From the color of our eyes and the kind of music we listen to, to our morning routines and quirky habits, our lives are full of details, big and small. All these details make us who we are and of course, made our ancestors who they were.
Genealogy isn’t just about collecting names, growing your tree and following the family lines as far back as you can go. Genealogy is about discovering your ancestors; where and how they lived, what they looked like (if you are lucky!) and the experiences that shaped them.
These details are (to me) what makes the “hunt” exciting! You can find details, big or small in every document you read.
In land records you may discover family members, neighbours, plot numbers, acreage etc.
Church records can shine light on other family members, residence, birth, marriage and death dates, parent’s names, occupations etc.
Military records may show where your ancestor enlisted, who their next of kin is, where they lived, their previous work experience, medical histories as well as physical descriptions.
Books that were written in the time period your ancestor lived or about the place your ancestor lived in may not necessarily mention your ancestor but they can put your ancestor’s life into perspective. Social history books can tell the history of the area, major events that happened and important people in the community. These books can discuss customs, religion, occupations etc.
Newspapers, city directories, tax lists, immigration records, passenger records, border crossings, pension files are just a few of the records available that can contain details into your ancestor’s lives.
The most important thing is to not overlook a record group just because your ancestor isn’t mentioned directly. Clues can be found in many places that can lead to details about your ancestor’s lives.
Thanks for reading!
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