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Records can hold clues to aid family historians in ways most beginning genealogists wouldn't suspect. Discover how to "decode" records and find the hidden clues to guide you in your search for …

Records can hold clues to aid family historians in ways most beginning genealogists wouldn't suspect. Discover how to "decode" records and find the hidden clues to guide you in your search for ancestors.

This Power Point presentation was presented as part of our 6-part Finding Your Roots workshop series.

Published in Self Improvement
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  • 1. Bullitt County Public Library presents
    Digging Deeper
    Finding Your Roots Workshop Series, Part 4
    Presented 5/21/11
  • 2. Using Records
    Birth records are a great place to start
    Depending on the time period, records can have a little or a lot of information
    Older records are sometimes held at county level
    Newer records held at state level
  • 3. All U.S. states have required the recording of birth certificates since 1919
    Many families ignored the requirement to obtain a birth certificate until the 1950s
    Alternative sources for individuals' birthdates and names of parents:
    Church records
  • 4. Birth records
  • 5. Birth Records
    Birth records can be helpful in finding more information than just the date and place of death
    Some birth records will give you the names, ages, races, and birth places of the parents of the child
    This is sometimes the only link you will get for tracing a female ancestor
  • 6. Birth Records
    Number of mother's living children
    Total number of children mother has delivered
    Marital status of mother
    Number of children born [single birth, twins, etc.]
    Occupation of parents
  • 7. Marriage Records
  • 8. Marriage Record
    Marriage record from 1853 (Harlan County, Kentucky)
    Date of marriage
    Names of Bride and Groom
    Name of person performing ceremony
    J.P.= Justice of the Peace
  • 9. Marriage Records
    If the name of the officiator was Rev.
    G.W. Ball, where might we find more records of the marriage?
  • Marriage Records
    Record from 1916, which shows:
    Date and place of marriage
    Names of bride and groom
    Age of bride and groom
    Places of birth and residence
    Names of the couple’s parents
    Occupations of couple
    Name of officiator
    Names of witnesses
    This can give you other family relationships
  • 14. Death Records
  • 15. Death Records
    Place and date of death
    Marital status
    Date of birth
    Whether or not there was military service
    Cause of death, and contributing factors
    Date of injury
    Manner of death (e.g., suicide, murder, accidental, employment related)
    Where the death took place
    Name of coroner
    Funeral director
    Attending physician
  • 16. Death Records
    Not always, but a good deal of the time, the informant is a close family member, usually the next of kin
    Can help us trace other family members
    When and where buried:
    Might give us a religious affiliation
    Might also help us find other family members in the same cemetery
  • 17. Death Records
    Mortality Schedule
    Gives us:
    Name of deceased
    Marital status
    Place of birth (sometimes that of the parents as well)
    Month of death
    Cause of death
    Place of death (county, state)
    These were only used for someone who died the same year the census was taken
  • 18. Military Records
  • 19. War Registration Records
    Can give a lot of information:
    Full name
    Date and place of birth
    Name of person to contact
    Usually next of kin
  • 20. Military Records in Research
    Military records can often provide valuable information on the veteran, as well as on all members of the family.
    There are three main types of military records available:
    Compiled Records
    Pension Application and Payment Records
    Bounty Land Records
  • 21. Compiled Records
    Compiled service records consist of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. They will provide you with your ancestor's rank, unit, date mustered in and mustered out, basic biographical information, medical information, and military information.
  • 22. Pension Application and Payment Records
    Pension application files usually provide the most genealogical information. These files often contain supporting documents such as: narratives of events during service, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, pages from family Bibles, family letters, depositions of witnesses, affidavits, discharge papers and other supporting papers.
    The National Archives also has pension applications and records of pension payments for veterans, their widows, and other heirs. The pension records in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. are based on service in the armed forces of the United States between 1775 and 1916.
  • 23. How do I find military records?
    Gather information answering these questions:
    What branch of service was your ancestor in?
    Which conflict, what dates?
    Whether Regular Army or a volunteer unit?
    Whether your ancestor was an officer or enlisted personnel?
    Whether there was a pension application?
  • 24. Military Records
    When researching volunteers who served in the military for a particular war, start with the compiled military service records.
