Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions about ancestors and records in the USA. This includes previous political entities within the geographical boundaries of the present-day USA, such as the relevant European colonies. Also tag the state if the question is specific to that state.

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33
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4answers
4k views

What does it mean if cause of death is listed as “Insanity” in late 1800s?

My great, great grandmother's cause of death is listed as "Insanity" on her death record, and I'm not sure what this means. She died in Winsted, McLeod County, Minnesota in 1872 at age 37, and had ...
24
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2answers
508 views

What does it mean if a probate index lists a person's record as “Insanity of”, instead of “Estate of”?

I found my ancestor listed in a probate index for McLeod County, Minnesota, USA around the year 1882. His record is in the format "Last Name, First Name, Insanity of", instead of "Last Name, First ...
21
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4answers
303 views

Making your first trip to a courthouse

I am lucky enough to live within an hour's drive of a Texas county that is significant to my family history. I hear many people talk about going to the courthouse for research, but I still find it ...
15
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3answers
629 views

What is this Delaware marriage document?

I recently found (via ancestry.com) this document regarding the marriage of my great-grandparents (specifically my father's mother's parents) in 1883, from the Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912. ...
15
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3answers
233 views

Finding Utah ancestor's parents after exhausting BMD records, census and newspapers?

Though his known life history is quite lurid, I have spent 40 years searching for the parents of my great-grandfather. He was born in 1859, first married in Salt Lake City in 1884, divorced while in ...
14
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6answers
378 views

How to find wife's maiden name in New England in the 1700s?

All too often it seems I have a family in New England in the 1700s where I know the father and several children but only have a given name for the mother in the family. (The children's birth records ...
14
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2answers
8k views

Where can I find information on buildings that have been demolished?

I'd appreciate suggestions from anyone who has traced the history of houses, multi-family residences, and commercial buildings, on how to find more information about buildings which no longer exist. ...
14
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1answer
430 views

Locating New England telegraph man (Lemuel Keyser Preston) ca1850?

Charles H. Dillion, a 20th-century Texas telegraph man and author, called Lemuel Keyser "L. K." Preston the "pioneer of the telegraph in Texas."1 According to his earlier 1852 marriage record (...
14
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1answer
688 views

Determining whether soldier in US Civil War was German mercenary?

I am looking for ways to determine whether Civil War soldiers were hired mercenaries. I know the name of my great-great grandfather only from a census record when he was living with his son. From that ...
13
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5answers
167 views

How to do research using local resources remotely?

My great great great grandfather spent some of his life in Houghton, Houghton, Michigan, United States, and I would like to find more records for that area regarding his family. The problem is that I ...
13
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4answers
12k views

Understanding last three columns of 1910 US Census?

The last three columns in the 1910 US Census (columns 30, 31 and 32) have four numbers in them. Column 30 is supposedly about survivors of the Union or Confederate army, 31 is if you’re blind and 32 ...
13
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3answers
454 views

How would you handle a census record that is almost certainly the target family but which has too many discrepancies?

Anna M. Alischer married Charles John Brockhouse in 1928 and had 3 children (1930, 1934, 1942). In 1930 they were enumerated in Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. I think I've identified the ...
13
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5answers
415 views

Can anyone decipher the comment above Louis' name on this 1940 census record?

Finally posting my first question, after answering many ;-) The following 1940 census record from Bronx, New York has a comment written above Louis' name. It seems to start with "Party has" or "...
13
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2answers
356 views

How can I get all the military records available through NARA (USA) for an individual veteran?

When requesting the military records for an individual veteran from the national archives, I was only sent the discharge summary. How do I know if there are any more records available for the ...
13
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2answers
405 views

What is this individual's military service number?

Below is a clipping of a 1942 military document detailing promotions of personnel. The column listing "service numbers" seems to specify them in an abbreviated fashion. Given that assumption and ...
13
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1answer
187 views

Where do I find the record pointed to by a naturalization index?

