1. When looking for that lost female family member, about the age of marriage find the parents in the census records and browse. What you are looking for is a female by the same first name, around the age she should be, within 10 sheets on the census. Go 10 sheets forward and 10 sheets backwards from the parents sheet, the females you find is a great starting place. This works even better if she does not have a common name.
2. Many know about the Soundex, even if you don't quite understand how it works. In short what the Soundex does, is calculate what letters of the alphabet sound the same in different situation. What we do not have though, is a visualdex. What I mean by this is, look at what letters look the same. Many times we are glancing at documents and don't study them, so it is very easy for rm to look like m or cl to look like d. cld rnmrrn Can you see how you are taking that extra time to look at the combinations of letters there? This is for typed or written text, my written I looks like a cl or the letter d. Even the dropping of a pen can do funny things to you. On one census it took me 10 years to find my grandparents, all because the name Allen was read as Atton, I believe I would have read it as Alton, but all the same it was way off. I prove it by the names and her brothers live near by. To see how Allen looks like Atton, click here
3. I always teach that, men do family trees, women do family bushes. Men, we have to turn our trees into bushes from time to time to find what we want.
4. Your family tree doesn't mean only you can search on it.
5. Ask the same questions more than once and in different ways.
6. Kickstart an answer. I had asked my father many times about his cousins, and he never knew anything. One day I asked him, "Who is Robellene Allen?" All he could do was smile, then I got my answer.
7. Sometimes a phone call will get you more than an email.
8. When writting out a place name, account for the missing place. Des Moines, Iowa, is that Des Moines, Polk, Iowa or is that Des Moines County, Iowa? They are 150 miles apart. Account for the missing place with a space and a comma. Des Moines, , Iowa or , Des Moines, Iowa.
9. How do you account for that unknown last name that is written out. John Johnson marries Mary Johnson, is Johnson Mary's maiden name or married name? What if you spelt known names Johnson and unknown maiden names JOHNSON, All caps tells me I have a last name for her, but I can not prove it is her maiden name yet, then change it when proven.