How-To Presentations & Companion Guides

Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census

Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census

I’m launching a new series of How-To Presentations and Companion Guides.  I was inspired by my recent experience looking and finding my 3rd great-grandfather Xaver Schillinger in the 1905 New York State Census.  Using my real world example, I take you step-by-step through the process I used to locate him – a difficult task since he did not come up in a routine search using’s search engine.  I ended up having to manually search for him in the census, because his name and those of his family members were butchered by the enumerator recording the census.  However, I was able to turn what would seem like an arduous task into something that was easily accomplished in a single evening in front of my home computer – no special trips to the National Archives, Sutro Library or Family History Center required.

So, without further ado, here is How to Search the 1905 New York Census.


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Xaver Schillinger’s Last Will and Testament, Along with the Probate Records

In researching Xaver Schillinger, I came across the probate records filed after his death, along with his Last Will and Testament, on the FamilySearch website.

The file is 12 pages long, with the will comprising the last two pages of the document.  I’m including images of the file here, along with the transcript below.

Some interesting information about the file:

  • Xaver Schillinger died on 6 October 1923 in Kings County, New York.
  • The petition was filed by his son Louis Schillinger in October, and probate was finalized in December 1923.
  • At the time of his death, Xaver Schillinger owned no real property, and had no more than $3200 in personal property.
    • For those who are not familiar with the difference between real and personal property: Real property refers to real estate holdings (buildings, land, farms, etc.).  Personal property refers to belongings (cash, jewelry, electronics, etc.).
  • The value of his personal property was to be distributed equally amongst his four children, or if a child was deceased, their portion would be distributed to their child(ren).
  • His daughters are married at the time of his Last Will & Testament, and their married names are given as Mary Altenburg and Catharine Fausner.  On page 5 of the file, Catherine is misidentified as Frances Fausner.
  • His daughter Mary and his son Charles live in the same house at 234 Jerome Street.
  • His son Louis lives at 169 Van Siclen Avenue, and his daughter Catherine lives at 148 Logan Street.
Schillinger Siblings Homes in Brooklyn

Schillinger Siblings Homes in Brooklyn


John Wylie Johns Death Certificate

John Wylie Johns Death Certificate

John Wylie Johns Death Certificate

I talked previously about how I found the death certificate for John Wylie Johns. He is my 2nd Great Grand Uncle and is the younger brother, by one year, of my 2nd Great Grandfather, William Jackson Johns. John was born in 1868 and died in 1927.

According to the death certificate: (more…)

Using FamilySearch to Find Georgia Death Certificates

While trying to find information on my 3rd great grandparents (James Jackson and Ellen Moore Johns), I came across the death certificate of their son, John Wylie Johns. I located this death certificate on From their main page, I selected Search. Instead of entering in search terms, I scrolled to the bottom of the page and elected to search by browsing the records.

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Indexing for

Indexing Project from

A sample indexing project from is the Wisconsin – County Marriages, 1838-1907

I’ve started to volunteer to help with the Indexing project at  In order to volunteer you have to download their free software program. The program is an easy to use tool that coordinates the indexing projects and lets you download batches of documents to your computer for indexing.

I have to admit, the process is a little addictive.  I think in my first week, I’ve spent more than 4 hours indexing, adding 249 names and earning 349 points.  FamilySearch uses points earned to figure out your proficiency at indexing and make more complicated projects available to you.  When you are starting out as a newbie, you are shown easier projects for your preferred batches.  As you gain points, more complicated batches will become available to you.