Non-Famous Ancestors Still Important

Everyone loves to locate a famous ancestor or one who lived an exciting life or did a special adventure. However, many of your ancestors led ordinary lives, worked, had a family, etc. Yet, you may have missed some very interesting events surrounding an ancestor’s life in their hometown. An excellent example would have been if either the Union or Confederate Armies during the American Civil War marched through the ancestral hometown. If the town supported the one coming through, the ancestor could have been part of the cheering crowd. If against the Army, your ancestor might have to give up any weapons they owned or lost crops or other possessions.

So how do you find if such events for your ordinary ancestors really did exist?

Locate the hometown or home county newspapers. Using papers to find out what was happening in the town they lived in or what was the news of the day. If you can’t locate a local newspaper, try a county newspaper or even research what was happening in their State or Country at the time they lived. Check with the county local historical society or museum. They can many times be a treasure chest of information not found anywhere else. Remember to research not only the town’s name, the county’s name but especially research the ancestor’s surname.

Look for unusual weather conditions in the home county or town. There could have been a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, or snow storm which would have directly affected your ancestors living there at the time.

In the hometown county, contact the courthouse about any Wills, tax records or land deeds recorded in your ancestor’s name. They may have owned many more acres than you ever imagined. In the Wills, names of friends or family will also be written, providing additional information.

Your family tree is not just names, dates and locations but individuals’ lives and each have a story to tell.

Photos: 1864 photo in Frederick, MD where the citizens were tired of the conflict, especially since the Confederates had informed Frederick’s banks that the town would be torched unless they forked over $200,000 in ransom; 1936 Hartford, CT flood from 2 weeks of rain and 1944 tornado (F5) in Mullinville, Kansas.

Related Blogs:

Locating Family Info

Small Town Newspapers

Study an Ancestral Hometown

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