Maybe There was no Close Kin

An excellent suggestion when the genealogist is stuck is to check the associates of your ancestor for clues as to where the actual ancestor was from. The theory is that often these associates are relatives, extended family by marriage, or former neighbors of your ancestor. Many times it works.

But sometimes it does not. Because there are people who simply settle near where they have no relatives and where they know no one. My great-great-grandparents shortly before 1880 moved to a county where they had no relatives (their families of origin are fairly well-documented). When the mother died, the two children were farmed out to strangers to raise them.

Many times people “ended up where they knew someone” and the extended family/kin network approach can help to determine family origin information. But also keep in mind that some families, for one reason or another, moved where they had no connection.

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