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Cross Relations

I am a big genealogy nut and have been researching for several years. Imagine my surprise when during my research I discovered my ex-husband line and mine are intertwined not only by marriage but through our grandmother’s. His grandmother and my grandmother were 2nd cousins.

I also discovered my current husband’s 2nd cousin is married to my 1st cousin. It is a small world when you start researching your family history. 

Ancestry Anne: An Alternate Way to View Results

If you start on the search page or the home page and do a search, you’ll see results come back as a list of records you might want to look at.

But there is an alternate presentation of results that you can display.  Instead of Sorted by relevance choose Sorted by category

And we will present a list of data collections you may want to explore.

Note, that this option is what we call “sticky” — it will stay however you set it until you change it and do a search or clear your cookies.

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: How do I Verify a Unsourced Death Date

Question: The only evidence I have for a date of death for my great-grandfather comes from other family trees.  When I look at those trees, there are no sources given for the date of death.  How do I know which was the first citation and how do I validate the information?
Details are:  Nathan Shaw:  6 members show his date of death as Apr 14, 1878 in Union Mills, LaPorte County, Indiana.
I cannot find anything to verify this.  I have found him in the 1870 census for Indiana, but not in the 1880 census, so the timing  makes sense.
- Jane D

Answer: Ah yes, the tantalizing clues that can be found in unsourced trees.  And this one has some very definitive details, down to the day, which makes it seem like somebody had a good reason for believing this was true.

Some ideas:

  • You can try writing to the person who posted to the tree, but that can be hit or miss.
  • I looked at our Indiana page, but the death records we have for Indiana seem to start in 1880. (Of course!)
  • And though there is one History of Laporte County, I didn’t see anything on a quick glance. You should probably take a closer look.
  • This is where you need to start branching out.  I’d check digitized newspapers at the Library of Congress.
  • There are also other sites out there with newspapers, but I’d check out what dates and locales they cover before I paid anything.
  • Was he a Civil War Veteran?  Check Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans, 1879 - 1903
  • Post to message boards for Shaw and LaPorte County, and search them as well.
  • may have other information about Indiana, check them out as well.
  • Is there a Historical or Genealogy Society in LaPorte? Maybe they can look up the information for you.  (Again, that may require a fee)

The answer is out there, you’ll just have to keep digging.

Happy Searching!
Ancestry Anne

Ancestry Anne: Finding Local Histories

Local Histories can be full of great information.  Information on what the area was like at a specific date and time.  Snippets of family trees.  You just never know.

My favorite trick to find family trees is to go to the Card Catalog.

Once there, filter down to Stories, Memories and Histories. 

Then type in a city or county name into the keyword box.  This will search both titles and descriptions. Below, you see that I’ve type in rockbridge

Then I search and a see a list of possible sources.

There may be nothing, but you never know.  You never know where that next clue that breaks through that brick wall will be.

Happy Searching!

Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: These census dates don’t match up

Question: In 1910 my father’s family is listed.  My Uncles Jessie & Henry McWilliams are the same age, yet in the census before one was born in 1888 and the other in 1894-95.

This is so confusing.  The names of the family members are the same but they are correct. What am I to believe? What to do?

Answer: Just because someone writes it down, doesn’t make it true. And here is a perfect example. I would suspect unless you have some reason to believe that Jessie and Henry are twins, the 1910  census ages are incorrect.  Usually, not always, children are listed in order of age.  Do the ages make sense in terms of how they are listed?

You never know who supplies the information on the census.  It could be someone who just doesn’t know.

Do you have other documents such as marriage or birth certificates? The date supplied is probably more accurate as the information was most probably supplied by someone who was either at the birth or someone who knew.

Find the rest of the census records and see what maps out.

I always think of census ages as guides, not as absolutes.  Notable differences such as this, just means you’ve got more digging to do.

Happy Searching!
Ancestry Anne

Ask Ancestry Anne: All it takes is a name, date and location

Question:  Can you find Edwin W. Johnson born around 1871, in Saline Co. Missouri?

- Dolly

Answer: I picked this particular example, because it helps illustrate an important point, the three most useful pieces of information to find someone are:

  • Names
  • Birth Date
  • Some location

Where do I begin?

I go to the 1880 search page because that will be the first U.S Census Edwin will be in. 
I enter

  • Edwin W in for first and middle names with no filters.
  • Johnson in for the last name filterd by exact, phonetic and similiar
  • 1871 and Missouri for the birth information
  • Saline County, Missouri, USA from the type ahead and choose restrict to exact.

The first result is an Edwin W. Johnson, this very well may be the Edwin W. Johnson that is being searched for.

He is the grandson of John I. Lunback. There is also a Jennie M. Johnson who is the daughter of John Lunback who is widowed.

Is this Edwin’s mother? Probably.  (Not for sure, relationships are always to the head of the household.)

I do notice that Edwin’s mother was born in Ohio, and Jennie was born in Ohio. 

So what next?  I would try and find Jennie and Edwin in the 1900 census, as well as John and Matilda Lunback in the 1870 census.
Is Jennie living with them? Or can you find Jennie and her husband in the 1870 census?  Note that this census says that Edwin’s father was born in Tennessee, but I would guess Jennie and husband were living in Missouri.

Then you might want to start searching for marriage records for Jennie and if you find a husband for her, you can look for his death record.  Since Edwin was born in 1871 you could guess that Jennie was married in 1870 or before.

If you have a name, location and approximate birth date, you can usually come up with a census, or maybe a few that might be your person.  From each census record you can then use the clues on the image to direct your search from there.

Happy Searching!
Ancestry Anne