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Those Doggone Nicknames

Those Doggone Nicknames

My collateral ancestor Mintie was called by her middle name Lucinda in almost every record during her lifetime *except* the bible record above and one census: Nicknames, middle names and initials will get you every time in genealogical research. They still get me every now and then and it kinda drives me just a little […]

Fooled Again: The Green Barnes Family

Fooled Again: The Green Barnes Family

The family of my ancestor Green Barnes recently proved to me again that we all need to be diligent when trying to reconstruct our families. It also illustrates how original sources, assumptions and human nature sometimes conspire to confuse us. This recent odyssey started when I was reviewing the obituary for a collateral ancestor, Cora […]

Follow the Witness: They May Have the An...

Follow the Witness: They May Have the Answer

Many of our artificial brick walls are caused by our inability to extract every clue from each source. One of my favorite suggestions is to tell people to Follow the Witness. Many of the most common sources we use, such as deed records, probate records and marriage records, are legal documents that in many cases needed […]

Sorting Same-Named People

Sorting Same-Named People

I had an enslaved ancestor named Rezin Prather. I thought, “What an odd name. I’ll easily be able to find him in the records.” Guess what? It was a very popular name in Montgomery County, Maryland during the 19th century. There were numerous African-American “Rezin Prathers” floating around the county and in nearby Washington, D.C. […]

 
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