Early Interactions

Determining where immigrants came from or where any migrant lived previously can sometimes be difficult. The problem is more difficult to solve when these “movers” die young, leave few records, don’t share information with other family members, etc.

While looking at the expanded family/kin network is always advised, for these “movers,” determine all the individuals with whom they interacted when they were new to their new area. Sometimes this can be difficult and requires a tedious search of records.

Who witnessed any of their naturalization documents? Who married them and did that person have any religious affiliation? Who were they living with in early census records? If their children were baptized, who were the sponsors? If they purchased land, who witnessed those land sales? If there was a mortgage, who held the note? Who are their near neighbors in directories or census records?

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the names of these early associates. But think of the possible connections your ancestor had and if any record may specifically state or suggest that relationship.

Those early interactions were frequently with people your ancestor had a connection with or to before he or she moved into the area and tracing your ancestor to an “old residence” might be best done by tracking those people with whom there was an “early interaction.”

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