In some countries and some time periods, last names were not fixed and did not pass directly from father (or mother) to children. Children might be given a last name that was based upon their father’s first name (a practice called patronymics). Heads of household may take a name that is associated with the farm they settle on.
Learn about how last names were created, used, and passed on in the area where your relative lived. It may cut down on some confusion.
L. U. Albers moved from New Mexico to Illinois sometime between 1910 and 1920. A classified ad for lilacs in the Albuquerque Journal of 9 May 1913 helped me to pinpoint his move a little more closely. Classified ads may tell you more than what your ancestor had to sell.
This item was obtained on GenealogyBank.
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Did your relative’s land transaction appear in the local newspaper? In counties with burned records newspaper mentions of deeds can help to document transactions. These references can also be helpful in other situations as well.
You can search Newspaper Archive (our sponsor) for your own ancestors.
Newspapers can get a variety of things wrong. Searches should be creative. The woman who died near Golden, Adams County, Illinois, in 1892 was actually Mrs. Ehme M. Aden–not Mrs. Elmer Aden. And of course this reference to her does not even include her actual first name–which was Reenste.
There are some names that are used for towns in several different states. Is it possible that an informant on a record got the town right but the state wrong?
Locations can create all kinds of problems for genealogists. For this reason it is necessary to be as precise as possible. Some locations are logical.
For example, Knoxville, Illinois, is in Knox County, Illinois.
But this is not always the case.
Des Moines, Iowa, is in Polk County, not in Des Moines County, Iowa.
Keokuk, Iowa, is not located in Keokuk County, Iowa.
And remember there are townships as well which may or may not add to the confusion. Hancock County, Illinois, has a Webster Cemetery and a village of Webster. Webster cemetery is not located near the village of Webster.
Provide as much detail as possible when listing locations in your genealogical database. Personally I always use the word “county” in a location. It reduces confusion.
Federal censuses in the United States were taken in years ending in a “0” beginning in 1790. A variety of states have taken states in non-federal census years. Most of these records have been microfilmed (perhaps online at FamilySearch for free or Ancestry.com for subscribers) or are available at state archives or libraries.
Not all United States states took a state census.
My trip to Salt Lake in May/June 2017 is half full. We spend an entire week in Salt Lake–researching at the Family History Library, analyzing findings, and deciding where to go next.
Our “social” time is minimal as we know people are there to research. For additional details on the trip, visit our complete post.
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My membership to American Ancestors is one of my annual Christmas presents. There’s a few books on my list, but that’s about it. There’s a few ancestors I’d like to find, but that’s hard to put on a list for someone actually get and wrap.
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