How much time should I spend researching collateral relatives—aunts, uncles, cousins—and what are the benefits of tracing them?
Beyond these marital connections, collateral relatives are an integral part of the “cluster” your family might have followed in migrating across America or immigrating here. Along with neighbors (who often married into the family, too), collateral relatives typically followed the same path as your ancestors. You’ll find them in land records, buying or claiming plots next to each other, and in census enumerations, often on the same page. So if you can’t trace an ancestor back before his settling in Georgia, for instance, see if you can find collateral relatives in places migrants to Georgia came from, such as the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee. If you can’t find an ancestor’s passenger list for the trip from the old country, try those cousins and siblings—your ancestor may have been on the same ship.
Where can I find vital records for ancestors in Waldoboro, Maine, in the late 1600s and early 1700s?
While you’re searching the catalog on Family-Search.org, you also should browse the database of Maine vital records dating from 1670 to 1907 <www.familysearch.org/search/collection/ show#uri=http:/familysearch.org/searchapi/search/collection/1803978>; note that only the 1892 to 1907 records have been indexed.
Subscription site Ancestry.com <ancestry.com> also has early Maine documents, from town records at the state archives <www.maine.gov/sos/arc/research/geneal.html>. Most are part of larger databases that are more complete in later years: Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922; Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922; and Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922.