I’ve mentioned the US Patents database at Google before (http://patents.google.com/). I made at least one very minor discovery today on this database and I’m thinking that the search or something has been tweaked since I looked at it several years ago.
One of the names I search for in virtually every database is Ufkes. It is my mother’s maiden name and there were only two pre-1900 immigrant families with that last name that settled in the United States and that last name is pretty unusual.
I know I searched the patent database for Ufkes before and didn’t find anything. Today I did .
B[ertus]. J. Ufkes witnessed a patent applied for by Anders O. Hammer of Williams, Montana.
The application was filed 22 April 1916. If I hadn’t know that Bertus was in Montana at that time, the patent, even though it was not issued in his name, would have been a clue.