Tuesday’s Tip – Renumbering RINs and MRINs (Intermediate)

Tuesday's Tip - Renumbering RINs and MRINs (Intermediate)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Renumbering RINs and MRINs (Intermediate)

As you merge and delete people in your file there will be gaps in the RIN and MRIN numbers. This bloats your file a bit. You can compact your file by having Legacy renumber the RINs and MRINs. WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! If you use the RIN or MRIN numbers as part of your paper or electronic filing system DO NOT DO THIS. However, for the rest of you this is a good way to make your file a bit more efficient.

Go to Tools > Renumber RINs or MRINs. You are going to make two passes. For the first pass you are going to select "Fill all missing RINs from highest RINs (Compacts the Individual Records)" and then click Apply. For the second pass you are going to select "Fill all Missing MRINs from Highest MRINs (Compacts the Marriage Records)" and then click Apply again.

Renumber RINs dialog box
(click image to enlarge)

You can also have Legacy renumber your RINs on the fly (RINs only, not MRINs. You will need to use the above tool when you want to renumber your MRINs)

Go to Options> Customize > Data Defaults > Option 4.4

Option 4.4
(click image to enlarge)



Notice that there is an (ff) which means this is a family file specific setting. In other words, if you have more than one family file you will have to do step 1 and step 2 for each one. Again, DO NOT DO THIS if you are using RINs as part of your paper or electronic filing system.

If you import a file into Legacy you will see an option to Renumber the RINs and MRINs ("Fill all existing abandoned  RINs/MRINs" will become active if you chose the first option, Try to keep original ID numbers (RINs). 

 

Gedcom import screen
(click image to enlarge)

This is a simple way to compact your file to help it run a little more efficiently. This is also for those people (like me) who simply can't stand to see gaps in the numbers on the Name and Marriage Lists.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Using Locality Guides to Help with Your Research

Using Locality Guides to Help with Your Research

When you start researching in a jurisdiction or a time period that is new to you, you will want to keep track of the little bits of helpful information that you find so that you don't have to look up that information again. You can do this is by maintaining Locality Files (now known as Locality Guides). The Family History Library detailed this strategy in their Research Guide on how to organize your paper files. You can see it HERE. These Research Guides are what we used before the FamilySearch Wiki. I think I had every Research Guide they ever published. 

Let's say I have an ancestor who lived in Perry County, Mississippi and I have never done research in Perry County before. I need to learn a lot of things about Perry County before I can even get started. These are the things I will add to my Locality Guide for Perry County. I need to know a basic history of the county such as when it was formed and what the parent counties were as well as a basic timeline of events for that county. I love to find old county history books that are in the public domain. Google Books, Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, and FamilySearch Books are my favorite websites to find these books. I also want to have contact info for the courthouse as well as anything special I need to know about accessing their records. What records do they have onsite? Did they have any record losses due to fire or flood? I would include contact info for the local genealogical and/or historical society, the local libraries, and any other possible repositories. I like to have a current map of the area (though I do use Google Maps a lot now) as well as any old maps I can find.

I keep all of my information electronically which means I can create hyperlinks to things on the internet such as online books, the available databases at the major online repositories, and the FamilySearch card catalog. I can link right to the Perry County page. I love newspapers and I use the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website to find what was in publication and when.  I only have to do the search once and then I can link to it. For example, HERE is the list for Perry County. It saves me a lot of time not having to go back to the website and do repeated searches. Don't forget that if you have never done research in the state of Mississippi you will also need to collect some general resources at the state level and not just at the county level. Besides my Locality Guides I also gather reference material on the major records groups (military, land, probate, etc.).

It may seem like a lot of work but this information is essential to be able to thoroughly research your ancestors. It will also save you time in the long run. The next time I have a person of interest in this same county I already have the needed resources. I can always update it if I find any new information. Today most genealogists keep these notes electronically in applications such as Evernote or OneNote instead of using paper files. You can also use a word processing program or a spreadsheet program. These are great because not only can you hyperlink to the resources you find on the internet, you can also scan anything you have that is on paper (pages out of the above referenced books for example) and have those pages readily available instead of having to lug out the books each time. You can even design a template so that all of your guides follow the same format.

