Hints & Tips

On this page you will find some things I’ve pulled together with Hints and Tips on various aspects of genealogical research.  Hope you enjoy!

World War II Draft Cards

During World War II there were seven registrations—handled by the Local Board of a County in each state, DC, and later, American men living abroad.

  • October 16, 1940—all males ages 21-36.
  • Between 1941 & 1943—five more registrations for ages 18-44.
  • April 27, 1942— the Fourth Registration or ”Old Man’s Draft” – men not already in the military who were born on or between April 28, 1877 and February 16, 1897 (a complete inventory of manpower that could be used for national service).

If a person enlisted before his draft date, a WWII Enlistment card may be available, which may lead to personnel service records.

Use clues from these cards to find other information:

Address—locate the person in the 1940 federal census or to help find land and property, tax, city directory, and other records

Telephone—might indicate something about their financial status as not everyone had a phone at this time.

Age & Date of Birth—verify this is the correct ancestor

Place of Birth—their parents should have records in this geographic area

Citizenship—if not USA, look for naturalization paperwork after the date of registration

Reference Name—might be a spouse, parent, sibling or good friend.

Employer—search for additional records near the employer’s address.

Signature—may also help to confirm the correct ancestor if you have a common name and other signed documents.

Physical Description—use this to help identify your ancestor in old photographs.

Draft Location—check this on a map, if it’s close to a border, perhaps your ancestor went to the spot closest to home, whether they were supposed to or not.

Registration Date—may help confirm age range as well as compliance with the law.

Draft Board Stamp—indicates, perhaps, how busy the group was or the local weather conditions as they were not always applied the same day as registration.

The Cards Today

Registration Cards are kept at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO, and in some of NARA’s Regional Archives.  Digitized copies may be found at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and Fold3.com among other websites.


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Medical Terminology

Adapted from:


by Susan Farrell Werle

for The Genealogical Helper, July – Aug 1988, p. 11-12


Ague: fever

Air-swellings: tympanites; air or gas in the intestines

Anchylosis: stiff joint

Anidrosis: too little perspiration

Anthrax: a carbuncle or boil which is larger and more painful than a boil

Apoplexy: stroke

Arachnitis: inflammation of the arachnoid and pia mater, which are membranes in the brain

Ascites: dropsy of the belly: a collection of water in the stomach

Barber’s Itch: ring-worm of the beard

Bilious Colic: tortuous pain in the belly

Bright’s Disease or Dysentery: Inflammation of the large bowels; commonly known as colitis

Bronchorrhea: a bronchial flu

Brown Tail Rash: an irritating, itching rash on the skin caused by small shedded hairs of the gypsy moth (or its caterpillar) carried by the wind and lodging in the pores of the skin

(The) Blue Disease: a blue tinge over the whole body; commonly known as cyanosis; body warmth is reduced, hampering breathing; usually fatal

Brain Fever: intense headache; fever, vertigo, intolerance to light or sound

Bronze John: see yellow fever

Chilbains: a painful sore or swelling on the foot or hand caused by exposure to the cold

Child-Bed Fever: puerperaI fever: septicaemia: blood poisoning during pregnancy

Clap: gonorrhea

Consumption:tubercu1osis of the lungs

Costiveness: constipation

Crusted Tetter: impetigo

Devonshire Colic: see Painter’s colic

Dropsy: anasarca or edema; a collection of water in a large cavity

Dropsy of the Brain: chronic hydrocephalus; an abnormal increase of fluid in the brain

Dry Belly-Ache: see Painter’s Colic

Egyptian Chlorosis: hookworm

False Measles: see Rose Rash

Flatulent Colic: see Wind Colic

Fits: convulsions

Green Sickness: Chlorosis; a green tinge to the skin of a young girl in puberty.

