Well, the autosomal DNA test did surprise me. Britsh Isles, check. Scananavian, um I guess. Those Vikings were all over the place a thousand years ago. Central Asian…. um, what? I'm guessing more invasions out of the Steppes into Europe. Somehow I seem to be missing Central European, German and Dutch. That's it. Nothing unaccounted for, other than several regions I know about.
So I finally took a DNA test to see what it might find. The test won't result in a research breakthrough but it could be interesting anyway. I've got enough generations that I'm certain my ancestors are all from the British Isles (England and Ireland mostly), the Rhineland, and The Netherlands. All fairly standard locations for early New England and Mid Atlantic ancestors. But, we'll see.
Okay, maybe not "never", but tax records have a habit of surviving when other records don't. I'm not sure why but if you have run out of census records you should look to the tax office. A tax record won't tell you much about the family but it can shed some light on their financial situation. And keep track of people that moved around.
Researching your family history is a marathon, not a sprint. Start with that assumption and you be less frustrated when your research bumps into the inevitable "brick wall". I started in November 1993 when the local computer software store offered my choice of any application with the purchase of an app. So I chose a genealogy app, just to see what it was about. I don't even remember what app I actually bought, but I was hooked.
Today, there are so many more ways to research online that it's easy to forget how it worked before Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org. It's also easy to think that's the only way to do family research. But, all of the records and ways to search for your ancestors are still available. In fact, there are still many records that are not online.
So, how do you get started?
The 1858 Bradford County, Pennsylvania map from actual surveys from LAKE AMES & DAVISON pages are all online now. A few townships need to be transcribed but the maps are available again and most of the residents are listed.
I started adding the 1858 Bradford County, Pennsylvania map from actual surveys from LAKE AMES & DAVISON pages this week. The website log is showing many people looking for the town/township maps – and lists of residents – from this landowner map. Completed so far: Alba village/borough, Albany Township, Armenia Township, Asylum Township, Athens Borough, and Athens Township. I'm working to transcribe and add redirects from the old page addresses to the new ones as fast as I can. Check the map page to see which communities have been added. I am working alphabetically so please let me know if you need to see a specific town. And, as always, thanks for your patience.
A blind inquiry is any letter or website post to help you find new information about your current research problem. It's "blind" because you don't know the person you're writing to.
Have you ever posted a question online that got no response at all? But another question crushed that 'brick wall' you've been staring at for months or years? Every post is a blind inquiry; a question to strangers to help you add to what you know about your ancestors. In the "old days" a blind inquiry would have been written on paper and sent by the postal service (snail mail). I write more online inquiries today than paper letters, but I do still write letters from time to time. The key to getting help is writing an inqury that (a) gets the reader's attention and (b) interests a reader enough to answer.
I am working to replace all of the pages that used to be here. Had to work out some template issues first though. I now have a "page not found" log so I can see what information people are looking for. So I'll focus on those pages first. Contact me if you are looking for something specific.
What's a "collateral line"? Most genealogy researchers focus on their direct blook line. A collateral line is a different branch; your cousins are collateral from your direct line. The key part is that your line and your cousin's line will eventually meet, making your research and hers the same. Okay, so your cousin is a bad example since you probably know each other already. But what happens back 3 or 4 generations? Can researching your great-grandfather's brothers and sisters help you?
I use Ancestry.com a lot. It is a paid service ($) but well worth the fee – monthly or annual – to get access to so many records worldwide. But I also find FamilySearch.org, a FREE service with lots of records, useful too. There are many other sites with records online but these two sites have the most. Some other resources I use often?
- Cyndi's List is a huge site to help you learn about genealogy research, find where records might be kept, etc.
- Findagrave.com is an extremely useful site for searching cemeteries. It doesn't cotain every grave or even every cemetery but they are working toward it. There are many photos of headstones and a way to to request a photo.
- Rootsweb.com is a free source of information from Ancestry.com.
- USGenWeb.org breaks the country into states and then counties to help you find where records can be found. Some sites include actual records, many of which are just transcriptions.
I'm sure there are others. What are your favorites?