Finding an Ancestor

Everyone needs some ideas on looking for their ancestors on the family tree. The following a few ideas in approaching each ancestor you are looking for.

Always do a complete investigation using local hometown newspapers of your ancestors’ names. Not just obituaries, but also look at society articles, news topics, club news, advertisements of businesses, etc. Check neighboring counties and even across nearby state borders at newspapers there. There are several online digital newspaper sources including the free ‘Chronicling America‘ from the Library of Congress. Another free one is ‘‘ with nearly 4,000 newspaper titles over many decades. There can be a full treasure of information found in newspapers.

Use various spellings for given names and surnames. Not only have our ancestors varied the spelling of the names over the generations but even official records have many people’s names misspelled. Then there is where families varied themselves the spelling of their surname or even given names. Here is an actual example:

In France in 1700s and early 1800s – Ruch

First written in America — 1840 — Routh

then 1850 — Ruthe

then 1860 — Rough

then 1870 — Rouch (Rouche)

then 1880 and beyond – Rue

If you know a person’s maiden name, search for the missing ancestor using that maiden name, it just might turn something up.

Also, many individuals do not use their given names but rather a nickname. Richard can be ‘Dick’, Margaret can be ‘Beth’. So look that way also. Check under just a middle name, many people just use that middle name solely. Or check using initials of the given names.

When going through a census page for ancestors you have found, keep checking and reviewing names / births of neighbors or other town citizens. The person you are looking for could well be in another location in the town from the rest of the family and to make things worse, their names were misspelled.

Photos: Newspapers, Misspellings and Nicknames.

Related Blogs:

Small Town Newspapers

Collections of Newspapers

Ancestor Not on a Census Record

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