I received a message awhile back from someone asking for assistance.  However, in her email, she stated,

“We both have that his daughter Nancy married John Head and I’m trying to prove they had a son, William Hadley Head, my line. John is not the problem, but researchers disagree about which of his wives is William’s father. I’m new to dna [sic] research, but not to genealogy research. So in Thru Lines, there are mistakes in people’s trees, matching up the wrong wives to children is common.”

In this message, the person confirmed how there are mistakes in online trees.

When reviewing an online tree, make sure that you do NOT assume that everything in the tree is correct.  Even if there are sources given, confirm the sources.  And, also confirm that the source is naming YOUR ancestor – did someone just assume that the person in the census is their ancestor, or was there much research that confirmed that this John Smith is really their ancestor?


Be careful!





Have you had your DNA tested?  If so, did you get many results?

Quite a few people are having their DNA tested, including me!  And, the list of results that I received was quite extensive.

However, not all of my “matches” are close enough to be able to confirm that we are related.  We certainly may be 5th cousins.  However, we may not share enough of the same DNA to confirm this.

Remember, we don’t “get” 100% of each of our ancestor’s DNA!



Recently, I received an email from the website, findagrave.com.  It was interesting to me, as I have not visited findagrave.com for a few months.

The email stated that my photo request had been fulfilled.

I visited findagrave.com, and discovered that the request had been submitted 5 years ago!  And, the photo had just been posted.

As it turns out, I had already received the photo from another source.  However, what if I hadn’t?

So, when you post a query on findagrave.com, ancestry.com, or any of the other websites where one can do so, realize that your query is still there, waiting to be answered.  You never know when someone may respond.



Did your ancestor live near a border?  If they did, you have probably discovered how borders have changed over the years.

Did they live close to a county line?  Did they live close to a state or country line?  What happened to them when the county, state, or country line changed?

If you have found your ancestor residing in a certain county, and cannot find them in that county in the following years, check to see if they still resided in that county.  It could be that they did not move, but the county line changed.  Or, maybe a new county was formed, and they were no longer in the old county, but the new.


Have you checked out this database?  It is found for no charge at Family Search (familysearch.org).  You may be surprised at what you find.

I searched this database for my great-great-grandfather, Daniel Lyon.  He was in Company D of the 16th Vermont Inf. during the Civil War.

A little background on Daniel:  his first wife, Martha Elizabeth Sage, died 21 April 1908.  Daniel married second to Emma E. Castle Hawkins in 1910 – she was 23 years younger than Daniel. Family story is that Emma had a desire to collect on Daniel’s pension.

The first image shows that the Army Invalid Daniel Lyon was reissued pension at the rate of “12” beginning 22 March 1907.  The pension was increased to “15” 31 August 1909.  The pension was reissued 31 May 1912 at the rate of “17”, and increased to “22.50” 29 August 1914, and increased to “32” 10 June 1918.  Increases were also given to “50” 1 May 1920 and to “72” 2 June 1922.  Daniel died 14 August 1922.

The second image shows the actual payments that Daniel received.



If I had not already known when it was that Daniel died, this database would give me this information.  And, not only are these dates given to me, but a glimpse into Daniel’s life is given – that of receiving pension payments.  And, it seems that the pension payments may have ended when Daniel died.  I did search for Emma in the same database, and no record was found. I also checked to see if her daughter tried to receive a pension.  None was found.

If you have not yet discovered this database, I recommend you do so.  Read the wiki about the database at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States,_Veterans_Administration_Pension_Payment_Cards_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records).



Have you ever thought of checking the library that is local to where your ancestor resided?

Many libraries have genealogy records.  And, many of those records are available online.  As an example, I live in Greencastle, Putnam Co., IN.  Greencastle, and Putnam Co., was settled very early – as early as 1818!  The local library in Greencastle has this website – pcpl21.org.  From their home page, one can enter the “Local History” section of their website.  Once in Local History, one can search online many of the records that are available in Local History.

As an example, one of the links on the Local History main page is for the “Putnam County First Patentees”.  When one clicks on this link, a new page shows the first 200 patentees in Putnam County.  If your ancestor was in Putnam County very early, it is quite likely that you will find his name listed here.  Links to other websites is also given.

There is also a link to “Search All Databases”.  One can enter a last name, and a first name if one desires, and all database locations where the name appears will be displayed.  This is so helpful!

I have also visited other library websites, and have accessed information online.  Even if there is not much information online, there will be contact information so that one can contact someone at the library for assistance.

Do not overlook this important resource!



Recently, someone I know was going through some old family papers – papers that belonged to her grandparents.

Among other papers were two income tax schedules for years during the depression.

Family story had been that the grandparents had moved “to town” from the farm because they could no longer make ends meet.  Upon examination of the income tax schedules, the family story was confirmed.  The earlier schedule showed the income that had been made that year (their last) on the farm – the amount was so small it is a wonder they were able to survive on the farm (even though they grew most of what they ate).  The following year, the income tax schedule was more promising – they had quite a bit more income after moving from the farm (and where they moved they continued to grow most of what they ate).

One never knows where it is that a family story will be confirmed (or not confirmed).