May 2014

When looking for a death certificate, keep in mind that the death certificate is recorded in the place where they died. Their probate or will will usually be recorded where the bulk of the estate is locate. The burial may be somewhere else – may not be where the ancestor was living at their death.


You just know that your ancestor owned property when he died, so where is the probate record?

It could be that he sold the land before he died. Many, knowing that death was coming and not wanting a battle amongst the family, sold their land before they died. Thus, avoiding a fight and needing no probate record. So, check the deed transfers!


Do you know the church that your ancestor attended? If you aren’t sure, an obituary may mention the church. Also, a funeral home record may give this information.

What do you do with the information once you have it?

Are there records available for the church for the time period in which your ancestor lived? Even if the records begin a little after the life of your ancestor, don’t let that keep you from looking through the records. It could be that someone set up a memorial for your ancestor – a money-type fund, or a window!

Church records are priceless!


Have you searched the newspapers for your ancestor?

You may have searched for news in the town from which your ancestor came. However, what about the newspapers from which their children or parents came? Or, the newspapers years later after your ancestor relocated?

I have found obituaries for ancestors in the towns of their children – the child wanted others to know about their loss, so a copy of the obit was in their local paper. And, I have found ancestors mentioned in their past local paper – they still had friends in their old locality, so their news would have been important to those friends!

I even found articles in the old local paper of my ancestor because she still wrote an article for the paper – 20 years after she left the town!


You have probably checked military records for your ancestor. Don’t forget the “smaller” wars!

I have an ancestor that lived during the Indiana Wars in Arizona. He was not actually fighting in the war. However, he was buried at the Fort Grant. He was inside the fort during one of the raids, and was killed and buried in the cemetery there.

So, just because he didn’t actually fight in the war, don’t think that your ancestor didn’t have anything to do with it!


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