I have included an example as a downloadable PDF. This example comes from my friend Eva Goodwin. We were in ProGen together and creating a Locality Guide was one of our assignments. I liked Eva's better than mine so I asked her if I could use hers an an example and she very graciously sent it to me. 

Download Halifax Locality Guide (Goodwin)

My real Locality Guides are not as fancy as what we did for our ProGen assignment but I wanted to give you an idea of the types of things you should include.  I will say that I am working on designing a template so that my guides are more uniform. 

The best way to get started is to create a locality guide for a jurisdiction that you are very familiar with. I'll bet that by the time you are done you will have found some resources that you didn't know about.

 An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
— Benjamin Franklin

 

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Tuesday’s Tip – The UnknownName.txt File (Advanced)

Tuesday's Tip - The UnknownName.txt File (Advanced)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

The UnknownName.txt File (Advanced)

A question that comes up pretty often in the Legacy User Group on Facebook is how to enter unknown persons. Normally you simply leave the unknown person blank but sometimes you have some information about that person even though you don't know their name. This means you are going to have to enter something in the name field so that Legacy will allow you to enter what you know about that person. An example would be a census record that records the birth place of someone's parents but you don't know what the names of the parents are.

I use [—?—] for unknown surnames because that is how unknown surnames are normally handled in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ). If you use something like this Legacy is going to view it as a Potential Problem. There is way to tell Legacy to ignore this without having to turn the Potential Problems off.

You will create a simple text file named UnknownName.txt and place it in the \Documents\Legacy Family Tree\_AppData folder.

UnknownName.txt file in the Documents folder
(click image to enlarge)

You will create this file using any text editor (Windows Notepad is ideal). This text file will have only two lines. The first line is for the given names you want Legacy to ignore and the second line is for the surnames. If you have more than one given name or surname you need to separate them with a space.  For example, 

Child Infant ???
[—?—] NN ???

 

I use the UnknownName.txt file. In my file the first line is blank because I have no given names that I want Legacy to skip (I always leave the given name field blank if I don't know what it is). My second line only contains [—?—] because for consistency's sake I only want one "unknown" surname.

UnknownName.txt file
(click image to enlarge)

 
This little trick will save you some aggravation with the Potential Problems.

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Tuesday’s Tip – Burial vs. Cremation (Beginner)

TT - Burial vs Cremation

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Burial vs. Cremation (Beginner)

On the Individual's Information screen you will see the standard vital events (born, christening/baptism, died, and buried) but what do you do if your family member was cremated instead of being buried? Legacy makes it very simple to change a burial to a cremation. Click the + (plus) sign to the right of the Buried location field and then select Cremated.

Option for Cremated
(click image to enlarge)

 

Now you will see that the field name has been changed to Cremated.

Field name now Cremated
(click image to enlarge)

 

We get a lot of questions asking how to handle the scattering of ashes that occurs well after the cremation. This is similar to the question about what to do when the ashes are buried at a memorial ceremony that is held afterwards. I enter these as custom events. 

Custom event
(click image to enlarge)

 

There is one more thing that you need to do. If you create a custom event that occurs after a person's death date you will need to tell Legacy not to flag this as a Potential Problem. Go to View > Master Lists > Event Definition. Highlight the event you just created and then click the Edit button over on the right. Check the box that says Exclude from Potential Problems report. You also need to do this for other events that occur after death such as Cemetery and Obituary, if you use those.

Exclude from Potential Problems
(click image to enlarge)

 

Other programs and websites do not have this feature so if you ever export your file as a gedcom you will need to tell Legacy to pull the cremation information out of the burial field and create a cremation event.  You can see this option by going to File > Export > GEDCOM File. At the top select the Other Options tab.

Gedcom export screen
(click image to enlarge)

 

Being able to record your ancestor's information correctly is very important to us at Legacy.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

 

Be Flexible and Don’t Make Assumptions

Be Flexible and Don’t Make Assumptions

After my dad died I started doing more intensive research on his life. He didn't talk about his childhood very much because he had some unhappy memories. He grew up in a family of dirt poor sharecroppers and he had to start picking cotton at a very young age. He was ridiculed in school for not having shoes and for wearing tattered hand-me-down clothes. When he left Mississippi to join the Air Force he pretty much never looked back. 

The Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957 is one of my favorite record sets. My dad did attend school from 1st through 12th grade so I knew I would find him here but I would have missed some records if I had only looked at the years when he was 6 to 18. Sometimes the records don't contain what you think they do.

Thomas Simmons is my dad and he graduated from Purvis High School in 1955. This school census is from 1957. In 1957 my dad was in the Air Force and stationed in Hahn, Germany but the school board still listed him.

Children who were not attending school anymore were still included. They are given a W code with an explanation. This is important information. Always be flexible with your searches and make sure you know exactly what information the particular record can tell you. Did I learn anything about my dad that I didn't know when I saw this page? No but I still wanted to see it. I want to see every record where my dad is mentioned. However, I could have easily learned something that I didn't know.

List of Educable Children
(click image to enlarge)

"Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ : accessed 31 March 2017), Lamar > image 98 of 157; citing Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Box ID 15134, Series 21.

When you are looking at a record set that you haven't worked with before it is important to take some time to get to know the records. Even if I find a document for my person of interest right away I always look at many examples in the set to get a better feel for the documents. I also check to see if there is any sort of explanatory section.

You can see a good example of this in the federal census records. You should read the instructions the enumerators were given before they were sent out. The United States Census Bureau has this information online. Kathleen W. Hinkley's book, Your Guide to the Federal Census Records is an excellent resource for background information. You also need to look at the pages before and after the page that has your ancestor's family. If you take the time to  understand the records better you will be less likely to miss something.

 

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

 

Tuesday’s Tip – What Are Those Numbers? (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tip - What Are Those Numbers? (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

What Are Those Numbers? (Beginner)

We get quite a few emails asking us what the numbers in the bottom right of the Family View are.

 

Num1

The H:31 means that the Husband's RIN (Record Identification Number) is 31. The M:10 means that this couple is MRIN (Marriage Record Identification Number) 10. W:200 means the Wife's RIN is 200. In the options I have selected to show RINs next to the names so that you can see that the numbers match. (If you want to see the RINs or other available numbers next to each person's name go to Options > Customize > View > Option 8.2).

If you click in any of those three squares you will get a popup menu where you can type in a RIN (or a MRIN) as a shortcut to navigate. Most people have a few numbers memorized.

Num2

The I:6 means that I can scroll through everyone that is tagged on Individual Tag 6 by using the left and right arrows. The M:1 means that I can scroll through everyone that has a Marriage Tag of 1.

Num3

If I mouse click in the middle of the Tag box it will bring up the menu so that I can change the Tag.

Num4

I use the Tag arrows all the time. I will tag a group of people then work on them one at a time. If you don't have your RINs next to the person's name you can still see them at the bottom and you can see the MRIN of the couple without having to open the Marriage screen.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

 

When "Late" Doesn’t Mean Dead

When "Late" Doesn't Mean Dead

I introduced you to Ignatius Grantham in Playing Hide and Seek with Records from Burned Counties. Ignatius was a very interesting man so I did a followup post, Ignatius Grantham and the Land Entry Files. I want to go back to Ignatius and Catherine's 1825 divorce one last time because there is a term that was used in one of the documents that might confuse a researcher. 

“To the Sheriff of Hancock — County Greeting 
We Command you, that of the goods and chattels Lands
and Tenements of Wm C. Seaman for Catherine Grantham —
late of your county…” 
[emphasis mine]

late of your county sounds like Catherine is dead, especially since someone else, William Seaman, is acting on her behalf. In this case “late of your county” simply means that she used to live in Hancock County, Mississippi but no longer resides there.

Appellate court document
(click image to enlarge)

Mississippi High Court of Errors and Appeals, Drawer no. 65, Case no. 15, Catherine Grantham vs. Ignatius Grantham, 21 February 1825; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson. 

When analyzing your own records be sure to check for words that might have multiple or historical meanings and then make sure you choose the correct contextual meaning. It could mean all the difference in how you interpret a document!

What kind of double meaning words have you come across in your research?

 

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

 

Tuesday’s Tip – Ghost Marriages (Advanced)

  Tuesday's Tip - Ghost Marriages (Advanced)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Ghost Marriages (Advanced)

It is very difficult to create a "ghost marriage" in Legacy 9 but if you have imported a gedcom from another program or downloaded from a website it is very likely you picked up some ghosts. Ghosts are people that really aren't there but they are taking up space which bloats your file. To find "ghost" marriages go to View > Marriage List. The unknown-unknown marriages that you see are ghosts and need to be deleted. Make sure you are sorting by the husband or by the wife and not by MRIN so that all of the unknown-unknowns are together at the top of the list

Ghost marriages
(click image to enlarge)

Before you do anything, backup your file. 

