Was that relative you cannot find an heir to any other relative? If so, have you looked into that relative’s probate or estate file to see if the missing relative is mentioned? A cousin of my great-grandmother disappeared in the 1920s. His brother died without children in the late 1940s without a will. For that brother’s estate to be settled, the missing brother had to be addressed. While the missing brother could not be found, the court record mentioned when the missing brother was last seen; discussed the search attempts made to locate him; and declared him legally dead so the estate could be settled. In that case, the court record did not provide the location I was looking for, but there have been others where “missing” relatives […]
If that one ancestor or family is “giving you fits,” consider taking a break and working on a completely different set of people. Banging your head against a wall is not likely to solve your problem and coming back with a fresh perspective may be what’s needed. And actually getting something done can be motivation as well…even if it is not the project you’ve been working on for some time.
If you are debating what to preserve, focus initially on those items that are unique: memories of family members, photographs, family letters, diaries, and the like. Other items, particularly ones that were published, likely are in other locations. But what’s in someone’s mind or only in your attic or closet is what you should focus on.
Sometimes it can be easy to overlook those relatives who left no descendants of their own. They also have their stories to tell and those stories are just as important as those of relatives who left families of their own. A 1908 horse accident left Mary Trautvetter with her legs broken in three places, a broken arm, and other injuries.  Her sister, Anna, was injured as well–but not as severely. It’s possible that the injuries from the accident impacted Mary for the rest of her life. Mary never married. Her sister Anna (Trautvetter) McMahon died in the 1920s and Mary raised Anna’s daughter who was left orphaned by the death of both her parents. Mary died in 1962 and is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Warsaw, Hancock […]
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