    Begin by searching the appropriate name indexes on the National Archives microfilm.
    See the original records at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
  • 25. Regular Army Listings
    Since the War Department did not compile military service records for those who served in the Regular Army, start your research with: Enlisted Men - Regular Army Enlistment Papers, 1798-1894
    Officers - Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register
    Dictionary of the Unites States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (2 vols.)
  • 26. Bounty Land Records
    Bounty land records often contain documents similar to those in pension files, with lots of genealogical information. Many of the bounty land application files relating to Revolutionary War and War of 1812 service have been combined with the pension files.
    Bounty land warrant application files relate to claims based on wartime service between 1775 and March 3, 1855. If your ancestor served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, early Indian Wars, or the Mexican War, a search of these records may be worthwhile.
  • 27. Bounty Land Records
    Many of the bounty land application files relating to Revolutionary War and War of 1812 service have been combined with the pension files. There is also a series of unindexed bounty land warrant applications based on service between 1812 and 1855, which includes disapproved applications based on Revolutionary War service. This series is arranged alphabetically by name of veteran.
  • 28. Newspaper Records
  • 29. Newspaper Records
    Miss Nancy Jeffries, teacher at Belmont, with her sister, Miss
    Blanche, spent Sunday with friends at Glendale.
    From this, we know that Nancy Jeffries is unwed, her occupation and place of work, and her sister’s name
    We are also given a new place to look for information: Glendale
  • 30. Newspaper
    Mr. Arthur Burns and Miss Mammie Ice were married in Jeffersonville, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 1917. Mr. Burns is the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Will Burns of this place. Miss Ice is a daughter of the late Mrs. Tom Ice, who was killed in the R.R. wreck here Dec. 20. Mr. Burns is a popular young farmer. Miss Ice is one of Belmont’s most beautiful young ladies. They will go to house keeping near Belmont. The Pioneer News join their many friends in wishing them a long and happy life.
    Name of both spouses
    Place and date of marriage
    Parents of spouses
    Date and place of death for the father of the bride
    Occupation of groom
    Place of residence after marriage
  • 31. Newspaper birth announcement
    Born to the wife of Emerson Welch, Dec. 28th, a fine boy.
    Not much information here
    Date of birth, county of birth
    Gender of child
    Name of father
  • 32. Newspaper Records
    What information is found in this obituary?
    Julia S. Magruder
    Mrs. Julia S. Magruder, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. H. Hawkins died in their home on March 19th of tuberculosis. Born in Hardin County, near Elizabethtown, November 29, 1886 and came to Lebanon Junction with her parents about 18 years ago. Married to Clyde V. Magruder, April 21, 1909, and they had made their home with her parents since the first of the year. Funeral in the Baptist Church by Rev. Hunt. Pallbearers: H. Welker, L. Hobson, L. Redmond, L. Whithead, W. Heizer and W. Swearingen. Buried Lebanon Junction cemetery. Survived by her parents, one sister, Mrs. J. H. Wickersham, three brothers, Harvey, Fred and George Hawkins. She had given her heart to her Master during Rev. Cates' revival. Bullitt Pioneer, 31 Mar 1911.
    • Name of deceased
    • 33. Birth date and place
    • 34. Age of deceased
    • 35. Parents’ names
    • 36. Spouse’s name
    • 37. Time period family moved to the area
    • 38. Marriage date
    • 39. Church where the funeral was held
    • 40. Name of church official
    • 41. Names of pall bearers (probably related)
    • 42. Names of survivors
    • 43. Burial place
  • Where will we look next?
    Kentucky Death Index
    Death Certificate
    1900, 1910 census of Kentucky
    Early Hardin County birth records
    Marriage certificate in county courthouse
    Which Baptist church? (Hint: look closest to the area listed in the 1910 census
    Find newspaper articles with the same preacher’s name in them to locate the church
    Check with local historians, genealogical societies, and same faith churches
  • 44. Where will we look next?
    Make a trip out to the cemetery and check the headstone for more information
    Survivors are named, look for their names on birth, marriage, death, wills, and census records as well
    Sometimes the best clues for your ancestor come from researching the entire family
    If this person were survived by children, looking for them in the same ways might help you connect with them
  • 45. Lesser-used sources
    Heritage Quest
    Find a Grave
    Daughters of the American Revolution Library
    Ellis Island Records
  • 46. Lesser-used Sources
    Searchable by:
    registry of more than 1,235,247 surname entries
    Family Tree
    currently more than 647,667,560 ancestor names
    Also make use of the message boards
    more than 132,000 message boards on related to surnames, localities, and other topics