Before and After

In any record where you find an ancestor, look at adjacent records and see who appears in those records. Are there any clues in those names or records that could help you learn more about your ancestor?

If it’s a death record, did they die of the same disease? If it’s a marriage record, were other family members (or friends) getting married on the same day? If it’s a naturalization petition, did other immigrants from the same area naturalize at the same time? Who filed land claims on the same day as your ancestor? Who appears next to your ancestor on a list of names that signed a petition? Did someone file three land records on the same date and they are recorded together in the records book?

No one lives in a vacuum.