Research Hints (From Louise Carlson)


“How do I calculate a date of birth if it is missing from the tombstone?

If you know the date a person died and their age at death, then the 8870 formula can help you quickly calculate the date of birth.
Example: Using the 8870 formula for a person who died on May 6, 1889 and was 71 yrs, 7 mo, 9 days old:

DATE OF DEATH: 1889 May 6 = 18890506 (1889=year, 05=month, 06=day)
AGE AT DEATH – 71 yrs 7 mo 9 days = 710709 (71=years, 07=months, 09=days)
Subtract 710709 from 18890506 =18179797
Subtract the Constant (8870) from 18179797
RESULT = 18170927 (1817 = year, 09 = month, 27 = day)
ANSWER – This person was born 27 Sept 1817

If the age in months and age in days are less than the month and day in the date of death, just subtract directly, i.e.:

DATE OF DEATH: 1868 Dec 25
AGE AT DEATH: 45 yrs. 5 mo 4 days
Subtract 45 from 1868 = 1823
Subtract 5 from 12 = 7
Subtract 4 from 25 = 21
RESULT = 1823 Jul 21 for the date of birth

Research Hint #2:  IMMIGRATION

“My ancestors migrated to the U.S. I don’t know what year. How do I find out?”

Refer to the 1920 U.S. Census form under the Citizenship heading (Column 13). The census question asks for the year of immigration to U. S.

To determine a port of entry, and/or view passenger lists, access; Click on Immigration and Emigration Records. In the right column, under Narrow by Category, select Passenger Lists. Enter a name and date of immigration.

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the Passenger List screen to view Ancestry’s collection information and additional search tips.

Research Hint #1: Data Worksheets For Researching

If you have yet to find a Family Group form that works the way you think, consider making a form to suit your research style. Any software application featuring tables and lines can be utilized to create your form. For example, the workflow template forms available for download below were originally created with Microsoft Publisher. Download, then print the PDF file. While doing your research the forms allow you to see at a glance, the overall view of the family, pedigree and basic timeline. Pencil in the data as it is found. Print additional pages as needed. The missing pieces of information can readily be seen. The Research Log can help minimize repeating research efforts or wasting time covering old ground.

WORKFLOW TEMPLATE: [Forms created by Louise Carlson, 2010]