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Old 08-28-2013, 03:12 AM
 
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I don't know how to get beyond the 1700s to whatever country three lines of my family came from. They all got here so early, there's just no paper trail left, and I've reached three brick walls. I have general ideas about where they may be from, but I'm in the dark because I don't know which relative or group of them made the trip over. Anyone else stuck on this, or if you've gotten past it, how did you do it?

Frustrated!
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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Yeah this is where I am stuck with most of my lines. One or two I have been able to find beyond the 1600's but that is because distant relatives seem to have done a lot of work on it.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:26 AM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
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I suggest that you start with familysearch.org and search the genealogies, books and catalogs sections of the site. I was surprised to find a few local histories and biographies that included some ancestors. The info can lead you elsewhere. Also, many local history and genealogical societies (and even local libraries) have materials, some have even digitized materials. You might check in the areas of your earliest ancestors.

If familysearch has info you want to review on microfilm, you can pay a modest fee to have the film sent to a LDS Family History Center near you where you can review it. Most of those Centers also have a small hard copy library, and the one I visited had a few books of passenger lists on early ships to the US.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Northampton, Mass.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobiashen View Post
I don't know how to get beyond the 1700s to whatever country three lines of my family came from. They all got here so early, there's just no paper trail left, and I've reached three brick walls. I have general ideas about where they may be from, but I'm in the dark because I don't know which relative or group of them made the trip over. Anyone else stuck on this, or if you've gotten past it, how did you do it?

Frustrated!
Which countries specifically did they come from? --or I guess I should say, what places do you think they came from or have looked? And about what time did they arrive here? Quality and existence of records vary enormously era to era and country to country....if they came from Ireland, generally speaking, there is not very much Catholic records left from before the later 18th century (with some exceptions).
Also, do you know where (even state/colony/city) they entered this side of the Atlantic? Or where they lived early on?
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:16 PM
 
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I may just be literally stuck, because the earliest I can trace them ALL is mid-1700s, North Carolina. Boring. And from there, they all moved south, to Georgia, where the records are scant or gone. I don't have any clue other than my DNA profile, which tells me I'm nearly 94% "British Isles," but it would just be so good to get out of America and find out their points of embarkation -- their lives before getting over here.

I even hired two genealogists (one to do the bulk research, which took nearly a year, and she couldn't find anything past this one person in 1789 in Charleston, SC). She gave me "circumstantial evidence" of this person's parentage (born in NC), but then couldn't locate the parents of the "circumstantial parents," so I hired a second professional (both very well respected in the industry and with full FHL access) to do more additional, court house, SOS, local work, etc., but to no avail.

They were all Protestant as far as I know; other than that, I don't have any idea of ports of entry on any of them. Just no idea at all. I have joined surname groups and keep looking for more information. In time, I'm sure it will come along, but of course when it comes to this, who's patient?
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Northampton, Mass.
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Well, if they were in North Carolina that early then they probably came from the British Isles, with large amounts from Ireland, Scotland and England...but they could have entered the US really anywhere, but the common ports in the southern colonies were Charleston, SC, Savannah GA, various ones around northern VA and Maryland...passenger manifests are very hit or miss that early, and that often makes it all the more difficult to trace them back to the home country---then you have the replication and varied spelling of names, but it certainly can be done if enough records are present.
A lot of records were destroyed over the years as well----did this person in Charleston in 1789--did he/she own property or do you know their occupation?
If they were Protestant (as most were here that early) then they still could have come from really any area of the UK, though in Ireland it would most likely be northern Ireland---records there fared better and much more is extant and available for study.
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
did this person in Charleston in 1789--did he/she own property or do you know their occupation?
He did own several plots of land, and I have the deeds to most of them, but they don't lend any more information; he moved around a lot, even from one county to the next, was wanted for trespassing once and left his land unsold to keep from getting caught, worked as a farm overseer, had seven children who left NO HINTS as to his parentage or even his wife's name, and he was killed in a fight in 1817 in Georgia. Don't even know where he's buried.

All the names are very Anglo-Saxon, but again, it would just be so great to say, "Hey, they were from Hertfordshire," or "They lived in Ulster for a while," because I'd like to get more of a sense of the home countries.

And this is just one line -- the others, oddly enough, took nearly the same route (NC to SC to GA) and got here so EARLY that the records are gone.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Northampton, Mass.
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Land records sometimes do, sometimes do not reveal much about the person---I guess in this case they did not. The Revolution and Civil War destroyed a lot of records from the colonial times in the south, especially the coastal cities so it is not all that unusual to not turn up much, especially if the person was very itinerant. But if court records are not to be had (usually a wealth of info when intact) there can be other avenues....he just abandoned land in order to escape the law? Was it reclaimed or confiscated by the State later? Interesting. Was it a significant amount of property?
The genealogist you hired, was she overly familiar/experience with Charleston (and area) research?
Also, about how old was this person in 1789?
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:08 PM
 
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Try searching old digitized newspapers for their names. If you can't find a digitzed local newspaper, than contact the local public libraries & ask if they have an index to the old local newspapers, or if you can view them on microfilm. Check these sites:
Wikipedia:List of online newspaper archives - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chronicling America Library of Congress
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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Have you looked at census records? www.familysearch.org for census & much more.

Old city directories can be helpful. Some are on-line, but the local library may have them on microfilm

Church records can in some cases yield more data than the sparse civil records of the 1700's, i.e. birth, marriage, death records.

Try to find their tombstones.

Check if any of them left wills (probate records.)

Did any of them serve in the Revolutionary War? There may be surviving military records.

Many U.S. towns had histories written about them. Try searching their names & locations at Google Books. For instance, "John SMITH" "name of town"

Using the quotes in your search will prevent getting hits on every John & every SMITH.
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