Highlight one of the unknown-unknown marriages and then at the bottom click Options > Remove the marriage link. If there are NO children or ONLY ONE child in the box you can safely unlink by clicking Yes at the bottom which will get rid of the unknown-unknown.

Unlink from this family? dialog box
(click image to enlarge)

If there are TWO OR MORE children in the box do not remove the marriage link. If you do you will lose them as siblings. 

More than 1 child, don't delete the link
(click image to enlarge)

Notice that the MRIN for this family group is 64. On the Marriage List highlight MRIN 64 and click Edit Husband at the bottom and then Add New Husband.  Since the children had the surname of Cummings, Legacy defaults this surname in for you. This will keep the siblings linked while also getting rid of the unknown-unknown marriage.

Legacy adds the surname for you
(click image to enlarge)

Click Save and you will see that you that the ghost marriage is now a real marriage.

Ghost marriage has been converted
(click image to enlarge)

Some gedcoms will have HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of these. Some programs will create an unknown-unknown marriage if you simply click in the parents area but then change your mind and don't add anything. Legacy doesn't do this and that is why you won't see ghosts in a Legacy file that was created from scratch. Once you have removed all of the ghosts you will want to renumber your MRINs and run a check/repair which will compact your file making it more efficient. WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! If you use MRINs as part of your paper or electronic filing system you will NOT want to renumber them. You also don't want to renumber them if you are using something like TNG to upload your webpages. TNG is dynamic and needs the MRINs to stay the same so that any photos or documents you have uploaded won't become unlinked.

Tools > Renumber RINs or MRINs

Renumber MRINs dialog box
(click image to enlarge)

This is something that most Legacy users wouldn't know to check, especially since Legacy itself doesn't create ghosts. Now you have an additional tool for your arsenal when you need to clean up an incoming gedcom file.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Interested in Becoming a Certified Genealogist?

Interested in Becoming a Certified Genealogist?

Many researchers ask the question, "How can I get certified?" Here is my short list of what you need to do to prepare yourself for certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You will be submitting a portfolio of work which will be evaluated by three (or four) judges. 

  • Read The BCG Application Guide
    Everything you need to know about the process as well as what is required for the portfolio is in this free publication. You need to understand exactly what is required for each component. If you don’t follow the directions you will get seriously dinged, possibly to the point of instant failure.
  • Compare each section of your portfolio to the BCG Rubrics
    The Judges use the BCG rubrics to evaluate your portfolio so you need to make sure your portfolio passes each rubric before you submit it.  You are lucky to have the rubrics up front.
  • Pay attention to the Standards listed in each Rubric
    The BCG has listed each standard that applies to that rubric which you can look up in the Genealogy Standards manual.  This book is essential. When you look up the standard you will see expanded information. You should be familiar with ALL of the standards in this book but pay special attention to the ones listed in the rubrics.
  • Take advantage of the helps the BCG offers
    Visit BCG's Preparing for Certification page and Learning Center. You can follow the BCG News blog to keep up to date with the latest happenings. All applicants are automatically subscribed to OnBoard when they submit their preliminary application

    The BCG now contracts with Legacy Family Tree Webinars to host the BCG Webinars Series. You can register for these ahead of time and they are free to watch live and for 7 days after they have been archived. After that you will need a webinar subscription to view them. A benefit of having a webinar subscription is that you can go back and watch any of the webinars whenever you want and you will have access to the syllabuses. 
  • Read Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG
    The first two chapters are crucial to understand the why and how of citing your sources.
  • Be aware that no one can give you specific help/advice on your projects nor can anyone proofread your work 
    There is a special mailing list for those that are “on the clock” and you can get answers to procedural type questions there. As far as the portfolio work itself, you are on your own. No one can proofread your work before you submit it. You also can’t use any material that has been previously peer-reviewed such as a ProGen assignment. 
  • Proofreading is still important though
    When you are ready to submit your portfolio, set it aside for at least 24 hours (a week would be better) and then proofread it for the last time. I recommend reading it out loud. You are apt to catch something that you didn’t see before because when you read something over and over again you tend to skim. Grammar and punctuation are important as are good editing skills. More words doesn’t mean it’s a better report. Once you have done your final read through don’t start second guessing yourself and try to go back and “fix” things. There comes a point when you just need to let it go.

