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Justin J. Rebbert
23 September 2008, 12:43 PM
As I've mentioned in a couple other threads recently, I'm pretty new to genealogy research. I started by getting the names/relationships of everyone my mother could think of, and added some more people and more details by talking to some other people in my family. I expect to have the living portion of my family tree fairly well filled in by, well, the living people. I guess that makes sense! :)

Going back in time has, of course, been a bit challenging. I got the names of most of my g-grandparent generation and some of my g-g-grandparent generation from my mother. With the names and some estimated dates and known places of birth, I was able to find most of those people, and some others, on ancestry.com.

But now I am wondering what to do next. I seem to have hit the "brick wall" I keep hearing and reading about. I can't find any records on ancestry.com to lead me to my g-g-g-grandparent generation. Most of what I got so far was from census records, so of course there are no parents' names, no maiden names, etc.

Being new to this, I don't know what my next steps should be, and am hoping you all can give me some tips, advice, clues, etc. :)

SGilbert
23 September 2008, 01:46 PM
Have you tried birth certificates? They can provide, if available, a wealth of info. There's also death & marriage certificates. Church records are sometimes useful.

Justin J. Rebbert
23 September 2008, 02:13 PM
No, where and how do I get them?

Can I get one for a man when all I know is his first and last name, year of birth, and city of birth? Can I get one for a woman when that's all I know, minus the last name?

ByronSpoon
23 September 2008, 03:10 PM
... I can't find any records on ancestry.com to lead me to my g-g-g-grandparent generation. Most of what I got so far was from census records, so of course there are no parents' names, no maiden names, etc... If you are a subscriber to Ancestry.com then you can access a lot more there than just census records. For instance, there are birth, marriage and death indexes available there by state and county. Personally I won't use sites that charge a subscription fee, but Ancestry's Library Edition is available for free to patrons at many public libraries.

And later...
... Can I get one for a man when all I know is his first and last name, year of birth, and city of birth? Can I get one for a woman when that's all I know, minus the last name?Just a for instance to get you thinking outside the box, you say you only know the woman's given name, but if you found that from a census then you also know her husband's name and their approximate ages and their whereabouts. From that and a few educated guesses you might find them in a marriage index at Ancestry by looking for the husband. Or let Google be your best friend by choosing some appropriate keywords to search on. Let your imagination run free and don't be constrained by only what Ancestry provides.

Of course anything you find from other sources should be verified. This is a continuous process of validation and elimination. Good luck and happy hunting.

mwphelps
23 September 2008, 07:30 PM
Going back in time has, of course, been a bit challenging. I got the names of most of my g-grandparent generation and some of my g-g-grandparent generation from my mother. With the names and some estimated dates and known places of birth, I was able to find most of those people, and some others, on ancestry.com.

But now I am wondering what to do next. I seem to have hit the "brick wall" I keep hearing and reading about. I can't find any records on ancestry.com to lead me to my g-g-g-grandparent generation. Most of what I got so far was from census records, so of course there are no parents' names, no maiden names, etc.



The push back into earlier generations generally becomes more difficult as one goes back in time, since records from earlier periods are more sparse. Government birth and death records can only be useful back to the mid to late 1800s. Church records can go much farther back, depending on the region and religious group. As you get into this process, you will become familiar with what kinds of sources and information are most useful for which periods in history, and thus tailor your search acordingly. Census records from 1790 until 1930 are good examples of this, since their info content changes with each census, with the first 6 censuses being nothing more than head counts.

The comment about using ancestry for more than just census records is a good one. Try searching in the main search page, identifying the state to focus on. There are now two different search tools on ancestry as well. The old one, to me, is a bit more reliable. The new version allows hits to be rated for partial satisfaction of criteria, but I have found it pulls in records you never intended to search (i.e. Irish census records when you specify searching a particular US state only). Either one will produce a list of hits in a variety of source types (vital records, military, immigration, etc), which you can then browse.

Also, try name spelling variations. Spelling in "the olde days" was sometimes random, and records reflect that. Ancestry does allow wildcard characters in name fields (within limits), which will cause searches to be more inclusive.

