October Genealogy Blog Party: Family History Month Research Tip

October presents a cornucopia of genealogy ideas to share for Elizabeth O’Neal’s October Genealogy Blog Party.

I thought about telling a Halloween story or some such thing, but I guess I am too practical at heart and the teacher in me wants to share a research tip. So that’s what I’m doing!

My tip isn’t anything earth shattering, but it’s one that I think is often pushed aside.

Revisit earlier research to add family details.

That’s it in a nutshell. Why do I go back and take new looks at very old research I’ve done? Not to find mistakes. Not that I don’t make them, but that’s not my purpose for redoing research.

It’s because
there are so many new
record collections coming online.

I started working on the family tree way before the internet was around. Some of my lines include research done by distant cousins without a lot of primary documentation. I also have many early New England lines and many of those families have had good genealogies published as well.

However, new record collections have brought to light many new documents linked to many of the lines in my family tree.

What kinds of discoveries have I made?

  1. Following guardian’s records in court minutes led to the likely maiden name of the child’s deceased mother.
  2. I’ve proved that an ancestor with a common name moved from North Carolina to Kentucky in the 1790s using land deed records.
  3. Court minutes provided the name of a previously unknown son when two sons of a deceased man were co-administrators of an intestate estate and called “sons of . . . . ., deceased.”
  4. Court minutes also provided a narrow time frame for date of death when one estate administrator was replaced by another and described as “previous administrator, now deceased” in a time and place when death records were not kept.
  5. More court minutes proved the exact date of birth of an ancestor born out of wedlock and apprenticed out when he was 12. It also gave the name of his mother, then deceased!
  6. Free digitized birth, marriage and death records have been found on archives websites where “X” number of years have to pass before the record can be made public and the required number of years has now been reached.
  7. Newspapers – Well, we all know that more and more newspapers are being digitized and appearing online every day. Patience is a virtue and my beloved Passaic Herald News finally appeared – on a paid site – but appeared nonetheless and I was more than overjoyed!

I hope these examples will encourage you to step back and take a new look at some of the earliest branches that appear on your family tree. What new tidbits about your ancestors lives are waiting to be discovered?

Finally, the first six discoveries in this list were found on FamilySearch. Since it is Family History Month, it is only fitting that I take time to thank FamilySearch for all its incredible work.

Thank you, FamilySearch!


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