The BCG allows up to a year to complete your portfolio but they do allow you to extend if need be and many people do (I did). The certification process itself is a wonderful learning experience. 

 

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Tuesday’s Tip – IntelliMurder! (Intermediate)

Tuesday's Tip - IntelliMurder! (Intermediate)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

IntelliMurder! (Intermediate)

The Legacy Staff affectionately calls the Advanced Set Living tool "IntelliMurder." You can access it by going to Tools > Advanced Set Living.

Advanced Set Living
(click image to enlarge)

 

Legacy will go through your file and kill off people that are most assuredly dead. The default is set at 120 years old or older but you can tweak this as needed. Legacy already kills some people for you even if they don't have death dates. If you have entered a birth date that puts them older than what you have set in Customize > Options > Data Entry > Option 2.3, Legacy will change them to deceased.

Option 2.3
(click image to enlarge)

IntelliMurder goes a step further. If you have not entered a birth date Legacy will use the surrounding people and other information to determine if the person should be dead.

So why is this so important? If you do any sort of export and use privacy options to privatize living people you will end up privatizing people from the 1700s that weren't automatically marked as deceased. Also, if you add people to FamilySearch and they are dead but still marked as living no one can see these people except for you.

I run the IntelliMurder routine from time to time just for fun but I always run it before I do an export. I just ran it and Legacy killed 11 people in my file. For example, it killed off Carl Friedrich Gläntzer because he was married on 01 April 1777 and his kids were born in 1779, 1782, 1785, 1788 and 1791.

When you run the Advanced Set Living a Search List will be created listing everyone who was killed off so you can always double check.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

The Online Trap

The Online Trap by Michele Lewis

Don't get caught in the trap of believing all the records you need are online.

David Ouimette, CG, FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, was able to provide the following information:

"FamilySearch is currently focused on publishing top-tier records as prioritized for each country. For most western nations, that translates to civil registration, church parish registers, census population schedules, and other related records we would all seek for first. There's also the matter of timeframe, as we might not target records too recent to access per existing privacy laws.

We estimate that FamilySearch has published over 7% of these record images (scoped for the top 80 countries and accessible time periods) in FamilySearch Historical Records, with many more (perhaps up to 15%) in the FamilySearch Catalog. This doesn't quite translate to a global statistic as some countries with massive population don't fit in the top 80."

And this is only the top-tier records and not every available record. There are other online repositories with additional records but the sum total of these records will not add a lot to the overall percentage when looking at the same groups of top-tier records. Since the concentration is on this top tier, there are records that are down the priority list that haven't been digitized and won't be for a long time.

I want you to think about that for a minute. Do you have a brick wall that you can’t break through? Maybe this is the reason. Online records are great and I love being able to sit back in my office and go click click click with my mouse but I also do old fashioned research at courthouses, archives, and libraries. I guess it might be easier for me because when I started out in 1991 I didn’t own a computer. It didn’t matter because there weren't any genealogical holdings online at that time. 100% of my research was done onsite, by telephone, or by snail mail. Some genealogists just starting out don’t know that there is whole 'nother world of records out there. I get many emails from people telling me they can’t find so and so and I ask them, "Did you check ___________?" Many times the thought hadn't even crossed their mind.

The trick is knowing what records are available for that specific location and time period and then knowing how to access them. There are many resources that can help you with this. Here are a just few books to give you an idea of the type of reference material out there that can guide you.

Breland, Claudia. Searching for Your Ancestors in Historic Newspapers. Gig Harbor, Wash.: Claudia Breland, 2014.

Darrow, Carol Cooke and Susan Winchester. The Genealogist's Guide to Researching Tax Records. Westminster, Md.: Heritage Books, 2007.

Eales, Anne Bruner and Robert M. Kvasnicka, editors. Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. Third edition. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2000.

Eichholz, Alice, editor. RedBook: American State, County, and Town Sources. Third edition. Provo, Utah: 2004.

