Saturday, August 30, 2014

Collateral Ancestors: Compiled Genealogies, County & Local Histories

Hopefully, you are far enough along on your research to know the names of a few collateral ancestors. Look for family histories on those folks in hopes of finding a mention of your ancestor and a new tidbit of info on them.

The same thing goes with county and local histories. Your ancestor's sibling, grandchild, business partner, etc. may have had his/her bio published in one of these books. There is a chance that your ancestor could receive anything from a brief mention to a detailed biographical sketch with in the article. [It has happened twice with the same ancestor for me!]

Friday, August 29, 2014

Collateral Ancestors: Land Records

Land records can be invaluable to your research. Your ancestor could be mentioned as a neighbor in another's deed or be a witness.

With the early metes and bounds deeds, neighbor's property was frequently mentioned in the property description. Your ancestor could be that neighbor. For the bulk of the states that used the township - range format, you would need to check a plat map from the time period you think your ancestor lived in a given county. Families tended to travel in groups. Oftentimes neighbors did the same. If you find a relative or neighbor, your ancestor could be close by. Also check the deeds. Your ancestor may have purchased a tract of land from a relative or neighbor.

When checking for a name in the deed indexes, be aware that a deed may have been recorded 5-20 years after the transaction. If you are looking for a deed from 1770, it may not have been recorded until 1784.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Collateral Ancestors: Probate

Probate files: Wills, inventories and probate files can be a big help. The maiden name [or married name, for that matter] of your ancestor might turn up. Relationships could be established. Your ancestor could be a witness to a will, or administrator or executor to an estate of a sibling, cousin or in-law. He or she might also turn up in the inventory of the estate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Collateral Ancestors: Vital Recods

Not all census searches are going to work out as well as those for my imaginary Wesley and Roth families. In that case you go for the other record groups.

Vital records: Check to see when each state you are researching started keeping birth, marriage & death records. Also check to see if individual counties & towns kept vital records. New England colonies kept vital records from the early days forward. Of course, there may have been records destroyed by courthouse fires, floods, etc. & during warfare. Hope your family's records survived! Don't forget to check church records for the vital records.

On more than one occasion, I have found a birth record that name's an ancestor's father. It is the sibling who has the mother's name included. Check witnesses to baptisms. Chances are they are family.

When I was trying to locate a marriage for Jacob Crousore in Clinton Co., OH, I called the county archives & learned that his bride's brother was named on the record. [Jimima Smith & brother John]
Later, I checked John Smith's marriage; that record gave his father's name - William Smith. A check of a collateral [brother] turns up a parent's name that was not given on the direct ancestor's record.

Death records? Your ancestor's informant may have been lacking in knowledge about the family & not known the parents. The informant for your ancestor's sister may have given the parents.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Collateral Ancestors: Census Search II

OK, first off the answer to yesterday's question: A record group for the early 1860s in the US?  
                                                                   CIVIL WAR!!
Check Fold3 for Thomas Wesley in the Civil War records. You locate a Pension File Index Card! Thomas served in an Ohio Infantry regiment and received an invalid pension. [You now know he was wounded, injured or became seriously ill as a result of his military service.] Do one of two things - send to the National Archives [NARA] for the COMPLETE pension file AND Thomas' service record file or find a professional genealogist in the DC area to copy the files for you.
While you are waiting for the pension material, return to the census, this time 1880. Two crucial new features: relationship to head of family, birthplace of parents.

Greenfield, Hancock Co., IN:
Thomas Wesley: head - 51 - m - OH - MD - PA - carpenter
Annie                : wife - 49 - m - OH - PA - PA - keeping house
Albert                : son - 26 - s -    OH - OH - OH - laborer
Mary                 : dau - 19 - s -    OH     "       "    - at home
Evan                  : son - 14 - s -    IN      "      "    - at school
Catherine           : dau -  9 - s -    IN      "      "    - at school
Laura King        : dau - 23 - wd- OH    "      "    - seamstress
Nancy King       : grd -  2 - s -    IN - KY - OH - at home

New info: A daughter Catherine, born about 1871 & Laura has married & has a daughter, Nancy, aged 2. Laura is also widowed! Missing: Sally & Thomas Jr.

Double-check the neighbors! Thomas Wesley Jr., wife Ella & two children [Evan - 4 & Laura - 2] are on the same page. There is a Sarah Weber [31 OH, OH, OH], with husband Carl Weber [34 IN, GER, GER] & children: Axel [6], Maria [4] & Wesley [1]. She is a really good candidate for daughter "Sally."

Move ahead to 1900, in the same location. [Remember the 1880 census was destroyed for most of the country.] You turn up the following new information.
Thomas Wesley Jr. - head - b. Feb 1852 [48] m26 - sawyer
Ella                           wife -  b. Mar 1853 [47] m26 4 children/4 living
Evan                         son -    b. Apr 1876 [24] m1 - laborer
Susan                        dil -     b. May 1879 [21] m1 1 child/ 1 living
Jane                           gd       b. Oct 1899 [8/12] s
Laura                        dau      b. Jun 1876 [24] s       school teacher
Thomas Wesley Sr. father   b. Nov 1829 [70] wd  carpenter
Laura Fisher             sis       b. Dec 1857 [42] wd  seamstress
Nancy King             niece    b. Jan 1878 [22] s      dressmaker
Robert Fisher Jr.     neph     b. Jul 1885 [15] s      at school

New info: Nancy died between 1880 & 1900. Evan married & started a family. Laura remarried, had a son & was widowed again. In all likelihood, she married Robert Fisher Sr.

