Some families name children for ancestors. Some do not. In some ethnic groups, names of chidlren can give ideas as to what the names of grandparents MIGHT be. Naming tendencies are CLUES, NOT PROOF.
Monthly Archives: October 2010
Miscellaneous Book at the County Recorder’s Office?
Have you taken a look for your ancestors in the miscellaneous record books at the County Recorder’s Office? Just about anything can be in these books. I’ve found divorce decrees from out of state divorces, copies of medical licenses, and a few other non-typical items in these books. Anyone can pay to have anything recorded–which just means that a “legal” copy has or was made. Soldiers might have recorded their discharge at the local recorder’s office as well.
Start from Scratch
Stuck? Put aside everything you have on an ancestor and “recollect” your information on him. Think carefully about every assumption you have made and every step in your logic and reasoning. Perhaps starting over is what you need to do to get over that brick wall.
Name Not Changed at Marriage
A relative whose maiden name was Mattie Huls married in the 1890s to a man named George Huls. Consequently her last name never changed. Mattie had no descendants and I nearly overlooked her marriage as her last name never changed.
Sometimes it happens.
Deaths from Just Over Two Weeks Ago in the Social Security Death Index
I had forgotten how current the Social Security Death Index is at GenealogyBank.com. My wife’s brother passed away on 10 Oct 2010 and his entry is already in the index. Others are not updated quite so quickly. So if there’s a death you know happened fairly recently, you might want to check Genealogybank’s version of the SSDI. Others are not updated quite as quickly.
The Social Security Death Index can be searched for free at GenealogyBank.com.
The reason the Index is updated so quickly is that banks and other institutions use it as a means to catch people using Social Security numbers of recently deceased people.
Is It a Coincidence?
When I was stuck on my Ira Sargent, there were two families I focused on. I was “certain” he fit into one of them. Both families had several members named Ira–there had to be one that was “missing.” They had the same general migration pattern, the age was consistent, etc. etc.
Turns out my Ira didn’t belong to either one. And that his family really didn’t live where he settled at all. The “other” families may be related, but it is so distant as to not really be relevant.
Sometimes similar names and places are coincidences. Just keep that in mind.
Leave the Kids Behind?
If your ancestors moved several times, did they leave some children behind, either because the children married or because they died? One ancestor who moved from Michign to Iowa to Missouri left grown children in Michigan and Iowa, not to mention the children who were with him in Missouri.
Remember that the entire family might not have moved with the ancestor. Children who were “of age” might very well have stayed behind.
Have You Overlooked an Alternate Spelling?
Is it possible you’ve overlooked an alternate spelling of a last name? A relative’s mother’s name was listed in all documents as Morris. Her Social Security Application listed the last name as Morse. Just one that for some strange reason had not crossed my mind. It happens to all of us.
Was it Really Their Name?
My great-great-grandmother was Nancy Jane Newman. She was born in 1846 in Indiana to Baptist parents, so there’s no birth or christening record. Her life is well-documented (there’s no missing years, etc.) and every document shows her as Nancy or Nancy Jane. A lady told me that Nancy was ALWAYS the nickname for Ann and that her REAL name WAS Ann and not Nancy. There’s two tips today in this: (1) sometimes “nicknames” are not nicknames, and (2) don’t listen to anyone who insists that something ALWAYS means something. There are exceptions to everything.
Would an SS5 Form Help?
Death certificates are a wonderful source, but usually the decedent does not provide the information. Is there another form or record where the deceased would have provided the information? One such source in the United States (for recent enough individuals) is the SS5 form–Application for a Social Security Number. The current charge is $27, but in some situations, knowing who the person actually listed as their parents may be helpful. A copy of an SS5 form from 1943 is here.