Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


Looking back through the centuries in Ireland, there has traditionally been a very strong naming pattern for the children born into a family. Perhaps knowing this pattern will assist you in your research.

eldest son usually named after his paternal grandfather

second son usually named after his maternal grandfather

third son usually named for his father

fourth son usually named for his father’s eldest brother

fifth son usually named for his mother’s eldest brother  

eldest daughter usually named after her maternal grandmother

second daughter usually named after her paternal grandmother

third daughter usually named for her mother

fourth daughter usually named for her mother’s eldest sister

fifth daughter usually named for her father’s eldest sister  

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


  Many genealogists are familiar with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website and use that site to see if their ancestors acquired land under the Homestead Act, or by any of the other federal land acts.  On this website, one can see the legal description of the land, along with a digital image of the patent itself.
But many people do NOT know that there is a file associated with each patent, that is not online.   Both the affidavit of eligibility and the proof required for the patent after five years may contain detailed genealogical information. In many cases, because non-citizens were eligible to claim land but only citizens could receive a patent, the actual naturalization records of the claimants may be found in the files. Other files, by widows or children of the original claimant, may include marriage or birth records.
The Homestead file itself is available through the National Archives, for a fee of $50.
For more information about these records, and how to order them, see The Legal Genealogist article titled “Happy Birthday, Homestead Act” by Judy Russell at .  Just scroll down to the May 20, 2019 post.
One can sign up to subscribe to The Legal Genealogist at no charge and receive it as a daily email.  Her daily blog posts are frequently very interesting and informative, as this one is. Consider this a bonus Tip of the Week!  

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

The Library of Virginia in Richmond holds and preserves all the records of the state of Virginia. Its library catalog is readily searchable online, and just as with, an increasing number of their records have been digitized and are accessible online.

For instance, searching under the Images and Indexes tab (see below) gives you a list of over thirty digitized, searchable collections, including Revolutionary War Bounty Warrants and Land Office Military Certificates; Henley’s Marriage/Obituary Index of Virginia Newspapers; and Virginia Land Office Patents and Claims, to name just a few.

To view this section of their catalog, go to their main web page: ( ) and scroll down slightly till you see For The Public; click there (everything under that tab is worth exploring!) select Search the LVA Catalog.  This opens a new page, with 4 tabs; click on Images and Indexes.  Then select which collection(s) you’d like to search.

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


Have you explored Ancestry’s new tool called ThruLines?  It’s intended to replace the old tool, DNA Circles. It displays your and your DNA matches common ancestor(s) and family lines in a more comprehensive format.

It finds connections to your DNA matches by matching persons in each other’s trees. Even if there are private trees involved, you will get these ThruLines as long as the trees are set to searchable.

One small quirk I noticed, it will falsely assume you are, for example,  a ½ 3nd cousin, if both your 2xgreat grandparents names do not match identically to those on the other person’s tree.  But all in all, it’s a fun new tool. This is the beta version and it will improve.    

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


If you need help with translations while doing your genealogy, realize there is help online beyond the popular utility Google Translate.

Start with a visit to the “Translation Services “ WIKI at :

Currently they have words list for 18 different languages. These lists contain common words you are likely to encounter in genealogy records for that country.

The FamilySearch Wiki also provides links to a half dozen popular online translation websites :

A lesser known translation site recommended by Lisa Alzo of Internet Genealgoy & Your Genealogy Today, especially for languages such as Arabic, Greek, or Russian, is Yandex Translate. Yandex is a synchronized translation for 95 languages, with predictive typing, dictionary with transcription, pronunciation and usage examples, as well as many other features.

Finally. resources not to be ignored are your church or cultural organizations such as “The Sons of Italy”. Maybe they can provide the translation help you need.  

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

You have a powerful function at your disposal when you’re in a web browser and want to search for a word or phrase. It’s called Control F, and very often you will see it written and referred to as CTRL+F.  

This performs the same way as the search function in many of the applications you use.  

While holding down the Control key (labeled CTRL), hit the F key. A search box will pop up on your screen. In this search, or find box, enter the word or phrase you want to locate. 

This function comes in particularly handy when you want to search long web pages, blogs, or online books for something specific. I find it useful in searching through family history books that are online at

Here’s a sample exercise for you to try out. Click on the link at the bottom of this article to go to an online version of “War and Peace” in text format.

While holding down the CTRL key, hit the F key. Now enter the word Nicholas in the search box that appears, and hit enter. Nicholas occurs 631 times in “War and Peace”. See the 1/631 in the search box?  See the up and down arrows in the search box? Using the up and down arrows you can rapidly jump through “War and Peace”  to each mention of Nicholas.
  The instructions and descriptions above are using the Chrome browser and a PC. If you have a PC and are using Internet Explorer or another browser, the find box may look and behave a little differently. If you have a Mac, not a problem. It’s just Command F, instead of Control F.   

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

TIP OF THE WEEK – NOTICE FOR FTDNA CUSTOMERS   Listening to angry customers, FTDNA has provided a separate option so one can now opt out of the new Law Enforcement Matching (LEM), but still maintain matching with DNA Relatives. If you care to adjust your Matching Preferences, visit the Privacy & Sharing section within Account Settings as shown in the steps below: 

1. Log in to your FTDNA account
2. Use the dropdown arrow in the upper right, to the right of name, to open the menu there and choose Account Settings
3. On the Account Settings page, open the Privacy & Sharing tab
4. Cursor down to the Law Enforcement Matching (LEM) section and slide the marker from the right (where it’s blue) to the left (where it will turn grey)

If you manage multiple accounts, you’ll have to log into each account individually and repeat steps 1-4.   Judy G Russell, the Legal Genealogist, wrote an insightful blog on the Law Enforcement Matching issue and what it might mean to you, as well as any other kits you administer. It’s dated March 13th.  If interested, you can read it here:

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


The 2019 International German Genealogy Conference, to be held June 15-17 in downtown Sacramento at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, will offer three days of German-centric presentations in multiple tracks –Geographic, Technology, Advancing Your Research, and more. Attendees will learn from genealogists, authors, historians, and archivists who are top presenters with advanced proficiency in their fields of study.

This is the 2nd international conference of the International German Genealogy Partnership, a federation of German genealogy organizations whose mission is to facilitate German genealogy research globally. The first was in Minnesota in 2017.  

The  local sponsor for this 2019 conference is the Sacramento German Genealogy Society. This is billed as the largest worldwide gathering on the specific topic of German genealogy this calendar year; 700+ attendees are expected.

Use either organization’s website for more information or registration:

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week



Between the years 1820 and 1920, thirty five million immigrants arrived at US ports and 82% of them came through the port of New York. Before Ellis Island was opened in 1892, Castle Garden was the official immigrant reception area. Combined, the three collections cited below have over 66 million searchable passenger records that cover the port from 1820-1957. Access is available to you through your account on the free genealogy website,  

Castle Garden (1820-1891 arrival dates)

Ellis Island (1892-1924 arrival dates)  

NY Passenger and Crew Lists, 1925-1957 dates