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Review: Casefile Clues

casefile clues

Recently I was given the chance to look at two recent issues of Casefile Clues which is a genealogy newsletter produced by Michael John Neill.  When first contacted, I thought to myself, “Just what I need, another genealogy-related newsletter.” But was I wrong – Casefile Clues is no ordinary newsletter.  After one issue I was intrigued and could see the value of the case study to my own research efforts.  After the second issue I was hooked.

So what did I like about Michael’s well-written and well-researched efforts apparent in each issue?

A First Rate Research Guide

First, as someone who is working to gain their certification as a professional genealogist, I like learning about different research techniques and areas of research.  A reader of Casefile Clues is given a wide variety of cases covering different time periods and different geographical areas.

For example, the issues I recently read covered a case involving a homestead application in Nebraska.  Now in my own personal research I have never had a need for a “how to” on researching homestead applications.  But who knows when I may need it for clients in the future?  If I do need such a resource, I can turn to the Casefile Clues case to get a better understanding of the records involved and the research process.

I know that if I were a subscriber to Casefile Clues, I could have access to different research topics and easily consult back-issues when faced with many different research situations.

The Value of the Research Process

Second, I love the “CSI” aspect of genealogy.  This was apparent with my recent research project where I helped locate the family of Marjorie Pauline Frost in order to return a 1926 baby book her family once owned.  Many said that while reading the series of posts, they felt they were right inside my head watching the thought process as it happened.

I get that same feeling when reading a case study in Casefile Clues.  Another recent issue dealt with what was assumed to be a wrong name in a 1910 U.S. Census for a Chicago, Illinois family.  As Michael picked apart all the data and organized it in a way which made it easy to do further research, you could just watch the thought process unfold.

The Devil? In the Details, Of Course!

Third, when you work with a case study in Casefile Clues you get not only a well-written narrative but one that is filled with source citations, images of original records and even visual aids such as Google Maps.  Michael’s research expertise is obvious in each issue and he goes the extra mile by sharing every bit of information with you.


I was impressed with Casefile Clues.  So much so, I felt that a $15 annual subscription rate was well worth the information provided in each issue.  I’ve become fairly selective lately in terms of publications that I purchase, organizations that I join and newsletters/magazines to which I subscribe.  I didn’t have to think twice about my subscription to Casefile Clues.

[Disclosure: I was contacted by Michael John Neill in October 2009 and received two recent issues of Case File Clues (at no charge to me) with no obligation to publish a review. I have not been compensated monetarily in any way for this review or any work with Case File Clues. My intention is to give a good review, which does not necessarily mean a favorable review. In my mind a good review is one in which the subject of the review is fully researched and tested and my opinions are given while at the same time remaining fully transparent as to my involvement with the vendor of the product.]

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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