Though my posts have been a little sparse in the last month or so, I’ve still done quite a bit of research. I’m attempting to clean up my family file – gather death and marriage dates and add source documentation to items I’ve found.
Luckily, I am able to access the Census records on Heritage Quest from home through my library’s database. Between that and the databases on Family Search I’ve been able to gather many more bits of information and sources.
My steps include:
- Finding an ancestral family (let’s use my 2nd great-grandfather, Florus Allen House as an example).
- I check to see what census records I have for him and make sure all are sourced correctly which includes the date census was taken, series, roll, page, dwelling and family numbers, and all information pertaining to the household.
- Then I check surrounding households to see if any relatives are nearby.
- If I find that I’m missing a census record, I re-check the databases using wildcards, just the first name, different surname spellings, etc. to see if I can locate the record.
- I check to make sure that ages match up for children or if there is an in-law, grandchild or other relative also living in the household.
- From there I move on to the children in the household and begin looking for them in census records after they have moved out of the family home. I use the same type of searches as I did above.
The information this yields has documented marriages, children of the marriage, birth months and years, approximate length of marriage and the number of marriages a person has had.
For my ancestors living in Ohio, I’ve been able to look at the Ohio Deaths on Family Search and have been able to gather death dates, whether married, cause of death, location of death and usual residence, birth dates, parents’ names, and occupation. Sometimes the informant has been a family member which helps document that. All of that information combined with other sources has been able to provide better documentation.
I’ve also discovered while doing my clean up that information I found through other means or from another person, hasn’t been accurate. For one child of my 2nd great-grandfather, I had found a record (not sourced) that gives a marriage date – 20 years after this person had allegedly died. I’ve not found any documents to support the death or the marriage – so on the “notes” section of my family file I list what documents support that this person was a child in the family (census records), and where I found the other information but that it is not proven yet. In other words a big question mark!
I’ve also found similarly named individuals in the census records that I’ve had to check different documents in order to offer proof it is the individual I’m researching or one who belongs to an entirely different family.
This is a slow process but one that has yielded promising results. For me it is akin to working a jigsaw puzzle and checking each piece to see where or if it fits at all. Half the fun is getting there!