When we turn our hearts to our ancestors, something changes inside of us. We feel part of something greater than ourselves~Russell M. Nelson

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday's Tip~Gettin' By With Help From Our Friends-Dustin Austin


This edition of Tuesday's Tip comes from Ohio genealogist, Dustin Austin.

Dustin's Tips:
1. Follow the money $$$$
No matter if your family was rich, middle class, or poor, there is always a trail to follow! Following the money, no matter how much it was can lead you a wealth of information. Many people have the mindset, that if their family didn’t have any money, it wasn’t worth checking out. In one case I was able to find the birth and death dates for all of the children of my 4x great grandparents. Several of the children were not even listed in the Catholic Church books. There was a little black book that my 4x great grandfather had written notes in, which would be admitted into court during the settlement of his estate. In this book were the birth and death dates of all children including the infant children who died shortly after birth. You will never know what you may find if you look in all places possible! 

2.DNA Matches
So often as I am speaking and talking about DNA, many people say to me “Dustin, my matches never message me back!?. I have found to have great success with getting more matches to respond to me with the way I word my messages. 
Example: 

Dear Cousin,
RE: the test you admin for: R.E.

I see that we are a DNA match, and I would love to help figure out the connection. Based on our shared matches and my research at this point, I believe that we are Austin cousins. Does this surname sound familiar to you? 

Would you mind sharing with me the surnames of R.E.’s great grandparents (if known), and I will try to figure out the connection. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Your Cousin,
Dustin

What you will find is that I am putting it back on myself, and I am willing to do most of the work to figure out the connection. Once people know how you are related, they are more willing to share photos and information. Many people want others to figure out the connection for them, or are too wordy in their messages, and lose their attention before they finish reading. Then they never hear back from that match! So, to round out this tip, make your messages short, to the point, and put the work back on yourself!  

3.Public Ancestry Member Trees
Although sometimes useful, use caution when adding information from Ancestry Public Member Trees. So often people get hooked by those Ancestry commercials and think they can have their family tree “done” within hours. The most import thing to keep in mind is to look at the sources under any specific public tree you are looking at. If their only source is “Ancestry Family Trees” you will want to go check out that source and see which tree the information came from. In most cases, it came from another unsourced and undocumented family tree, and that tree will also be sourced as “Ancestry Family Tree”.  Using them as a guide can help in your research, but verify any information you find in them! 

4.Deed Research
One place you may not think of putting at the top of your research list is those deed records! When someone has real estate, it is typically their most valuable asset. Transferring or mortgaging these assets requires lots of documentation, especially when it comes time to transfer those assets upon their death. That means deeds could leave great information behind. Before you go spending $25-$75 on a death certificate, you may want to check with the county recorder’s office. In several cases, I have found copies of those expensive estate records, death certificates and letters WITH the deed records. When I researched in one county in Michigan, I found they charge $2.00 per page for their probate papers. Some probate offices will not copy sections for you, it's all or nothing.  Well the idea of spending $150 to get one estate packet, did not sit well with me. So I drove down to the recorder’s office and found the estate papers I was looking for there, at a cost of only $6.00. You may save yourself a decent amount of money at the recorder’s office if you look there! 





Dustin Austin is an Ohio native who loves genealogy! His greatest passion is family history research, with his more recent specialty, DNA! You will find Dustin all over northwest Ohio speaking for local groups, organizations, and libraries. He is a banker by day and a genealogist by night. He defiantly knows a thing or two about following the money in any family, which can lead you to valuable pieces of information. He is President of the Seneca County Genealogical Society, A Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society, and trustee for the Huron County Chapter Genealogical Society, A Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society. He is also active in several other chapters. You will find him “hanging out” in various online Google Hangouts, which he loves to do! He loves spending time at the county offices researching because it’s not all online. He started doing genealogy in 2005 and kicked his research in high gear in 2012, after the passing of his beloved grandfather. He realized the importance of talking with these older people before something happens to them. After a conversation with a cousin at the funeral showing of his grandfather, it finally struck him he simply cannot wait. 

Thanks so much for your tips, Dustin! 

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