One of the most frustrating parts about genealogy research is not knowing an ancestor’s maiden name. It puts you at a standstill when trying to determine who her parents are. We have some suggestions for you to try if you are stuck without any idea what your ancestor’s maiden name is.
After successfully documenting your ancestor’s death using various resources such as an obituary, death certificate, and existing headstone, the next major event that you will want to document is a marriage record. Marriage records are a little more difficult to access because often only the index is available online. This post will discuss how to locate a marriage, and suggest substitute records that you can use to show a marriage took place in case you cannot locate an original record.
In How to Document a Death, we shared a few of the most common resources for learning more about your ancestor’s death. The death event generated many different ways to learn more about a person. Even if a person is not present in a record where they were mentioned consecutively in the past, that can become a clue to the possible date of death. You will learn the most by making it a point of including a few more record types in your search.
One of the most common events that beginning researchers attempt to document is an ancestor’s death. Most become familiar right away with death certificates, but when there are challenges finding or accessing a death certificate, it is helpful to know about additional records. It is a good practice to search these additional records in case there are errors or incomplete information on the death certificate.
This is the final post in the series about mistakes family historians sometimes make. Most of us use a family tree to keep track of the names and events in the lives of our ancestors. How many of us have considered what makes up the foundation of a well constructed tree? Three important elements set certain trees apart from the rest.
In Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned and Relying on One Source Type, we discussed the pitfalls that family historians can unknowingly fall into. Another very common mistake is rushing back too quickly in an imagined race to find direct ancestors. This more often that not creates research challenges. Below we share better principles to follow in discovering ancestors.
This is a continuation of the last post where we began sharing common mistakes family historians make getting started and throughout researching their family history. Advice not to rely on one source type will help you discover more about your ancestor and extended...
Family history research is one of the most rewarding adventures that you can experience. What makes it most rewarding is how it brings family members and communities closer as discoveries are made. There are many ways to have success in the process of finding, recording, and sharing what you learn, but there are also common mistakes that researchers share. Whether you have just begun or if you have been on your genealogy journey for a while, follow the wisdom below to avoid pitfalls along the way.
In Family History in Photographs, we discussed how to gather family history through the photographs in the home of family members. In this series on records found at home, we will remind you of resources that you may already have that provide evidence of...
As we embark on our journey in family history, we sometimes neglect the resources right within our reach. We spend time online searching for records that may already be in the homes of our extended family. Before you set out to look for resources to document your ancestor, you need to exhaust the resources found at home or in the possession of family members. This is a first in a series of posts on resources for family history in your home.
In Avenues of Research from a Will, we highlighted several clues that could help to reveal more about George Epps Tucker (1860-1927), affectionately called Epps, and his son, George Anderson Tucker (1882-1932). You should search to see if wills exist for the...
What do you do with a will when you find one? Wills can reveal a great deal of information that can fuel your genealogy research. Treat each new detail like a clue that will link you to more information. We will use the will of George Epps Tucker...
Many avid researchers hit a stumbling block in identifying more about their ancestors, and they do not know how to overcome it. They get stuck for long periods of time not being able to find historical documentation. You must know how to keep your own research going. What do you do after you have exhausted all the records at your disposal online or in local repositories?
Letter from Freedmen Robert Hamilton and Patrick Allston Requesting Rations, Beaufort County, SC, 1868
Freedmen’s Bureau records are such a rich resource for African American genealogy and history. From these records, you can learn so much about what was happening where your ancestors were living just after the end of the Civil War. But, even in Freedmen’s Bureau records, it’s rare to find a document written by a freed person, and to be able to hear that person’s voice in the document.
You can discern a lot about the life of your ancestor from the descendants of those formerly enslaved that lived in communities that they established. If you are not fortunate enough to know of living descendants or surviving communities with which to start, search the following resources that mention the locality where your ancestor lived and names of people that lived in those areas.
In Sold on the Courthouse Steps, we discussed three types of sales of enslaved people through the local court system. We suggested that you search through newspapers to discover sheriff sales, equity court sales, and chancery court sales. Here are a few more...
An auction block at a commercial slave market is probably the most common visual that comes to mind when you think of people being separated from families during enslavement. You may be familiar with the sale of enslaved people through private parties, but numerous people were also sold through local courts with the courthouse as their backdrop. How would you find documentation of such cases, and what are examples of situations that would have brought about this end result? One quick way to find clues would be through historical newspapers.
Even though a vital record or a census can help you learn the names of forbears and where they lived, this minimal information is not sufficient enough to tell their story. Delve a little deeper in your search, and you may uncover the sweet finds that help you tell the story of your ancestor’s life.
When you begin researching, one of the first events that you should look to document is the most recent in your ancestor’s life. The most common recent events are death and burial.
In “Where a Death Certificate Can Lead,” we showed how you can use the census and city directories to learn more about the spouse and children of a deceased ancestor. We were able to identify the children of Joseph Barnett from census records, and we used a city directory to locate his daughter, Janie, and her husband. Hopefully, you also submitted the records you were able to find using the death certificate. We will now discuss other details on a death certificate that could make your genealogy come to life.
You can increase the chances of finding more information if you research your ancestor’s descendants to find living family members. You may benefit from what they know. You can use the process outlined in the next few blog posts to find extended family.
In our last post, we began the journey of discovering extended family by searching for Arthur (Atall, Arthol, Athol) Blake and his wife on the 1900 through the 1920 Censuses. We left you with the challenge of finding them on the 1930 and 1940 Censuses. If you...