Infantile Debility: see marasmus

Infantile Spinal Paralysis: polio

Idrosis: greatly increased perspiration

King’s Evil: scrofula, or swelling of the neck glands; tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands

Le Grippe:  form of influenza

Lead Palsy: a sequel to Painter’s colic; muscles of the forearm are palsied from lead in the body

Lumbago: rheumatic pain in the back

Lung Fever: pneumonia

Marasmus; infantile debility; condition wherein a child is unable to absorb nutrition from food

Milk Crust: small red, itchy pimples on the face or scalp of infants or children which burst and exude a sticky fluid forming a yellow crust

Milk Leg: phlebitis of inflammation in the leg beginning two to seven weeks after giving birth

Milk Sickness; also known as trembles; a disease contracted by eating a plant which grows in level, heavily-timbered, wet oak-lard (mainly in the West) or by eating meat wherein the animal has grazed upon such plants; Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, general debility, peculiar odor to the breath

Mother’s Marks: dilation of minute blood-vessels, varying in size, the smallest being the “Spider mark”

Mortification; complete death of a part of the body changing it to a black, stinking Mass

Osmicorosis: perspiration with a peculiar smell

Painter’s Colic: also known as Devonshire colic or dry bellyache; a form of colic experienced with slow lead poisoning

Palsy: paralysis to a body part

Pellagra: a disease caused by eating spoiled maize; symptoms begin with vomiting and diarrhea, followed by a swollen and sore tongue, and red ulcerated mouth, rash on the body, and body sores

Pessary: a device worn in the vagina for birth control or to give support to a displaced uterus

Phisic: medicine

Philes: Hemorrhoids

Pleurisy:  inflammation and mucus in the lungs

Pox: syphilis

Purple Disease: pupura hemorrhagica; a rash of spots on the body, small, round and bright red, which changes to a purple color or dark-red spots in irregular, livid patches

Putrid Fever: see Typhus Fever

Pyemia: a form of blood poisoning from pus in the blood carried to various parts of the body

Rose-Rash: “false measles” or rosenia

Rheumatism: inflammation of the joints

Saint Vitus’s Dance: chorea; nervous disorder which creates involuntary muscular contractions

Sciatica: painful condition in the hip and / or thigh

Scrofula: see King’s Evil

Self-Pollution: masturbation

Ship Fever: see Typhus Fever

Spotted Fever: Cerebro-Spinal Meningitisi

St. Anthony’s Fire: erysipelas; infectious disease with inflammation of the skin and fever

Summer Complaint of Infants; cholera in infants

Typhus Fever: also known as Putrid Fever or Ship Fever-, contagious disease transmitted to man by the bite of fleas, lice, etc.

Uremia: blood in the urine

Water-Brash: pyrosis; similar to heartburn; belching of a thin, watery fluid

Wind Colic: also known as interalgia or flatulent colic; distressing pain in the bowels

Wool Sorter’s Disease: see Anthrax

Yellow Jack or Yellow Fever: also known as Bronze John; infectious tropical disease transmitted by a yellow fever mosquito

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Getting Started

Getting started with your own genealogical research is as easy as writing down what you already know!

However, in creating a valuable reference for others, you need to document where the information came from.  So, like when you did term papers in school, with any genealogical research, it’s very important to  record the source of your information.

Your source may be a  published book, an historical document, the results of an interview with a family member or friend, or a family artifact.  Sources exist all around us and many are easier to access than ever before thanks to the internet.

When you are taking notes, be extremely careful in your transcription of the document.  Copy names and dates exactly as they are written (formatting aside). A different spelling of a name or a yet unknown nickname may be a clue to finding other records about the same person, or may help to decipher which of two records belongs to your ancestor .

As for dates, format them as day / month / year and use as many characters as possible to avoid confusion.  By putting the month (in alpha characters) in the middle, you avoid the confusion of too many numbers running together. Another alternative, especially with electronic record keeping is to format the date year / month / day in order to sort the data into a logical timeline.

When you look at a record, consider who created the record and why.  Think about who provided the information and whether or not they had a reason to be bias about the subject.  Were they a first hand observer or repeating something they were told by someone else?

One of the biggest questions for genealogists—how do I organize everything?  Although there are some common forms used in genealogy there is no standard for organization.  Simply put, you need to use a system that works for you and no one can design that but you, yourself.

Be sure to review the following forms as references: (See my Downloads Section)

Pedigree Chart

Family Group Sheet

Research Log

Contact Log

It is also great to have a network of other researchers to call on for help or discuss your issues.  Look for local repositories, classes or groups that you can join to share your new hobby.  Remember not everything is available from your computer—you are, after all, documenting human beings!



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