23 April 2008

I Think That I Have Found My Ellusive Ancestor!

So, you found someone with the right name, in the right time period, in approximately the right area, this must be, absolutely has to be the missing ancestor. Not so fast! You must marry or bury this individual to determine if it is really your ancestor.

Hunt through the records. Check church records, civil records, census records and anything else available to you. Find this person. Did he/she stay in this village? Did he/she leave the village to work else where? Can you find enough information to support your theory concerning relationship? Who were their neighbors in census records or land records? Is a member of the extended family living in the household during a census enumeration?

If you cannot find them in the village of birth, how can you be certain that you have the right person? Did they name their children after other members of the family? Is the occupation the same as the father's occupation? Did they take their children back home to be christened? Were they buried in their home town? Is this person named in a will or a land transaction? How about pension applications?

It takes a lot of work to reasonably prove a relationship for a difficult research problem. Sometimes we have to admit defeat and move on to another family or individual. Just don't give up to quickly--search all available records. And remember to find sufficient evidence to support your claim before you celebrate your success.

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