Hinckley, Kathleen W. Your Guide to the Federal Census for Genealogists, Researchers, and Family Historians. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2002.

Hone, E. Wade. Land and Property Research in the United States. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997.

Meyerink, Kory L., editor. Printed Sources, A Guide to Published Genealogical Records. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry Incorporated, 1998.

Neagles, James C. U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal & State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1998.

Rose, Christine. Courthouse Research for Family Historians, Your Guide to Genealogical Treasure. San Jose, Calif.: CR Publications, 2004.

Szuc, Loretto Dennis and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, editors. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Third edition. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2006.

The Handybook for Genealogists. Tenth edition. Draper, Utah: Everton Publishers, 2002.

Another great resource is the FamilySearch Wiki. This is the first thing I check when I am working in an unfamiliar country, state, county, town, or record group. 

I talk to people all the time who are nervous about reaching out and making contact with repositories because they have never done so and don't know what the proper procedures/protocols are. There is no reason to feel this way. The telephone is your best tool. All you have to do is call them and tell them what you are looking for and they will tell you if they have what you need and what the procedure is to get it.

For example, let's say I have someone that I am pretty sure married in Marion County, Mississippi in about 1850. I have checked online and I can't find a marriage record for this couple. I would then call the Marion County Circuit Court (number found online) and ask them about the marriage record. They put me on hold for a few minutes while they go check their marriage books. They come back on the line and tell me that they have the record.  It will cost me fifty cents and I will need to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The clerk then gives me the mailing address and also provides me with the book and page number so that I can put that in my formal request letter to make it easier for them. Done.

Of course not all contacts with repositories will be this straightforward. There are some courthouses that are not this friendly or cooperative. You will learn which ones these are. A formal snail mail request might loosen them up a bit. Worst case scenario is that you might have to hire a local researcher to make a personal appearance to retrieve what you need. Most of the state archives require that you fill out a special form which are available online. You can still call them for more information though. Calling libraries that have genealogical holding is usually very fruitful. It is the nature of libraries and librarians to be helpful. 

One last piece of advice. Keep track of every effort and every contact you make when looking for records (research log). The last thing you want to do is duplicate your efforts because you don't remember that you already contacted a certain repository about that record and they have already told you that they don't have it. Your log will also let you know if it has been too long without a response which will alert you that it is time for a followup.

 

 

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News.  You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Certified Genealogist is a registered trademark and the designation CG is a service mark of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by Board certificants who meet competency standards.

Tuesday’s Tip – "Hidden" Tools (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tip - "Hidden" Tools (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

"Hidden" Tools (Beginner)

Legacy has a couple of nifty navigational tools and one informational tool on the Family View that new users don't see right away. If you hover your mouse in special spots on the screen you will see colored bars appear. These bars will let you rotate between spouses, siblings, and parents (if they have more than one set) without having to open those dialog boxes.

Scroll through husband's spouses
Use this bar to rotate through the husband's spouses. (click image to enlarge)

 

Scroll though highlighted person's siblings
Use this bar to rotate through the siblings of the highlighted person. (click image to enlarge)
Scroll through wife's spouses
Use this bar to rotate through the wife's spouses.  (click image to enlarge)
Scroll through husband's parents
Use this bar to rotate through other parents of the husband. (click image to enlarge)
Scroll through wife's parents
Use this bar to rotate through other parents of the wife. (click image to enlarge)

 

There is one other helpful "hidden" popup on the Family View. 

Modified dialog box
(click image to enlarge)

When you click this colored box you get a very handy popup that shows you when the husband and wife were added to your file and when they were last modified including their marriage information. It will also tell you if they were imported into your file or if you added them by hand.

