In any jurisdiction, determine how many courts heard cases during the time period your ancestor lived there. There may be one court that hears probate or estate matters, another that hears guardianships, one that hears criminal cases, one that hears equity cases, etc. It can be easy to overlook records if you do not do that. The FamilySearch wiki is one place to start learning about these records, but also reach out to local researchers, genealogical and historical societies for additional information. Questions to ask are: what court heard divorces? what court heard foreclosures? what court settled probate matters? what court heard property disputes? what court heard guardianship matters? and so on. Search NewsBank’s GenealogyBank for your ancestors.
This tip was originally published in 2010. It is still good advice. I have been reading First Generations: Women in Colonial America for the past several days. It has given me some insight into the Colonial experience of women and cause to think about a few things in ways I never have. Is there a history text or sociological study that might expand your knowledge even if it doesn’t directly expand your family tree? Search NewsBank’s GenealogyBank for your ancestors.
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