September 2016

Your ancestor may have had more than one obituary.

If you find the obituary in one newspaper, look in other papers in the same area.  There may be an ethnic newspaper that will print a slightly different version of the death.  Or, there may be a “Democrat” and a “Republican” newspaper in the town – there may be different versions in each of the papers.




Some “country” cemeteries are on private property.

One should always get permission from the landowner before visiting the cemetery.  One never knows whether or not the property owner wants you on his property.



Having a difficult time finding your ancestor’s gravestone?

It could be that there is no stone.  It could be that no one ever erected a stone.  Or, it could be that the stone erected has deteriorated.

And, have you found a stone for your ancestor that does not have a death date listed on the stone?  It could be that your ancestor is buried in this place. Or, maybe not. It could be that your ancestor had the stone erected when his/her spouse died – thus no death date for the “living” person.  And, the “living” ancestor may have been buried someplace else.



If you find your ancestor “Out West”, and then lose the relative, it could be that he/she returned to their previous home.

Don’t assume that your ancestors stayed in the West after moving there!


Deeds can be a gold mine of information.  And, they can be the opposite.

I have found deeds that mention family names and relationships – a gold mine of information.  And, I have found deeds that tell me very little about the family.

However, this does not mean that I don’t research deeds.

As with all research, one never knows what may be found in a record.  It is always “worth it” to look at the record.


In some city directories, there is a directory that contains residents by address – not by last name of the resident.

If you are wondering where your ancestor resided in-between the census years, determine whether or not a city directory is available for your ancestor’s place of residence.  It could be that you will be able to determine whether or not your ancestor was residing in the same-place as the previous census.



In the early census years, relationship was not a question that was asked of the head of the family.

Do not assume, with the head being a male, that the first female listed is his wife. She may be a sister of the male head.  And, the children listed may or may not be the children of the male head.