Finding info about an ancestor

Several relatives have found quite a bit of info about our granparent’s father’s family, but we can’t seem to find any online info about his wife’s family beyond her mother’s name and birth place and date. We’ve looked on all the major ancestor websites, and now I want to try outside the internet. My question is for people who’ve done this before. With the info(maiden name, birth place, and birth date) we have where can we go next? What are some ideas for a first step? We’d like to know some basic info regarding her parents, siblings, and nationality.

Have you checked to see if there’s a local historical/genealogical society in the area she lived in? They often have records, or know where to look. If you know what church the family went to, there might be baptism/marriage/funeral records. If you can get her death certificate, that might have her father’s name, and sometimes they list where the parents were born.
Each state has its own rules about filing birth & death records, so the state vital records department might be another avenue.
Also the LDS have microfilmed so many records from so many places – have you checked that out?
Do you have access to census records? For anyone born after 1850, they can be a gold mine. But it’s not always easy to find people – spelling of names still wasn’t standardized. And sometimes I swear all our ancestors made a vow to miss one census, just to confuse any descendents that might come looking for them. :wink:
Anyway, those are a few ideas. Hope they help a bit.

Hey, i know a little about your ancestors. Two of them was actually in the garden of eden and met god! They were the first people here. another one built an arc and took his family and 2 of each species onto it, and survived a world wide flood. :wink:

Sorry had to throw the joke in there. As for actual ancestors, you should ask your family as much as they know about it. or go to public library and look at the records.

If she is Irish many changed their names when arriving in America so as not to be traced by the law from England, especially during the potatoe famine as they may have committed crimes to feed their families and then had to flee. That is what we discovered when researching or family roots. All trace stopped once back in Ireland.

Do death certificates state the names of parents? I was planning on calling the town she died in to view that. She was born in the late 1800s, so I’m assuming her birth certificate is long gone.

Try various spellings of the name. Do what is called a Soundex search which will give various spellings of the name. If you would like, I have access to the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 US census and would be happy to check them. Please send me a private message with information. I am into doing genealogy.

Unless they had a massive fire there they should still have the death certificate and that should give you her parent names. You repeat the process again for her parents, after that it’s mainly up to church records.

They probably won’t give you the information over the phone, so ask if you can order a copy of the certificate.

Yes, they do. That’s how I found out my great-grandmother was a chicken.

Another source: check into any ethnic organizations. They may have records.

Some death certificates do, it all depends on the locality and what their rules were at the time. It’s worth a shot.
And in the late 1800’s, there might not even have been a birth certificate, but it can’t hurt to check into that, too.

These types of documents birth, death, marriage etc. do not contain the same information from state to state even now. Most local governments only began recording these events in the latter 1800s.

Death certificates are frequently a good place to being. Most areas have a way to request a copy of old certificates for a nominal fee.

Church records are usually harder to come by.

Also, your may find newspaper archives for that area. Some are online(for a fee) and indexed for searching. Others are available on microfilm at you states archives. The problem with these is that they are usually not indexed for a computer search. So how do you use them? For example, the headstone says that Great Aunt Betsy died May 6, 1880. Go to the archives and look at the microfilm for May 7th and after to see if you find an obituary or death notice. This can give you other family names, their address, etc.

A couple of other thoughts…
Because of name changes, females tend to disappear into history.
Start with you families more unusual names. They are easier to trace than a names that has a thousand matches.

Since you’ve mentioned that she was born in the late 1800’s, my suggestion for your first stop would be the 1900 census.

Another way to find your ancestry is through DNA. I have gotten a number of tests and have found close relatives I did not know existed.

My search started with a kit from the National Geographic Human Genome Project. I have ordered additional tests over the years. Broad DNA testing only tells you that you are pretty much related to every other human. Additional tests refine the results and become more meaningful.

There was a family legend of two brothers who separated over an issue way back when. Through the DNA, I found a family in another state, having the same last name, and telling the same story. Now I know where the brother went.

I have found relatives, including some who are very closely related, that I did not know existed. It has been an interesting journey.

I actually found out her maiden name, date of birth, and birth place from the 1900 census. I also found out that both of her parents were born in the UK. I just haven’t been able to find their names. I want to go further back and find out about any siblings.

Most of the 1890 census was lost due to a fire. Was she born before 1880?

You have been given alot of good advice . The fact that you have name, date and place is very good, believe it or not! I have been researching my family history for many years. I agree that a census and death certificate is where to start. Census are every 10 years. You can gather alot of information with those two documents. I usually tell people that I have a weird hobby because I get excited when I get a death certificate in the mail! LOL!:wink: Happy hunting!
By the way, are you from Newfoundland? My Mother-in-law is from there (raised in St. Johns, but born in another town).

Yes, she was born in the 1870s.

No. I’m from the US.

Then she should be with her parents in 1880, unless there were unusual circumstances? If there were, then it’s going to be harder. I have a big brick wall on one of my g/grandfathers who was apparently adopted. I keep researching the family who adopted him, hoping a link will turn up.

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