December 2017

Recently, someone asked me a question about DNA results.

I explained how DNA is inherited – not everyone gets the same pieces as their siblings.

My maternal grandparents shared their DNA with their children (three children) – each child received different “pieces” of DNA from their parents – each received half of their DNA from each parent, but different “pieces” made up that half.  I have been contacted by people whose DNA matches mine, but does not match that of my first cousin – the first cousin is the child of my mother’s sibling. Apparently, my mother’s sibling received different pieces than she did!



As you research, hoping to find more about your ancestor’s life, don’t forget about your own life!

Do you keep a diary or journal? This is a really good way to record the happenings in your own life. My husband’s mother kept a diary – what a gold mine!

Remember, someone will want to know about YOUR life someday.


Do you know what a delayed birth certificate is?

According to,

“Beginning in the mid-twentieth century many people who didn’t have birth certificates (because they were born prior to record-keeping or born outside a hospital) applied for delayed birth certificates. After the Social Security Act was passed in 1936, people needed proof of their birth when they submitted their Social Security account application. Many of the applicants were born before vital records were kept, so they had no birth certificate. As a result, they applied for delayed birth certificates. These certificates were also issued so the individual could apply for another form of identification, such as a passport or to enlist in the military.”

So, if your ancestor was born before a birth certificate was required, look for a delayed birth certificate. This would have been kept in the same location as the original certificate would have been kept.

In Putnam County, Indiana, there is a book in the County Clerk’s office that contains the delayed birth certificates for the county. What a find to someone searching for their ancestor’s birth record!


In 2016, I had the opportunity to travel with my cousin to the ancestral home of our great-great-grandparents in the state of New York. And, THEIR parents had homes there also, as well as many other relatives.

We spent about 10 days touring the area, hoping to discover new information on all of them!

In preparation for our trip, I made maps of the areas where the ancestors lived – they lived in a few different neighboring counties. On the maps, I recorded what was already known – probable residences, schools – any other geographic information that was already “known”.

As we traveled from historical society to historical society, we gathered more maps of the area – these maps also “placed” our ancestors in the area.

By already having the “prep” maps, we were able to travel to areas that we knew were important in our ancestors’ lives. And, the additional maps were quite helpful, too, while learning more about these important people in our lives.


Beginning with the 1850 census, the head of the household was listed along with a list of other household members.

Before 1850, the census listed just the head of the household – there were “numbers” given for the other members of the household.

Who was this “head of the household”? Was it the oldest male found in the “70-80” category?  Or, was it the male found in the “20-30” category? It could be that the head was the oldest male listed. But, keep in mind that it could have been a younger male listed since the older male could have been an aging parent or older relative and was no longer the family’s head.

Be careful.


Obituaries can tell so much information.

Some of the information probable is the person’s full name, the name of a spouse or friend (whether or not they are deceased), the birth date of the person, children’s names (and possibly other relatives), and sibling’s names. Also, the death place and date, and the burial location and date, may be given.

When the children’s (or sibling’s) names are given, it could be that children of another marriage will be given – the children may have become a part of the family when the person and spouse married.

If you know that there may have been more than one marriage for the person or the spouse, or the parents of the person may have had more than one marriage, keep in mind that the children or siblings may be half, full, or step-siblings or children.