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Kindred Spirits



Have you thought about the concept that you — a descendant — may be very much like an ancestor – one you never meet or knew?? As you do the research on the family tree including the branches, such as great aunts and uncles, you just might strike a cord or a ‘Kindred Spirit’ with one or two of those ancestors. You might find so much in common, between physical characteristics but also personality, hobbies, occupations, attitudes, etc. it can make you wish that person was here for you to talk to.

Oh yes, the DNA is a major factor, but also places a person was raised, family values, beliefs, etc., are important. So you should really make an effort to gather as much as possible on that ancestor. Besides the basics of BMD, hometowns, occupation, home, church, children, etc., really investigate if there were any letters, journals, diaries, artifacts, postcards, keepsakes or photos surviving. Check with all available cousins, aunts, uncles, parents to see what can be turned up, just concentrating on that single individual.

Go or write to that person’s county courthouse, see what is available — deeds, Wills, certificates, property or military records. Review what is available at the state level in their achieves, you never know. Contact the home county historical museum, many keep files on citizens of the county. There is also the local city or county public library which most keep information on citizens. Review city directories. Offer to pay any fees for materials received, they are a treasure.

Of course, get an online newspaper subscription for vintage papers from the county the ancestor is from. Use the search box and place every form of that person’s name, home street, businesses, church, school you can think of. Using the data in each census will help in knowing what to search, such as occupation.

In a way it will be like looking up about yourself because you will discover more on that ancestor when you make a concentrated search. The two I have done and had great success, Capt. Joseph Groff of Frederick, MD (my gr gr grandfather) and Savilla Sherman Musselman of Manchester, MD (my gr gr grandmother), both I feel to be my kindred spirits. I put in the effort and time and got great results. You can also.

Photos: Joseph Groff in 1890 and Savilla S. Musselman in 1869.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Creating an Ancestor’s Profile

Family History Success

Why Work on the Family Tree?

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