Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mary Had a Little ... Child

Today I have another tip to help speed up searching for online genealogy records.

In yesterday's tip, I was searching for Mary Maddox Neff and used Ancestry Categories and Family Search Collections to focus the search.

Today I've narrowed the Ancestry search by filters, which is a topic for another day. Unfortunately even searching for Mary Neff, born in Ohio, there are over 100 results in the 1870 federal census, according to Ancestry.

I could add a birth year, but this family tended to be sloppy on ages. That's actually a common issue, but I would include it in the filtering to start. It wasn't helping with Mary.

What else do I know about Mary to help narrow the search? The 1860 census of Pickaway County, Ohio, shows her family members.

I know her husband is George M. How many results are there in the 1870 census for George Neff, born in Ohio?

A count of 44 is more workable. But what about the children? Ann is a very common name, but there are two other children.

The tip of the day is to search with the less common names in the family. Just because Mary Maddox Neff is the person I am searching for, I should not limit myself to searching for her name. This strategy works on Family Search as well as Ancestry and on many other sites.

Mary's children's names are the ones to search. Absalom is the obvious choice with two matches. Remember that names were fluid before birth certificates. If I were named Absalom, I would definitely drop that name at some point. He might have already started using another name by the age of 14.

Christina is also a good name to try. Since Christina was 6 in 1860, she would be about 16 in 1870, which is of marriageable age. She might be gone from the household, but it is worth looking at each of the four matches. 

I didn't find the family with this tip, though today you would do so. One of the two matches on Absalom is correct, but only because I submitted a correction after digging up the record.

1 comment:

  1. Pull your hair out census research! It really sharpens your skills at research.
    Today I was trying to find my husband's family in the 1940 census, they were living in Brooklyn at the time. His father is Manuel, his mother, Aurora, he is Raymond and his sister is ALice, surname DelValle. Well I used every seach trick I could think of and none of them showed any results, I even pushed the slide to just show the first names of each in Brooklyn, for the appropriate years. Well, I ended up doing a page by page (thank goodness for the digital maps on Ancestry, I found them at the address they were living at when I first met my husband. Manuel was Mamal, Aurora was Amora, Raymond was Ramond, ALice wasn't even in the index but she was on the page; and Del Valle was de Velle. Not one of my look up tricks would have worked to find them. The first name errors were all transcription errors but the surname was the enumerator's error. Without the map locators I would not have even attempted to find them in Brooklyn, But I now know that none of the other children born before 1940 did not survive for very long.

    Have fun with your research, I'm enjoying reading your helpful hints