STOPPED BY A BRICK WALL?
aUGUST 4, 2013
When you run into a brick wall, how do you go about breaking through it? If you search all immediate family members, friends and neighbors, you probably have found many of your answers. By doing so, you may find other places where the target ancestor lived. Whatever you find gives a better understanding of the life of your ancestor. I want to know that, don’t you?
Begin by compiling a list of the siblings and extended family members. Search their marriage records, death records and obituaries in local newspapers. I always search siblings in every generation so I will not leave information uncovered. By doing so I know whom each married, which gives me another surname to examine in the neighborhood in which my target ancestor lived. I also check the gossip columns in the old newspapers for information on a possible visit made by my ancestor. That is how I found where an ancestor’s sister was living. She had gone to a quilting party in an adjacent county. The article said she visited her sister. Bingo. I found the sister’s married name and then her marriage record.
If you were unsuccessful in the first search, then extend it to the neighbors. These are the people living near the ancestor on the census. I do not just check the page on which he appears, I check a couple pages before and after. By double checking my list or ‘cluster’ of people living around him I often pick up clues to his business associates, friends from a previous neighborhood or extended family members.
If you want to find more information on an ancestor, resign yourself to searching further, or again. You can break through those brick walls, but it may be hard work. Who said genealogy was easy?
LOCAL NEWSPAPERS TO GO ONLINE: A few weeks ago, I mentioned that the Wylie News was being filmed and digitized by the University of North Texas Portal to Texas History. The filming is complete and a copy is at the Wylie News office and one at the Dolph Briscoe Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The digitized copy may be available as early as August or September. North Texas is also digitizing the Sachse Sentinel. When the digitization is complete, it will be available online at http://texashistory.unt.edu/.
The libraries will not have microfilm copies for genealogists and historians to examine. These will only be available online at the end of summer.
CORRECT PRONUNCIATION: Do you study those town and county names in different states and wonder just how they are pronounced? I have, many times. I have pronounced some correctly and mispronounced others. There is a simple way to fix this problem. A search on the internet is the answer. Just Google it. Type the name of the “state” (place name), then type “place names pronunciation.” Press enter. Example: Tennessee place names pronunciation. For North Carolina, I typed “Talk Like a Tar Heel: North Carolina Place Names” and found http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/ref/resources/tlth.html. There was a site titled, List of Place Names in the United States of Native American Origin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_place_names_in_the_United_States_of_Native_American_origin#Texas. If you are searching in South Carolina, go to www.sciway.net/ccr/sc-pronunciations.html. Arkansas pronunciations are available at www.markjamesmullins.com/arkansas/pronoun/. Texans alphabetical pronunciation of place names is at www.texasalmanac.com/sites/default/files/images/PronunWeb.pdf.
Be creative. Find those pronunciations and learn to enunciate correctly.
PERSI TO GO ONLINE: The Periodical Source Index is being digitized and will go online in the near future. The Allen County (Indiana) Public Library’s Genealogical Center, www.genealogycenter.org/Home.aspx, has been the source for this valuable index, but now it is working with FindMyPast.com to put its nearly three million indexed and searchable records online for the 8,000 journals, newsletters and periodicals in its collection. The two will work together to keep the digitized index current. It is only a matter of time until all of us will be able to use this valuable tool.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: email@example.com.