Every few weeks take a look at what is on FamilySearch http://www.familysearch.org. New information is being added on a regular basis. We are talking about indexes to actual records and images of actual records here, not compiled genealogies and submitted “trees.”
Is it possible that some of your ancestor’s children were sent to live with neighbors or strangers? That may explain why you cannot find them as children in a census. Your ancestors might not have been able to take care of all fifteen children, or an older relative without children of their own may have needed some extra help around the house or the farm.
Make certain when you get a copy of a deed or transcribe a land record that you look at where the deed was acknowledged. Those acknowledgements might have been done a distance from where the property was located (and where the deed was recorded). If the sellers have moved or are heirs who never lived in the area, those acknowledgements may give a clue as to where they were living at the time the deed was executed.
If you are travelling a distance to do research, , do more than just make certain the records office will be open when you are planning to arrive. Find out if there are any days to “avoid” using the facility. Some small courthouses have court on certain days of the week only–these are days to avoid. If you arrive when offices are being remodeled, accessing things may be difficult.
And you may be told to wait to come until “Gertrude comes back from vacation. She knows where everything is.”
It’s not always possible to schedule a visit perfectly, but sometimes you can maximize the chances you have the best research experience possible.
In answer to several questions, here is a summary of our freebies:
- Michael’s article “Brick Walls from A to Z”–email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2 Free issues of Casefile Clues–,my weekly newsletter–email your request to email@example.com
- 1 Free Issue of Casefile Clues for Beginners—our bi-monthly newsletter–email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t assume your ancestor moved infrequently. Some people did move rarely and others moved every few years. It might have just been your ancestor’s wanderlust that kept him or her moving constantly. Or it could have been the local law, too.
Seriously–a relative of mine whose Civil War pension file I have appears to have moved at least a dozen times between 1850 and 1890. And she very well could have moved a few more that simply were not documented in the file.
If you’d like to receive a sample copy of Casefile Clues for Beginners–email me at email@example.com.
I just assumed that a genealogist I had known for ages had correctly transcribed a date from a Virginia land record correctly. When I reviewed the record myself the date had been transcribed 10 years incorrectly. In this case, the year made a difference as it was used in part of an estimate of someone’s year of death.
We can all easily make mistakes. It pays to check–your own work as well as someone else’s. Sometimes mistakes are minor and sometimes they are not.
Remember that the only parent who has to be present at the birth of a child is the mother. The dad had to be around earlier, but could easily have been dead or moved on by the time the child was born.
Never assume that your relative was too insignificant to have been effected by historical events. A step-ancestor who was a native of Canada, decided that the American Civil War was the prime time to leave the state of Missouri and return to his native country.
He just went “poof” and the Civil War was the reason why.