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Brick Wall Busters: A Moving Situation
9/1/2008
Our expert offers research tips for keeping up with a third-great-grandma on the go.
Mahalia Sellers was a woman on the move. She lived in at least six states during her 97 years, leaving quite a family history maze for her third-great-granddaughter Sandra Clapp. Clapp and a cousin have found glimpses of Sellers in census records and a few other documents, but no concrete evidence of her maiden name or parents' names. We'll take a look at what they've found and see if we can dig up some additional untapped sources for tracing their mobile ancestor.

Retracing steps

To decide what to do next, you have to look at what you've already done. Plotting an ancestor's known dates and locations on a timeline can point you to new resources. Clapp has mainly searched the Internet due to physical limitations, but she's done relatively well for herself. She found a death certificate for Mahalia Kimball, who died a widow April 11, 1917, in Butler, Mo. It gives a birth date of Sept. 19, 1819, in Hanover, Grafton County, NH. The parents' names, frustratingly, were unknown to the informant, a Mrs. Carrie Green.

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