Before Navigating the Pond

Some researchers are anxious to begin their foreign research as soon as they learn they have an ancestor born in a foreign country. This hasty approach may cause you to look in the wrong place or to lack adequate information to perform your search “across the pond.” Research the ancestor in the area of settlement first, as completely as possible. Doing so may provide more detailed information about his or her origins and may also give you names of potential siblings or relatives who might be easier to track across the ocean.

Complete research in the area of settlement (expanding into known relatives who immigrated as well) generally helps the researcher to pinpoint where “across the pond” they need to research. There are exceptions (my Annie Murphy for example), but complete documentation in the area of settlement helps even if it does not does not lead to an immediate “across the pond” breakthrough.

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