Before visiting a courthouse, it is a good idea to do some planning.  Here are some things that may be good to know about before your visit:

  • check out the wiki of the county at FamilySearch.org
  • what office are at the courthouse? are there other county offices located off-site?
  • what are the hours of operation of the courthouse, and for what days of the week?
  • is the courthouse closed for lunch?
  • is it permissible to bring a scanner or phone (for photos) with you?
  • can copies be made of records, and if so, what are the charges?
  • if traveling a distance, where will you spend the night?
  • is it possible to contact someone for assistance before your visit?

 

Last year, I visited several counties in New York.  My ancestor’s family had resided in the area for several generations.  Before visiting, I contacted people at courthouses, historical societies, and libraries.  And, I created maps so that driving between various counties would be easier (GPS was not always available).  There were even some people who pulled records ahead of time so that I would not have to wait for records to be pulled!

A little planning makes a big difference!

Maggie

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My direct ancestor is Mary Ann Charlotte Cordelia Cole.  She was adopted by Daniel and Tryphenie Jones Burroughs when she was but an infant.  For a long time, I knew who her siblings were.  However, I had not researched them.

Then, I decided to begin that research.

Her brother was Asahel Cole.  He was very active in politics.  And, he supposedly lived in Wellsville, NY, where “Cordelia” lived with her daughter and son-in-law.

A newspaper article in The Buffalo (New York) Express (dated 16 July 1889) gave quite a bit of information about Asahel.

The article is an obituary for Asahel.

According to the obituary, Asahel died in Wellsville 15 July 1889, as his residence known as “Home-on-the-Hillside”.  His full name was Asahel Nichols Cole, and he was born in Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York.  Along with this information, the obituary gives information on his father and mother (and their ancestors).  And, much more information is given as well!

What a find!

Maggie

 

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.

Maggie

When researching, don’t forget about writing down the citation information!

I really do know how it is – you have found that all-important bit of information, and this happened when the library is closing in 10 minutes.  This happens to all of us!

You write down the information quickly, but you forget to write down the citation.  After you are at home and reviewing what was found, you discover that you have no idea as to what book/newspaper/catalog it was that had this piece of information.

If one makes it a practice of gathering that all important citation information BEFORE looking through the actual book, then the information will be there when one is ready to write the citation.  And, it is not necessary to actually “write” down the information – take a snapshot, with your phone, of the title page (and other pages).  A snapshot will take just a few seconds, and will save you much grief later on!

Maggie

 

 

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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and a menu is being decided.

This year, my husband and I are going to make Grandmother’s Rolls – “Grandmother” is my dad’s mother.

Grandmother made yeast rolls that would melt in your mouth.  Back before marrying, I asked my mother for the recipe.  She gladly gave it to me.  Then, the first time I made the rolls, I called Grandmother before I made them to clarify a few things.

The actual day of preparation, I called her again as I was making the rolls – it was wonderful to have her on the phone to ask questions as I had them.

So, on my recipe card, I have the recipe from Mom, the “clarifications” I received, and the “notes” from talking with Grandmother.

As an added bonus, after Grandmother died, my mom sent to me a typed-copy of the recipe found in Grandmother’s box – this one included a cinnamon roll recipe.

So, this Thanksgiving, my husband and I will mix-up the yeast rolls the day before.  Then, for the Cinnamon Rolls on Thanksgiving morning, we will make the “Herman” recipe (that my husband learned from his mother) for the cinnamon roll topping, AND also have the yeast rolls from Grandmother for dinner.

A Great Tradition Continues!

Maggie

You have finally found where it was that your great-great-great-great-grandparents died – they died of a fever.  And, you have been able to look into the probate file that the courthouse has on these grandparents.

guardianship-papers-cole-children

Inside the “box”, are some guardianship papers – your great-great-great-grandmother was given a guardian, as were her four brothers and sisters.

In the document, the names and ages of each of the children is given.  Now you have an idea as to the names of her siblings, and all of their ages.

What a find!

Maggie

 

My great-great-grandmother was Phenie Cordelia Cole Burroughs Jones Babcock.

phenie_babcock

When researching for information on her birth, I came across the following information:

1870 Census

1870-orlow-babcock

1875 Census

1875-ny-census-babcock-left-page-only

1880 Census

1880-census-orlow-and-phenie

1900 Census

1900-census

1920 Census

1920-census-phenie

From the census records, I determined that she was born about September 1846/1847.

Imagine my surprise when I saw her death certificate:

 

death-record-phenie-babcock-front-add

 

According to her death certificate, she was born AFTER she died!

If I subtract her age from her date-of-death, I find that she was most likely born 26 September 1846.

Be careful when trying to determine the date of birth.

 

Maggie