December 2013

I wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year!



Epidemics have happened throughout time. And, our ancestors may have died during these terrible times.

If you are unable to “find” a relative from one census to the next, look at the history of their place of residence – was there a medical reason for the relative no longer being in the census? If you can’t find the father/mother, try searching for the children. It could be that one or both of the parents died, so the children would be in the census living in other households.


I am taking the day off from writing my blog. Instead, I am celebrating Christmas.


Newspapers. They have current news, and also maybe past news.

It could be that the newspaper for your ancestor’s place of residence has a “Remember When…” area. Here, an event may be recalled from earlier days. And, if you are lucky, your ancestor will be mentioned.

So, don’t just look for obituaries and marriages – look through the entire paper!


While researching and searching through will and estate settlement books, have you ever encountered the Estate Inventory? If you are lucky, there has been one.

In the inventory, items are usually listed as what was sold, the price, and the purchaser. Look at these inventories closely. If you see the same last name as your ancestor, the person may be a relative. Or, if you know the maiden name of your ancestor, and the purchaser has this last name, they could be her relative. And, the list goes on. Do you see any last names of the children’s spouses? What about brothers or sisters of the deceased?


Once again, I have been sifting through copies which I made about 10 years ago. And, what I have discovered is that the paper copy image is fading. Most of the copies were printed on my home printer, but some were made on copy machines at the library or courthouse. It doesn’t seem to matter – the image is fading.

I am so glad that when I made a copy of an important family photo or document, I also saved it digitally on my computer, on my external hard drive, and a CD. So, now even though I have fading images, I can make new ones from my digital copy.

Something to think about.


When visiting a courthouse, make sure that you are polite.

Every courthouse is different as far as their rules for accessing records. I have been in some that I have just walked in, looked at records, scanned with my FlipPal, and walked out – never speaking to anyone working (nor seeing anyone). And, I have been in some courthouses where the records are only accessible through a window – I looked in an index in a separate room (that was all that was there – indexes), and took the information to a bullet-proof window. The person behind the window accessed the record and made a copy. I never “saw” the actual record – just the copy.

So, be polite. In the second instance mentioned above, the person was polite back to me as well. (This made the seemingly difficult situation much easier to handle.)


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