AncestorNews: Sideways Genealogy

AncestorNews: Sideways Genealogy

I'd like to share a recent breakthrough—one that proves that genealogy puzzles are often solved through less-than-direct methods. I found an ancestor, Aaron Hendrickson, on an 1860 Daviess County, Ind., census. The discovery was puzzling, because most of the family was in another Indiana county—not even a...

I’d like to share a recent breakthrough—one that proves that genealogy puzzles are often solved through less-than-direct methods.

I found an ancestor, Aaron Hendrickson, on an 1860 Daviess County, Ind., census. The discovery was puzzling, because most of the family was in another Indiana county—not even a neighboring one. So, I went exploring on the Daviess County pages at the USGenWeb Project. There, I found a list of burials, and among them were several people named Hendrixson. It was a good clue more family might be in that county, but, when I went backwards to the 1850 census in Daviess, I ran out of luck.

However, in going through the 1850 Daviess census, I found several members of the Strange family. Since the Stranges and Hendricksons often migrated together, I thought it odd I couldn’t find Hendricksons in Daviess County in 1850. Nor Hendrixson, Hendrixon, Hindrixson, Hendricks or other variations.

Finally, I tracked down an 1850 census index and went through all the H names. Did I find my family? Yes. Was the name spelled with one of the many Hendrickson variations? No. The whole family was there, but the enumerator had listed their name as Henderson. Would I have persisted in going through all the H names in the census if I hadn’t seen the Strange family there? Maybe not.

Lesson learned: If you have access to a census index, and can’t find your family in the county you think they’re in, start looking in the county where you find allied family names.

I’d love to hear how you’ve solved a research problem. Write and tell me your story-let’s share our how-to knowledge with other readers. Other research tips:

&#149 Brick-Wall Research
members.aol.com/RalphK/Brickwall.html

&#149 US Census Guide
amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/uscensus.html

&#149 Developing Research Skills
www.genealogy.com/developing_research_skills.html

&#149 Genealogy How-To Articles
globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/how-to.htm

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&#149 Free BMD (births, marriages, deaths in England and Wales)
freebmd.rootsweb.com

&#149 Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900
www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/marriage.html

&#149 Western States Historical Marriage Record Index
abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/fhc/newMarriage/searchForm.cfm?1074644337757

&#149 4 USGenWeb Marriage Project
www.rootsweb.com/%7Eusgenweb/marriages

&#149 Marriage Record Index at Ray Brown’s Place (links to several New England marriage indexes)
www.rays-place.com/index-m.htm

&#149 Kentucky Vital Records Index
ukcc.uky.edu/~vitalrec

&#149 A Marriage Database for Northern England
website.lineone.net/~jjoiner/mindex/mindex.html

&#149 Indiana Marriage Database (through 1850)
www.statelib.lib.in.us/www/isl/indiana/genealogy/MIRINFO.HTML

&#149 Putnam County, Tennessee Marriage Database
www.tngenes.net/marriages/search.html

&#149 Baker County, Oregon Marriages 1862-1980
www.accessgenealogy.com/data/BakerMarriage.php –>


Nancy Hendrickson is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. She also is a family historian, freelance writer and the author of two astronomy books. Her Web site is at www.ancestornews.com. E-mail her at stjoemo@pobox.com

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