Can Census Records be Wrong?

Featured Image: Taking the Census. Illustration in Harper’s Weekly, 1870. Found in Library of Congress Digital Collection. A few decades ago, it was very difficult to find one’s ancestor in a census record. You had to go to an archive or library and really know what you were looking for to find the record. Today,…

The Cliffords, Part 1: Brick Wall Immigrants

Featured Image: Hamburger Hafen (Port of Hamburg) by Adolph Friedrich Vollmer, 1840. Ah, yes. Clifford. Kliefoth. The family that made me want to study German Genealogy in college. And I studied for four years and still didn’t find them. But they will be found. Someday. They originated in Germany as Kliefoth (pronounced like “klee-fote”), and…

Research Summary: Andrew

Featured image: John Wesley Andrew sitting on his porch in Geneva, Nebraska Surname summary: I have decided to devote my research time each month to one direct line surname that exists in my five-generation pedigree. My surname for the month of November was Andrew. This is one of the few lines on my grandmother’s side…

Recording Homosexual Relationships in Your Genealogy Database

Regardless of whether you believe that individuals in a same-sex relationships should be allowed to marry or raise children, currently same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, Canada, the UK, and other countries, and children are raised in these unions. To record an accurate genealogy, you must acknowledge these facts.

Recording Divorce and Step Families in Your Genealogy Database

Complex families are not uncommon and have been around for many decades. Although many of us wish for a traditional, nuclear family, the fact is that cohabitation, divorce, death, and other circumstances happen to many families. No matter what your personal opinion may be about such things, they are a part of your family history.

I give and bequeath to my son William J Ray my yellow boy slave Allen until my son Benjamin F arrives at the age of twenty one years, at which time my boy Allen is to be set free.

Allen Ray

My brother recently uncovered the will for my ancestor, William Calvin Ray in Murray County, Georgia. In it he mentions “my yellow boy slave Allen.” this is my first encounter with a slave owner in my family tree. I have a lot of ancestors in the South, so I figured a slave owner would turn…

3 Tips for Merging Duplicates on FamilySearch

My original intention for this blog was to publish to a general amateur genealogist audience, but I realize that many individuals in my audience are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I will on occasion do a post mainly for that portion of my audience. That being said, this information…

Can You Trace Your Genealogy Back to Adam and Eve?

“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions.” – 1 Timothy 1:4 Can you trace your genealogy back to Adam and Eve? This question comes up all the time when people talk to me about genealogy. As a professional researcher, when newbies to genealogy ask that, I generally just roll my eyes…