Did You Try This Approach to Find an Ancestor?

Some things can be very simple once it dawns on you there may be another approach to finding a specific ancestor. Several of these you may have tried, but it only takes ONE to open the door to a mystery ancestor.

First, not everyone stayed forever in their hometown even if the rest of their family did. Many individuals set out on their own to a neighboring county, a distant territory or state, sometimes to start a new life. Be open to the fact an ancestor may have moved to a totally different location — Alaska, Mid-West, Florida, Texas, Pacific West or even to a foreign country.

Whenever possible with a search use as the keyword the ancestor’s occupation (barber, blacksmith, dentist, watchmaker, etc). True, many of our ancestors were farmers or laborers. but if they did have a skill, try searching that way in a specific area. you may have missed them before due to a major misspelling.

In locating someone, use a variety of names. That includes searching their middle given name with the surname. Or try as a surname the person’s mother’s maiden name.

Look up the church records in a family hometown. Try also all the church denominations in a community. Even if the family was Baptist, the missing ancestor may have been Methodist.

Study any old maps available of the family hometown or county. There might be a business listed or a street name for the person you are looking for.

Contact a home county’s Museum. Many such facilities carry records, photos, city directories, etc. on its citizens.

Check frequently the Rootsweb Message Board site. You can read what others have posted but better to post your own question on a specific ancestor. Search by surname, states, counties, occupations, military service, indentured servants, etc. You never know what could be provided by a stranger.

Photos: 1900 Jim Haly’s Roadhouse in Alaska; 1900 Barbers; Search records and Rootsweb Message Board.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Check-Off List

Finding Family Ephemera

Family History in a Museum

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