Monthly Archives: June 2012

Did Uncle Herman Disappear?

If Uncle Herman (or Aunt Hermina) disappears after they reach young adulthood, consider the fact that they might not really have disappeared?

In some families if a child was “not right,” they might have been institutionalized and never mentioned again.

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Do You Have the Only One?

We’ve mentioned this tip before, but it bears repeating.

Is there some document, picture, or record where the only copy in existence is in your possession? Have you scanned, copied, or otherwise reproduced/shared the item in an attempt to preserve it? What would happen if your only copy was destroyed without being reproduced?

No Proofing Required

If you are fortunate enough to find an ancestor’s biography in an old county history, bear in mind that information submitted for these biographies was not fact checked. Usually the person paid to have their biography published in this late 19th and early 20th century books. If your ancestor’s payment was good, so was his biography.

Naming Patterns?

Some families name children according to naming patterns and other families do not. Names being repeated in a family can be clues to connections, but they should be used as clues and not as facts.

And just because other families named the oldest son for the paternal grandfather does not mean that your family did.

Knew Them How Long?

In any form of testimony where someone indicates they have known your ancestor for a specific number of years, determine when your ancestor and this “someone” met. Did they know each other when they lived in a different location? If you can’t find your ancestor in their previous area of residence, search for the “someone.”

Then maybe you will find the ancestor. 

Enumerated Twice in a Census?

Depending on their family and work situation, there is a chance that an ancestor is enumerated more than once in a census. The census was not necessarily always taken “on just one day,” so individuals who moved around the time of the census may have been listed by two enumerators. Individuals who were living in one household and working as domestic help in another may show up in twice–once in each household.