They Never Moved in the Old Country

Never assume that your ancestors lived for generations in the same place “in the old country.” ¬†Your forebears might have been like one of my families from Thuringen, Germany that moved several times in the generation before they immigrated to the United States, living in at least six villages within a fifteen mile radius of each other during a twenty-year time span.

Another relative moved from village to village in Sweden and worked as a domestic before finally coming to the United States in the 1880s.

And other families stayed put in the same small hamlet for generations.

The key? Being open to the possibility that your relative moved around in the old country, especially when they disappear from the records.