Monday, May 30, 2011

Personal Property Tax Records

Have you tried personal property tax records for those ancestors who didn't own real property? The one difficulty is that determining where they lived may be difficult.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Was your "run of the mill" ancestor sent to a local or state asylum? Records of their confinement might prove helpful.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Try Court Records

There's been a brief discussion of this on the Facebook page, so I thought I'd post something about it here. The vast majority of people who appear in court records are pretty ordinary people. Was your ancestor a small landowner who had a boundary dispute with a neighbor? Was an ancestor a hothead who occasionally got in trouble with the law?

People sometimes assume incorrectly that court records won't hold any information about their ancestor. That's not necessarily true. I've found court records on quite a few of my "average" ancestors, including:
  • disputes over building a fence
  • accusations of selling alcohol
  • failure to pay wages
Even if you ancestors weren't well-off, consider searching for them in court records.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Think about the record's intent

One of the difficulty in researching those of the lower economic classes is that certain records were concentrated on those with money or property. Land records required owning land, estate records required having an estate.

The simple fact is that people without much money left fewer records. They were less settled, more mobile and didn't always leave information to help connect them between one place and another.

Church records and census records are two types of records that typically were not focused on a certain economic group. And there are even exceptions to that. Those with additional ideas can post them here as suggestions.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Join me in Salt Lake for Research this May

Anyone who wants to join me in Salt Lake at the Family History Library in late May...check out my group trip page:

Rural Roots

I won't post the entire article here, but this article I wrote awhile back "Rural Roots" has some suggestions for working on those ancestors who were not urban.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Poor Farm

"Birth and Death at the Poor Farm" was an article I wrote back when I was writing weekly for Ancestry.com