Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caught Up In the Research

Do you ever get on a roll in doing family history research and you can hardly make yourself stop long enough to take a breath, or eat, or sleep? That has been me the past couple of weeks, but Sunday night was the most challenging yet. So here is a walkthrough of what happened in the research for a client project.

The spouse asked for me to research the family as an anniversary gift in August. With limited time before the anniversary the work was concentrated on the mother for whom we had the most information. For her direct line ancestors information was found going back six generations. The individuals showing on the pedigree chart were located in all pertinent census records and almost all of their burial information was located on through the fourth generation. The marriage records for each couple were located on the Missouri Digital Archives website, as well as most of the death certificates. Information was also found for six of the nine couples in the fifth generation, with birthplace information indicated for all eight couples.

This research yielded fifty-one census documents, nine marriage records, fourteen death certificates, two family trees, two family trees, and some information from There are twelve Civil War documents, one WWI registration card, and one military headstone record. Of the fourth generation grandfathers, three are noted to have fought in the Civil War, two for the Union and one for the Confederates. Other finds include one land record and one prison record. The prison record has been ordered and should be here soon.

Following the review of work done on the mother's ancestors the family provided some documents to help resolve questions about the father's information. The family knew very little about the father and he was really the focus for the research. Their documents included two birth certificates, a birth registration, an envelope with the address of the parents and some family information compiled through interviews of relatives. The family ordered the birth certificate of their father, the son of the man we are researching. When it was returned it unfortunately was a recently typed certified copy and we may have to pursue a copy of the original.

The third phase began on Sunday and it is still hard to believe the serendipity moments experienced in that and the following days. For the father's direct line ancestors information was found going back five generations. Finding the father's death certificate was the first great moment. Having an uncommon middle name helps to distinguish him from others of the same first and last name. While some information was questionable, it appeared to be a great match. The address listed was very close to the one on the envelope from the family. From there the search was on for possible parents. The first family was not a good fit, so after spending some time on them, the research presented a more appropriate match. Following this family generated twenty-five census documents, one marriage record, four death certificates, another family tree and two family trees. There was another WWI draft registration card, a land record, and a ship passenger record.

The real discovery came with a family tree showing a very good connection with the family. In thoroughly reading through the file two great sources were shared. The most important source was a book written about the family in 1956. Going to it was found that the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a copy and it is available in digital format. This is a most remarkable book, produced by a family historian. All 262 pages relate to the particular family being researched. There in the middle of the book are listed these very parents, noting their children and siblings, with dates and places that were known to the author. They were unable to locate the person we are working on, but knew they had been married four times and listed the names of the spouses.

The client was emailed with the pertinent information about this book and encouraged to download it, print a copy and enjoy their family history. There may be mistakes in the book, but with the prior research most of the information appears to be accurate. How easy it would have been to overlook this publication and yet it is crucial to understanding this family. Much more is shared about how this family settled in America and moved across this country. Even on there are some fantastic stories shared. Now these records and information need to be compiled into an easy to use format for this family to have and enjoy. Interestingly, on, one family who the census indicated the mother had thirteen children, showed only eight children under one part of the family and under another part of the family showed only the other five children.

Time for me stop writing and get back to work writing a report on this project. It is an honor to work with families in discovering their heritage. What will the prison record tell us? Possibly it is someone else, but if not it will be part of the story. There are sure to be more land and military records as we look into other records. Then there are newspapers to explore. How far will the client be willing to go in this pursuit? They did agree for me to use the material in my writing, teaching and applying for accreditation. It is the serendipitiy that propels me on in this research.

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