April 2013

Have you ever had a relative who was a widow, and she cannot be found in the census following her husband’s death?

One possible reason for this is that she may have remarried after her “first” husband died.  So, check for a marriage record for the widow.  Keep in mind that she may have used her maiden name for her “last” name when she remarried.

Another possible reason for this is that she may have used her maiden or “first” last name in the next census.  The reason for saying either her “first” name is that if she was married previous to her late husband, she may have used her other “first” husband’s last name in the next census!

I have seen “maiden” names, “previous marriage” last names, and “new husband” last names in the next census!


Have you ever asked the above question of one of your relatives?  I know that I have!

A number of years ago, I had been diligently searching for the death certificate of a woman.  I knew she had lived in Florida, and she was buried in Florida.  However, no death certificate could be found.

My client did not have any additional information on her death.

So, I began looking for her death certificate in the places where her children and grandchildren had been living about the time of her death – this date was from her gravestone.  And, a discovery was made!  She had died while visiting a grandson!   And, he lived in Kentucky!

When I went to the county in Kentucky where she died, there was her death certificate, just waiting to be discovered!

So, if a record cannot be found where you know the person lived, check the residences of the children and grandchildren.  You may find the record there!


Have you found this website?  I have, and am so glad that I have!

This website features the Arphax Publishing Company maps that we all find so useful in placing our ancestors.

At this site, one can look at a variety of maps.  The site has state maps, county maps, township maps, land patents maps, road maps, and waterway and rail maps.

I find that this is a good supplement site when looking that the Bureau of Land Management patents.  Much more information about each patent is found at HistoryGeo.com.

Take a look at it!  historygeo.com.


Ever wonder why a will or probate record cannot be located for your ancestor?

If your ancestor died at a late age, it could be that all of his property had already been given to those whom he wanted to have it.

I have an ancestor who I know died in a certain county in New York.  However, no will or probate has been found.  Looking at the previous census record, he was listed in the family of his daughter and son-in-law.  And, the year after his death, in the next census, his daughter and son-in-law are listed owning their property – worth more than the previous census.  It could be that my ancestor had already given his property to his daughter, so there was no need for a will.

Something to think about!


It is very important to clearly identify the location of an event in an ancestor’s life.

When doing so, make sure that the location is identified as it would have been at the time of the event.  Over time, town names have changed, as well as county lines.

Have you ever searched for a town name, and that name not be identifiable by a search engine?  So far, I have not had this happen.  However, I have had a hit on an “extinct” name, and the website has specified the “new” name of the town.  This has helped greatly on identifying exactly where the now-extinct named town was located.

Another potential problem is the county name.  As new counties were formed, locations “changed counties” because of new lines being drawn.  Make sure, when you identify the county, that the county name used is the county name at the time of the record.  That “old” county is where the county records will be found!


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