Computer Research: There is a lot of research that can be done online. Most of the records that will be discussed on "See Family Records" can be researched on the free web site, "Family Search" or through a paid subscription through "Ancestry". These web sites are wonderful research tools for the different records discussed below. Links will be provided to sites that deal more directly with the records discussed below. These icons will be used throughout the this web site on different pages and in training videos. Links to the pages and training videos will be provided as they come available for the different records listed .
AGE: One of the main things we look for in records is a person’s age. Knowing a person’s age can help distinguish between two people with the same name and when certain events took place in their life. For example, if a person was born in 1848 and there is a marriage for someone with the same name in 1855, you would be able to tell it was not this person as this person would only be 7 years old. Finding a person’s age or approximate age can often be found on birth
BIRTH: Finding the birth date is the best way to determine the correct age of a person. We also hope to find the birth location for a person. If we find two people with the same name and born the same year, we can often distinguish the difference between them because of birth location. Birth dates are often found on birth and death records. The 1900 US census gives the birth month and year of an individual. Baby announcements in newspapers, military, and church records are often sources for birth dates also. Age can be found in most of the records listed below.
DEATH: Finding a person’s death date gives us a time frame to look for records for this person. Some records about the person are created after their death. If the person had a will, then the probate records are created after the person’s death. Obituaries are also created soon after the person’s death. Social Security death and closing of pension records are created after a person’s death. A tombstone is created after the person’s death and in some cases it is years later.
HEALTH: Some of the census records recorded information about people who were deaf, dumb, blind or idiots. This might be an important area to research for some families with genetic issues in their families. Military records are often a good source for medical history especially if someone applied for a pension. In the application for a pension they had to list their ailments and see a doctor to get a report from him to verify of the health issue.
IMMIGRATION: Finding what country a person came from is often challenging. US census records from 1850 to the most current give a person’s place of birth. The 1870 census has tick marks telling if the parents were foreign born. From 1880 to 1940 gives you the location of the parents birth. The census from 1900-1930 gives the year of immigration and if a person became a naturalized citizen. These records can then help us search for passenger lists and naturalization records that often can give us more information about a person’s country of origin. Many immigrants came through Ellis Island.
Maps: US census records can sometimes give you the street that your ancestor lived on. If they owned the property then you will be able to look for land records to see if they purchased the property or if was deeded to them. A few censuses give the value of the property which gives you an idea of their status in their community. People owned property usually were more permanent residents and will likely have more records in the local area. Records for people who purchased land through the government can be searched on the Bureau of Land Management (BML) web site. Another helpful free site is Historical Atlases and Maps of US and States.
MARRIAGE: Obviously, a marriage record is usually the best source about the date of marriage. If no marriage date can be found then an approximate marriage date can often be figured by subtracting a year from the date of birth of the oldest child. If you find a census record in 1850 and the oldest child is listed as 8 then the parents were likely married about 1841. The 1900 and 1910 census gives the number of years a person has been married. The 1930 census as a person’s age at their first marriage. Marriage information can also be found in church records, newspapers, on tombstones and in military records. A good start to find out if your relative served in the military is looking in some of the US census records which tell if they served in the military.
MILITARY: Military records can give us information about birth, death, marriage. In some records you can learn information about the family. Many military records can be found on line. Fold 3 is a paid web site dedicated to putting military records online. You can also order military records.
NAME: Finding a person’s name is usually the first information we find on a person. Some birth records simple give a date and the gender of the child, but not a name. This is more common when the child died soon after birth. These child reb might not have been given a name. Some census records simply say infant and it takes finding these children in another census or other record to find their name. Many people were referred to by nicknames in the records which makes it challenging to find their actual birth name. Some people had multiple names like Mary in one record, and Polly in another. Some children were called by their middle names so they would not be confused with a parent in which they wee named after.