I found an image of an index record for a declaration of intent in a New York court, published online as part of the collection Alphabetical Index to Declarations of Intention of the U.S. District ...
13
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1answer
321 views

Andrew Wilson remains an enigma

I am trying to find the parentage and immigration for Andrew Wilson my 2nd great grandfather. According to family search he was born on August 1, 1838 in Gulladuff, Maghera Parish in Londonderry ...
13
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1answer
772 views

World War I Draft Registration (US) card office markings?

My great-uncle Lester Clifton of Springfield, Illinois registered for the WWI draft and on the bottom left side of the draft card is a large zero or uppercase 'O'. I cannot find out what this ...
12
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6answers
318 views

How old *are* these people?

I have found records of the Axel family I am researching in several censuses. In addition, I have death records for both Peter and Sarah, the mother and father of the family. Below I present, in ...
12
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4answers
421 views

Finding New York birth record from around 1804?

My 3rd great grandfather, Charles James Sanderson, was born around 1804 in New York according to the 1851 and 1861 England Census (and some other references I've been able to find). The earliest ...
12
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5answers
7k views

Meaning of remarks on 1948 USMC discharge papers?

I am trying to understand the full meaning of the remarks shown on this record from the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Muster Rolls. This is from July, 1948. (column headers) (record in question) ...
12
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3answers
227 views

What details are needed about ancestor to uncover ship they immigrated to America on?

What basic information do I need to have about my ancestor before I start looking for the ship that he/she came to America on? So that I don't waste a lot of time fruitlessly searching for a ship - ...
12
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2answers
12k views

Difference between “roomer” and “boarder” in 1930 US census?

I encountered the following situation in a 1930 census of a household of a family I am researching: In addition to mother (head) and daughter, there is a roomer, and three girls with the same last ...
12
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2answers
552 views

Tracing US ancestor back to Germany?

My great great great grandfather came over from Germany, but I don't know how to find when or where. His name is Henry Fischer about 1821-1898, married to Dorothea Holiday Fischer about 1825-unknown. ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Why would someone born in the U.S. file a petition for naturalization?

I was look at Ancestry's "Pennsylvania, Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931" and noticed that several of the entries for Schuykill County were for people born in the U.S. In a few ...
12
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2answers
2k views

What uses are there for the Social Security Number (SSN) of a deceased ancestor?

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI), or Death Master File (DMF) is an index of the deaths of US persons that have been notified to the US Social Security. It's available online at various places ...
12
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2answers
10k views

Finding out which Freemasons' lodge ancestor belonged to?

I know my grandfather was a Freemason, but I don't know which order/lodge he was associated with. Short of contacting every lodge in the state, how can I find out? Are there records of this sort of ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Seeking 1912 Passenger Lists into United States for ships near RMS Titanic?

I've long heard a story that my Great Grandfather was going to travel on the Titanic, but ended up choosing another ship. Supposedly his ship was close enough that they heard the SOS call for the ...
11
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4answers
552 views

Should I ignore possible family information because it far too precise for its age?

I ran across this info on a possible family member, but it seems far too precise for a 250+ year old large family. Does it make sense to ignore possible family information because it far too precise ...
11
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9answers
21k views

What are the pre-1993 US Air Force Specialty Codes?

Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC's) are used to denote what responsibility or job someone is performing in the Air Force. The system was overhauled in 1993 to better match recent restructuring and ...
11
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2answers
226 views

Seemingly missing NYC birth records

I am looking for birth records for the children of David Nechemias and Etta Ehrensaal. From census records, I have Beatrice (b. abt 1897), Helen (b. abt 1904), Sidney (b. about 1907) and Roselyn (b. ...
11
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2answers
596 views

My Great Grandfather Dissappeared - what happened to him?

My great grandfather John Albert Draper was born March 23, 1877 in Marshalltown, Iowa to Nathan and Mary Ann Draper. He married my great grandmother in 1905 and by 1906 had left the family home. My ...
11
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1answer
2k views

1935 residence in the 1940 census

The 1940 census includes fields for the person's residence in 1935. The fields are city, county, and state. When it says "same place" for the residence in 1935, does that refer to the town or to the ...
11
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4answers
667 views

Is city ward information provided in U.S. census records useful?

Many, if not most, of the 20th century U.S. census records include fairly precise address information for those living in cities and towns. Even many 1880 census records include at least street-level ...
11
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4answers
1k views

Name change records for New York City (NYC)?

