 20th century is those years in the 1900’s. The 1st century was those years from year 1 to year 100.

Be careful!


You just “know” that your ancestor was residing in that county in 1860!  Where is he?

It could be that you ancestor was missed – his information was not recorded. There are various reasons for this possibly happening. If he was not at home when the census taker arrived, a neighbor may not have known much about him – his real name, what his age was, etc. Another reason is that your ancestor may have been avoiding the census – for some reason he did not want to “be found”. I am sure that there are many other reasons that he may not “be there”.


The state abbreviations have not always been what they are today.

Look at the following census page (1850 U.S. census, DeKalb County, Indiana, population schedule, Auburn, page 2 (penned); digital image, ( : accessed 17 October 2017), citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 142).

Where was each person in the Poffenberger household born? Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana, Virginia, and Maryland. The state abbreviation used for Indiana is Ia. This may look familiar when you are looking at the state abbreviations for today – IA is the abbreviation for Iowa.






Be careful!


Have you a copy of the book, Evidence Explained?

I recommend that every genealogist, whether professional or not, have a copy of this book on their bookshelf, desk, or other easily accessible place. Not a day goes by that I do not access the book.

From the title page of the book, “Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace”, this book is a book of citations, but also much more.

Below is a scan of the inside-front-cover of the book. This simple chart reminds every one of the research process that is necessary when researching a family. There are sources, information, and evidence, which together aid in the analysis of the information. And thus, provide the proof of the information.

Also available are “Quicksheets” – laminated folders that have specific information – easier to carry with you then the book!

I am not getting any commission from these items.


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