Other sites to search are:

LDS familysearch.org data bases (Ancestral File and IGI), but use them mainly get pointed in new directions, as the data there is not checked for validity. They also have their own records search tool at search.labs.familysearch.org, including more census records (free) and birth/death records for certain states.

Cyndi's list, especially to find sites that focus on single states or counties, where records are often squirreled away by local genealogical societies.

Google can be useful in many cases, helping find pages hosted by individuals or societies. You may have to search on whole phrases, like "first middle last" names, or variations thereof ("last, first mid-initial", etc.). Try including additional search terms for the county or town to limit results to a manageable number.

Good luck with your search!

Al Poulin
23 September 2008, 08:56 PM
Being new to this, I don't know what my next steps should be, and am hoping you all can give me some tips, advice, clues, etc. :)

Hie thee to the nearest Family History Center. You are ready to take advantage of their microfilm services. Look here:
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp
Enter your location in the search box at center bottom of the page. Also, browse the web site.

Check your local public library for genealogical societies in your area and for listings of courses offered at local schools after hours. For sound research techniques, study a book like: **Shaking Your Family Tree: A Basic Guide to Tracing Your Family's Genealogy (2nd Edition)by Ralph J Crandall (Paperback - Nov 2001). *Dr. Crandall is a past director of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

AE Palmer
24 September 2008, 12:37 AM
// cut //

Being new to this, I don't know what my next steps should be, and am hoping you all can give me some tips, advice, clues, etc. :)

Hmm. Where to start.... Obviously, you have a great start by gathering data from living relatives. Now the hunt really begins.

Alternatives:
- Federal and state censii. State data is a super way to fill in gaps as they are usually on the 5 yr mark between federal enumerations.
- City / County directories -- If you are lucky enough to be digging in a large population [and some not so large] area, these directories are enormously helpful as they often connect family members together!
- Cemetery records -- need I say more?
- Court records -- wills, land deeds, etc. (be sure to check both civil and criminal.)
- Vital statistics -- These are your standard BMD data points.
- Church records -- baptisms, confirmations, membership in church activities, lists of elders and deacons.
- Military -- A good many men were in the military (either volunteer or drafted). And lately, females too.
- Newspapers -- anyone making news is usually recorded in detail. But be sure to check the obits.
- Old photos -- ask your relatives to identify the people (and places)

And now that you have more data, ask your relatives MORE questions. Sometimes the odd bit of info will open the flood gates!

Good luck!

AE Palmer
24 September 2008, 12:47 AM
// cut //
But now I am wondering what to do next. I seem to have hit the "brick wall" I keep hearing and reading about. I can't find any records on ancestry.com
// cut //


Ancestry.com is but one source of info. Many people have had good luck using it, but I have found it to expensive and sometimes annoying. Herritage Quest is another database that can be accessed via local libraries for free.

As for my self, the rootsweb.com surname forums are by far the most effective way to break down brick walls. (I belong to almost 30 of them, and have demolished many long-standing brick walls in the last five years.)

thboyd
24 September 2008, 11:51 AM
A couple of other on-line sources are:

the USGenWeb Project http://www.usgenweb.org/ has state and county web sites that often contain useful information.

Tombstone/Cemeteries. There are a number of websites that provide tombstone transcriptions. My favorite is http://findagrave.com

Tom

janepickford
28 September 2008, 10:38 PM
Hi

I would go with all the advice but would add the LDS church has just introduced a new family search programme (visit local Family History Centre - someone has already given the information for that). The new programme brings all the different sources together thus making searches easier.

Have fun doing your research.

STEVE
29 September 2008, 08:48 PM
Hi

I would go with all the advice but would add the LDS church has just introduced a new family search programme (visit local Family History Centre - someone has already given the information for that). The new programme brings all the different sources together thus making searches easier.

Have fun doing your research.


The new search program is VERY buggy! Keeps saying there is no information where there IS, in fact, quite a bit of information.

STEVE