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Old 12-08-2010, 11:51 PM
 
Location: Dalton Gardens
2,855 posts, read 6,105,659 times
Reputation: 1691

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Sometimes when researching we take certain information at face value without realizing the important clues right before our eyes. An ancestors school is sometimes more than just a school. Girard College in Philadelphia is a good example. Most people, when finding an ancestor listed as a student at the college in the census might just assume that their ancestor's parents must have been at least fairly well-off. Not so with Girard College. This college was specifically opened in 1848, under provisions of the will of Stephen Girard, as a college only for "white, male, orphans." At that time an orphan was anyone who was left fatherless due to the death of the father. A child could still have a living mother and/or guardian and be considered an orphan. So, the biggest clue when an ancestor is found at Girard College in the census is that the father was deceased.

After 1968 the rules of Stephen Girard's will no longer applied.

What other little known or hidden clues can fellow posters share?
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:57 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
47,355 posts, read 27,483,472 times
Reputation: 130872
Recently I've used city directories to research where ancestors lived. You can see who they lived next to or with. That can be revealing. Sometimes they lived near other relatives. It's like looking up and finding a new limb on the family tree.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,540 posts, read 28,566,797 times
Reputation: 6400
I found one ancestor in a modern bank brochure, and another in the first Masonic Lodge in America.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Columbus, Indiana
979 posts, read 2,148,572 times
Reputation: 1444
I found a 3rd great-aunt that I'd been looking for listed in a Civil War pension record as witness to the birth of the widow's children. She was the widow's aunt, but I had not expected to find her there.
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:49 AM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 6,112,473 times
Reputation: 1337
I was looking for records on my grandpa's family in Iowa/South Dakota. We found out that during the late 1800s/early 1900s, the records of births and deaths at the family farm in Iowa were all recorded over the river in South Dakota. Once we figured that out, we found a dozen or so records.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
34,586 posts, read 36,750,535 times
Reputation: 41300
I was able to correct connections for two family members who are on the 1880 federal mortality schedule. The very left hand column tells which family in the full 1880 census the person on the mortality list lived with prior to death. I was able to determine that the person on the list was not my great great grandmother but her cousin (her father's brother's child), by linking her to living with her sister and brother-in-law before she died.

This same person's grandfather is on the same mortality schedule. I am able to link him to one of his children's families and prove that another person with a similar name is not in this line, This particular surname has two families with multiple given names in common. They are likely related, but no one knows how.
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:52 PM
 
Location: Dalton Gardens
2,855 posts, read 6,105,659 times
Reputation: 1691
I've learned to search through old newspapers for ancestors in neighboring counties, and in some cases neighboring states. For example, many people in South New Jersey can be found mentioned in the Philadelphia Inquirer, while Northern New Jersey ancestors can often be found in old editions of the New York Times. Especially if your ancestors lived in smaller towns which were located within a short distance from a larger metropolitan area, whether it be "just over the bridge" in another State, or a big city in the next county.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:50 PM
bjh
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
47,355 posts, read 27,483,472 times
Reputation: 130872
I like that genealogy keeps us thinking and making mental connections, as well as family ones.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Dalton Gardens
2,855 posts, read 6,105,659 times
Reputation: 1691
Default Great Depression Ancestors

If your ancestor was an adult male between the ages of 18-25 during the Great Depression of the 1930's he made have signed on with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). If so, he would have been listed in their records.
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Old 01-14-2011, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Dalton Gardens
2,855 posts, read 6,105,659 times
Reputation: 1691
Default WPA - Life Histories

This is a fantastic project, highly recommended...

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936 - 1940
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