One of the people I am researching appears to have changed her name: in the 1915 NYC census she appears as Reva Osernoff, living with the Axel family: Similarly in the 1920 federal and 1930 censuses: ...
11
votes
1answer
453 views

Immigration from Norway: seeking information about 1871 passage from Quebec to the US

This question is similar to Rob Hoare's "Sources for Border Crossings between Toronto and Chicago in early 1890's?" but the circumstances are different. My question concerns immigration 20 years ...
11
votes
1answer
230 views

Could an Ohio resident be in the Indiana militia? (Timeline resolution)

It is part of my family's tradition that a particular ancestor of mine was a participant in the Battle of Tippecanoe, on November 19, 1811, but I am having a little trouble confirming it. Here are ...
10
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5answers
948 views

Finding original surname of adopted child from New York?

My late father-in-law was adopted by his step-father when he was 10. My late grandmother-in-law never talked about her first husband and there is some confusion on the first husband's surname. My ...
10
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3answers
793 views

Why did my Uncle's Death Certificate Not Appear in the Family History Library's Archives?

In 1987, an uncle, one of my Dad's siblings, disappeared without leaving any word of his whereabouts. At the time, he lived in Denver, Colorado. Fast forward to 1998, I left the military and took a ...
10
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5answers
432 views

Where can I search for elusive vital records (birth, names of parents, death) for my great grandmother, Celina Drollet?

Celina/Salina Drollet (or Drowlette,Drolet,Draulette,Drollette,etc) (b. abt 1866) and James Comstock (b. 1874) were the parents of my grandmother Mary Amelia Comstock (Mary was b. Mar 1897 Saranac, NY ...
10
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5answers
4k views

Merchant marine - how to research people who worked on ships?

I am researching a relative who disappears from conventional genealogical records. He married and fathered children regularly until his wife died but does not appear in census records with his family ...
10
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2answers
137 views

Letters from US Presidents to persons over 100

When searching newspaper obituaries for an ancestor, I ran across an obituary (unfortunately not an ancestor) of a person who had lived to 100. This reminded me that my father had found a letter from ...
10
votes
1answer
146 views

Transients and New Arrivals in the U.S. 1940 census

I've been trying to find the 1940 census entry of Sara Katharina Guenther, born 05 Jul 1908 in Homestead, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA. She had just arrived back in the port of New York NY on ...
9
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3answers
623 views

Sources for Border Crossings between Toronto and Chicago in early 1890's?

What records might exist for border crossings and travel in early 1890's between Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA, probably via Michigan? The family members involved ...
9
votes
1answer
210 views

How can I find out the name of this street?

The image below comes from a page from the 1940 US Census: (Full size image here.) The page header from the Census is a poor scan. While I can make out the location as Washington DC, I'm unsure as ...
9
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3answers
250 views

Who are the Ancestors of William Yensull?

William Yensull (also spelled Yensule or Yencule) became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States on April 20th, 1896. Based on his Naturalization Certificate, issued in the Illinois county of ...
9
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3answers
475 views

What does the term “Intervale” mean in the context of New Hampshire land transactions and deeds?

I have found the term "Intervale" used in the property descriptions of different Rumney, New Hampshire deeds; these descriptions generally rely on metes and bounds ("from the large rock at the stream ...
9
votes
3answers
159 views

1882 Local News Item — What Does “in the shade” Mean?

I have a local news item from the Belle Plaine News, Belle Plaine, Sumner County, Kansas, USA, 4 February 1882 in which it is stated: J. P. Martin has laid several young men "in the shade." For ...
9
votes
1answer
714 views

Where might I find General Orders No. 77 dated 11 Nov 1943?

I have found a document that notes the renaming of Edinburgh Field, Trinidad to Carlsen Field (click image for full size): To get more information about the renaming (and the individual behind it) I ...
9
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2answers
2k views

What WPA projects took place in my (or my relatives') hometown?

Several of the city directory listings I've found list people as being employed by the WPA (Work Projects Administration). In the comments on Thanks for one government “boondoggle”, on the blog ...

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