The 1910 census does not include Thomas Wesley Sr. Thomas Jr. is still in Hancock Co., as is much of the rest of the family. Chances are Thomas Sr. has died.

While you are enjoying Thomas Wesley's Civil War records, which will answer many questions, search for vital records in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland & Pennsylvania.  [Kentucky & Germany if you are working on Sally's family.] Check for land records in Ohio & Indiana. You will want to check for probate files as well. Don't forget cemetery records & compiled genealogies either.

I'll let you finish off the Wesley and Roth families on your own!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Researching Collateral Ancestors

Well, I've neglected the postings again! No excuses, just haven't gotten around to it for close to three weeks.

One of my presentations covers researching collateral ancestors. It is crucial that you follow-up on your direct line ancestors' siblings, aunts, uncles and other relations during your research. You might want to look at some of the neighbors as well.

Direct-line only research can leave some sizable holes in the pedigree chart and the family story. Let's look at an example:

You have information that Thomas Wesley and his wife Ann had seven children, 3 boys and 4 girls.
Thomas was born about 1830 in Clinton Co., Ohio; parents unknown. Your first "good shot" with census records is 1850. Without the father's name, 1840 is going to be guess work - unless there's only one Wesley in the US. You are looking for a Thomas Wesley, about 20 years old and born in Ohio.

Eureka! In the 1850 census for Clinton Co., OH, you find a Thomas Wesley, aged 21, born in Ohio.
He is married to a woman named Nancy, aged 18, born in Ohio, and they have a daughter named Sally, aged 1, born in Ohio. Your Thomas' wife was named Ann. Ann is a nickname for Nancy, so you have a good match.

What next? Check a few pages ahead and back of where you found Thomas. Copy the info for any Wesleys, Westleys, Wesslees, etc. that you find. Also look for nearby fits for Ann/Nancy's family.
Say the family listed ahead of Thomas and Nancy is that of Albert Roth [42, PA], Sarah [40, PA], Albert Jr. [21, PA], Margaret [16, OH], Emma [13, OH] and Eldon [10, OH]. Could be a fit; Sarah and Sally flip-flop frequently. Put that on hold until some evidence for a fit appears.

Move ahead to 1860: You find in Highland Co., OH: Thomas [31, OH], Annie [29, OH], Sarah [11, OH], Thomas Jr. [8, OH], Albie [6, OH], Laura [3, OH], Sarah Roth[50, PA]. Any good clues? Annie = Ann. Albie? Could be Albert! Sarah Ross? Bingo! [It normally isn't this easy, but.... Oh, you double-check those other 1850 Wesleys and discover an Evan Westley [43, MD], with Laura [42, PA], James [18, OH], Gwen [14, OH], Alice [10, OH], and Matthew [7, OH]. Candidates for Thomas' family? Thomas named a daughter Laura, could be a keeper!

You find the Wesleys in Hancock Co., IN in 1870. Same basic family, still with Nancy's mother, but with two more children: Mary [9, OH] and Evan [4, IN]. Learn anything? Evan with a big sister named Laura? That Westley family looks like a pretty good fit!

OK, here's what you think you have:
Thomas Wesley [b. c1829, OH] married c1847 OH to Nancy Roth [b. c1831 OH]
Thomas' parents: Evan Wesley [b. c1807 MD] m. before 1829 to Laura ________ [b. c1808 PA]
Nancy's parents: Albert Roth [b. 1808 PA] m. c1828 PA to Sarah _______ [b. c1810 PA]
You also have siblings for both Thomas and Nancy. Then there are records for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio to check, with Indiana just around the corner. The family arrived there between 1862 and 1865. Any other records you might look at between 1862 and 1865? Answer tomorrow!     [I hope!]

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Speechifying on Saturday

I will be giving a presentation at the Wayne Twp. Branch of the IMCPL for the Genealogy Society of Marion Co. on Saturday, August 9th [monthly meeting - 1:00-3:00].

Here's the synopsis:

       San Juan Hill, A Mayflower Connection, a Ship Lost at Sea and other bits of family lore: Family stories and tidbits from other researchers spun some interesting tales. The trick was to find out if they were truth, fabrications or a combination of the two. This presentation discusses various approaches to proving and disproving family lore.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back after loooong layoff...genealogy stuff

I hadn't realized how long I'd been neglecting the blog! Wow! Two weeks? Throw in a Brickyard Race weekend, a road trip to Nappanee and Shipshewana for a craft festival and the Midwestern Roots Conference in Indy. I'm pooped!

The conference offered up some nice tidbits. I'll get into those a little more once I get a chance to go over the handouts to organize my thoughts.

Hope the timeline exercise has caught on with a few of you. I'm looking forward to digging through the "new" info on a few families after I get the girlfriend's genealogy updated.

For those of you interested in a week of learning in Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Institute still has several openings in four tracks. The other 8 are booked!