One of the family history items you spend a good deal of time is the family name (surname). It is surprising how many people over the decades have the same surname, even those unusual ones. Many of those people may be direct lineage, others extended family branches and a few not related at all.
One of our family names was ‘Musselman’ and the family legend was that it was the same Musselmans who start the applesauce and apple butter company. Checking with the company today, they had no idea of its origin. So I began researching and comparing with my own family Musselman ancestors. I did manage to get the Musselman lineage, those who start the apple company, all the way back to early 1700s. No where was there a match or link with my Musselman heritage. So there is a case with the same surname but no link.
So use the Rootsweb database to search for possible connections with those searching a specific surname in a certain location and time frame. Use the simple boxes, fill in what you can, again keep it simple and see the list of possible matches. Using the surname ‘Musselman’ in PA produced 25 listings.
Finding someone in another location researching the same surname in the same hometown might produce some surprising results. Do look over the other surnames that person is also researching, there could be additional tie-ins. Don’t limit yourself to just the state the family mostly lived in, place also earlier locations or countries the family originated from and include other states that branches of the family may have lived.
The person who has submitted the information will use a nickname or initials and their email address is provided. A reminder, some of the email address could be older ones and not in use anymore.
RootsWeb provides this Free database, with some 1,247,139 surnames, created by other family history researchers so they can all share their findings. Take some time to discover a new connection to your family surnames.
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