I have always been a 'Rule Follower'...raised in the 50's and 60's when parents, teachers, and 'Robert's Rules' ruled.
I still respect and abide by 'The Rules', but when it comes to 'Researching My Roots', I've become a Repository and Rule Protestor...of sorts.
Still, I strive to follow the Rules of Headstone Recording by deciphering the dates without disturbing the dirt, pulling weeds or messing with the snakes. The bugs get Off'ed.
Photo courtesy of a cousin once removed...rule of credit due...check. You know the cousin rule...right...'once removed, they may not return. (sorry, I couldn't resist)
Courthouse Repository Research Reveals
~Locating the county where your ancestor lived is the first step in finding records...like the time he was hauled into court for shooting his neighbor's dog, threatened the census taker with a shotgun, or arrested for making illegal corn whiskey behind the barn.
~When in the courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55 pm on Friday afternoon.
~Your ancestor moved frequently and sold all of his property to his children before he died to avoid probate.
~Research in one county courthouse that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation.
~Your ancestor is featured in the county history because he was the first prisoner in the new jail.
Birth and Death Certificates
~A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.
~The application for a death certificate you want insists that you provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother...which is exactly what you don't know and is the reason for wanting the death certificate.
~Death Certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.
Stuff You Should Know...Before Researching Your Roots
~Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for a lively free-for-all.
~Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.
~When you contact your home state's vital statistics office and ask if they are "online" and they respond..."on what?"...you may have a problem.