The genealogical community does not need another “how to” book. There are many such texts that have passed the test of time and are consulted by beginners as well as advanced researchers.

However, many genealogists need to become “aware of something they did not know;” need to be reminded of “something they forgot;” need to “think about information they find;” need to “think about the research process;” and need to be occasionally entertained. These goals can be achieved by reading Michael John Neill’s new book, Genealogy Tip of the Day.”

The scope of this book is illustrated by the chapter titles. 1. How Grandma Said it, Pond Crossing, Lying, and More. 2. Grains of Truth, Reversed Names, and Date Fudging. 3. Links, Cutting Off, Soundex, Perspective, and Infants. 4. Contemporary, “Paper or Plastic,” and Eternal Neighbors. 5. Undoing, Discrepancies, Math, and Avoiding Court. 6. Reused Names, Absolute Relationships, Leave the 21st Century.

Also, 7. Nicknames, Endogamy, Census Bridges, and Vacuums. 8. Popularity, Wrong Grandmas, New Wife. 9. Portable Ancestors, First Purchases, and Cousin Ken. 10. Dead Reasons, Getting and Giving, Just Me, and Death Names. 11. 100%, Errors, Rushing Structure, and Homemade Abbreviations. 12. Spousal Origins, Patronyms, and Death Causes. 13. Validation, Copyright, Life Estates. 14. Merging Saints, Circle Searching, Flukes, and Running Home. 15. Self-checking, Boarders, Farmed Out, and Widow Power. 16. All I Need is Love, Crossing a Line, and Joseph Conversions. 17 Leaving Family, Dead Proofing, One Little Entry.

These topics are just the tip of the iceberg. For example, the 40 sub-topics in chapter 2 include Late Does Not Mean Dead and Have You Researched All Your Ancestor’s Marriages. Be pleasantly surprised at the scope of Neill’s wealth of information in his new book.

Genealogy Tip of the Day is a 286-page softcover, indexed, illustrated (with author’s family pictures—most from Hancock Country, Illinois) book, ISBN 9780578612904, that can be purchased from the author @ $25 postpaid or an autographed copy @ $29.75 postpaid.

Send name, address, and check to Michael John Neill, Tip of the Day, P.O. Box 108, Rio, IL 61472. Please allow 3 weeks for delivery.

Massachusetts records

Judy G. Russell, “The Legal Genealogist,” has posted disturbing news at If the governor of Massachusetts has his way public access to that state’s vital records that have been open for 380 years “will be shuttered away for decades.”

Genealogists need to keep informed about such possible legislation and let their voices be heard!

Cemeteries’ portraits

A BillionGraves Blog, at, tells of portraits in stone from “around the world and across the ages.” Also, did you know “for thousands of years final resting places had been called graveyards or burial grounds” but as Christianity took hold in the 1800s, the word cemetery came into use? It comes from a Greek word meaning “sleeping place.”

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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