Last Modified dialog box
(click image to enlarge)

These "hidden" gems will save you time navigating through immediate family members and knowing when you added someone or last modified them is always interesting information. Here is a bonus hint. If you go to Search > Find > Detailed Search you can find people that were added or modified on, before, or after a certain date.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Ignatius Grantham and the Land Entry Files

Ignatius Grantham and the Land Entry Files

I told you a little bit about Ignatius Grantham in "Playing Hide and Seek with Records from Burned Counties." Since Ignatius was a cad I of course wanted to know more about him. On 08 January 1820 he claimed 401.72 acres in Jackson County, Mississippi. The Pascagoula River runs right through the middle so this was prime real estate. Ignatius didn’t hang on to it though. He assigned it to John Williams on 18 February 1820 and then Williams turned around and assigned it to Robert Carr Lane on 20 February 1820. Here is a map:

Ignatius Grantham's land
(click image to enlarge)

Screenshot taken from the Bureau of Land Management’s online Plat
Image files, Section 2, Township 4S, Range 7W, St. Stephens

I ordered  the land entry file from the National Archives and it is 47 pages long.[1] Over the years this piece of land had some title issues. Apparently after it was assigned the patent was never filed so it looked like Ignatius still owned it. What is interesting was a “motion for decree pro confesso” filed 11 August 1902 in the case of R. Roberts vs. Ignatius Grantham et als. [sic]. I had to look that up (thank you Black’s Law Dictionary). It means the defendant (Ignatius Grantham) had not answered the complaint so the court treated it as though he confessed to the charges. In that motion it states,

“That said Ignatus [sic] Grantham cannot be found in the State of Mississippi after diligent inquiry and complainant does not know and cannot ascertain or diligent inquiry of Ignatus Grantham is alive or dead, and if he left any heirs.”

This is kind of funny because in 1902 Ignatius would have been about 113 years old. I guess it was a legal thing that they had to do and they did mention possible heirs. 

This little tidbit was in the file too.  Talk about a seriously burned county! I knew about the fire in 1875 but I didn’t know it had burned two times prior to that.

Jackson Co burns multiple times
(click image to enlarge)


The moral of the story is, if you find a patent or warrant on the Bureau of Land Management’s website you need to order the land entry file to get the “rest of the story.” I will tell you that it is cheaper and faster if you have a local researcher pull the records for you at the National Archives than it is to order the records directly from them.

[1] Survey of 23 October 1827, Ignatius Grantham claim, Mississippi no, 135; Private Land Claim Files, 1789-1908; Record Group 49; Records of the Bureau of Land Management; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

 

Tuesday’s Tip – New feature! (Beginner)

Tuesday’s Tip – New feature! (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

New feature! (Beginner)

The developers have slipped in a new feature. The Relationship Report now has a filter so that you can tell Legacy you only want to see your BLOOD relatives. Before you get started, you will need to set your relationships. Go to TOOLS > SET RELATIONSHIPS. Normally you will set the relationships to yourself.

Set Relationships
(click image to enlarge)


Once you have set the relationships the report will become active. Go to REPORTS > OTHER REPORTS > RELATIONSHIP REPORT. You will see a new checkbox for "Only include blood-relatives."

New option
(click image to enlarge)


And now my report only shows the people that I am blood related to.

Related by blood
(click image to enlarge)


This is a great tool for those researchers using DNA. 

Watch the Video

Relreport

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

Tuesday’s Tip – Setting Bookmarks (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tip - Setting Bookmarks (Beginner)

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

Setting Bookmarks (Beginner)

Legacy has two different ways you can bookmark someone. The first way are the three Quick Bookmarks at the bottom of the Family View.

Quick Bookmarks
(click image to enlarge)

These Quick Bookmarks make it easy to get to a specific person quickly. I have myself bookmarked and the two people I am currently researching. If I mouse click one of those names Legacy will immediately navigate to that person.

To set a Quick Bookmark make sure you have the person you want highlighted in the Family View and then RIGHT mouse click in one of the three Quick Bookmark fields. If there is a name already a name there it will be overwritten.

Highlight a name
(click image to enlarge)
The new name appears
(click image to enlarge)

If you want to clear the Quick Bookmarks completely, hold down the Windows CTRL button and then right click into the Quick Bookmark field.

Clearing the Quick Bookmarks
(click image to enlarge)

The three Quick Bookmarks are great for those ancestors you are currently working with but what if three bookmarks isn't enough? How about 200 more. To mark someone using a regular bookmark highlight that person and then RIGHT mouse click the book icon in the extreme bottom left corner of the Family View.

Regular bookmark icon
(click image to enlarge)

To see your bookmarks LEFT mouse click the book icon.

List of bookmarks
(click image to enlarge)

Using the two bookmark features will save you time as you are navigating your file.

 

Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.

Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.

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