U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Genealogy
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-28-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,943 posts, read 52,485,847 times
Reputation: 98359

Advertisements

It's been so hard to research my mom's side of the family tree because most of her relatives had VERY common names, and I'm apparently not advanced enough to be certain I'm viewing the correct records for HER ancestors. I'm using Ancestry.com.

Even the first names are unremarkable, like James and William. Can anyone offer tips to help me sort out which people named Johnson, Baker and Mills in the south might be related to my mom?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-28-2014, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,787 posts, read 15,785,876 times
Reputation: 13007
You can't just pick out people with the same surname in the same location and try to figure out if/how they are related to your mother, if that's what you're doing. You have to start with what you know and work backwards in time. Do you know your grandparents names and approximate birth/death dates/locations? Do you know your great grandparents? Start with the oldest ancestors you know of and find records of them - with enough details, you should be able to confirm it's them. Those should help lead you back to their parents. You want to find records that name other people in their family so you can confirm it's the correct person based on their known family members. Also research the siblings too, that can help lead you back to their parents names.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-28-2014, 04:32 PM
 
Location: 2016 Clown Car...fka: Wisconsin
738 posts, read 907,946 times
Reputation: 1200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
It's been so hard to research my mom's side of the family tree because most of her relatives had VERY common names, and I'm apparently not advanced enough to be certain I'm viewing the correct records for HER ancestors. I'm using Ancestry.com.

Even the first names are unremarkable, like James and William. Can anyone offer tips to help me sort out which people named Johnson, Baker and Mills in the south might be related to my mom?
If you're really stuck, (yes...I share your pain)...PM me with details and I'll give your research a look.

RVcook
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-28-2014, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,943 posts, read 52,485,847 times
Reputation: 98359
Thanks for the replies.

I have traced most of my family back pretty far, so I am working backwards.

I run into problems when I do a records search and come up with several possibilities in the same region, like a James Johnson in NC in the mid-19th century. Many of them moved from state to state, working as tenant farmers, so I'm finding multiple options with the same name in the same state.

Thx, rvcook, I will PM you.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-29-2014, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
71,644 posts, read 67,639,700 times
Reputation: 89536
My sister had the same problems with her fiance's side. They have names like Woods, Campbell, and Smith, and the first names are William, James, and Mary. There are many dead people with those names in NY and NJ. It takes a lot of work for her matching up dates and locations to ensure that she has the right ones.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-29-2014, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 19,593,983 times
Reputation: 16898
Family stories from my grandmother say her father was different than her mothers other kids. They were all very short, and she was almost six foot, and looks different. Most family histories I've seen say she'd the Irish immigrants daughter, not the Englishman she claimed.

Thing is bothe were Smiths.... I've looked at records but when Martin came there was no records kept other than a list of passangers and they hopped off the ship and dissapeared. The mystery may not be solved but I'll keep looking.

I'm really thinking of doing the Ancestry dna test this month when its on sale.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-29-2014, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Florida -
10,141 posts, read 13,168,235 times
Reputation: 21437
I never had any idea about my Father or his side of the family; (also a very common name: Horton). But, with a couple of limited, but, solid facts about his father (occupation, location and name), I've been able to trace that side back to before 1500! (Using only Ancestry.com; Heritage and the open Internet). For me, the 'trick' was to pick-out and correlate available bits of data from old Census and marriage records. Of course, consistent surnames and sons in each generation, make it much easier to track the male side of the family
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2014, 07:37 AM
 
106 posts, read 127,016 times
Reputation: 119
I'm having the same difficulty with my Father's side of the family the surames are very common that being Johnson from Finland and Fewer from Newfoundland. Anything before America is difficult. Johnson I gave up on I'm just grateful to know where they came from, Fewer well that name is another story. How one pieces it all together is beyond my experience when half the town has the same last name
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-30-2014, 02:27 PM
 
1,661 posts, read 2,271,823 times
Reputation: 2147
Yeah I have Thompson line that is pretty much the only line I have a brick wall on.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-02-2014, 01:12 AM
 
215 posts, read 345,375 times
Reputation: 257
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
It's been so hard to research my mom's side of the family tree because most of her relatives had VERY common names, and I'm apparently not advanced enough to be certain I'm viewing the correct records for HER ancestors. I'm using Ancestry.com.

Even the first names are unremarkable, like James and William. Can anyone offer tips to help me sort out which people named Johnson, Baker and Mills in the south might be related to my mom?
honestly, if the names you are looking up are really common it might be easier and just a lot bnetter if you hired someone to do it or get started.

Even if you cant pay for the cost of having them go all the way completely or do it all completely it will still give you an idea of where to really start and look so you can pick it up yourself and trae it further later one with better certainty

I was lucky enough my grandmother really does have one of those old family bibles and it has names of her family tree and my grandfather's going back to the early 1800's and even late 1700's for some.

It was passed onto her from her family etc...


and keep adding to it.

also my uncle did paper work geneology on his own before and he gave us those papers and that info to put in the same bible too.

I never knew my father or anything about his family but we had a genealogist try it a very evry long time ago and I have a VERY common surname as did most the other names he found in the same line and on my father's side of the family.

It took him a while to get it really started because it was so common but at some point you end up finding something and the records after that get easier.

after a while we just didn't have the money to keep doing I quit. It was before the internet and ancestry.com etc...

but still I found out a lot and if I ever did want to do it again I have a good staring point based on that.

Like one poster said, you have to start with what you already know. And if you dot know really anything, I think hiring a professional is a good , a better idea or else you are just going to be pulling straws or finding needles in haystacks with real common names.

But a lot of it is easier now though too. I don't know how you feel about it, some people like it and some people don't care for it, but w3ith DNA testing now, they can match with others you are directly related too on whichever line you are trying to find and usually some of them might have info to add that you never knew about and can help you or at least can give you idea or where to go next with the paper trail.

It's not always easy to really trace it far back but it's not impossible either and its a whole lot easier now, with DNA testing or just sites like ancestry.com where you can talk to others that can help, than it used to be.

you just have to stick with it, keep wit it, keep at it long enough until you get it and go back as long as you really want

But like I said if its that hard ands if you are getting stuck that much, then it's probably better and just easier to hire a professional to help even if just short while to get through that brick wall everyone talks about so much, then you can probably do the rest yourself for a long time anyway.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Genealogy
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2021, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top