Author Topic: First time attempting US research  (Read 290 times)

Offline Simon Mead

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First time attempting US research
« on: Tuesday 24 July 18 06:37 BST (UK) »
My brother in law in Virginia would like to research his family tree and I've said that I'd be happy to assist. However I'm unsure where to start, presumably with his birth certificate? I do have Ancestry access so can do searches for various documents but what I'd really like is a road map of the steps to take and was wondering if anyone out there could point me in the right direction?
Researching
WRIGHT of Buckinghamshire
HALL of Froxfield, Hampshire
MEAD of Long Marston, Hertfordshire
MUDD of Yorkshire/Lancashire
SCHMITT of London
JULIUS of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
ENGEL of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
PHILLIPS of Kent
GRANT of Dundee
PUNTER of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

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Online amondg

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 24 July 18 07:17 BST (UK) »
Are his parents alive?  if so start with the grandparents on both sides however if they are living as well you will need written permission from all parties to do any searches.
Have him give you as much information as he can remember, where they lived, where are they buried, where they were born. Aunts and Uncles etc. The usual routine.

The census for 1940 could be a starting point, you should find them there and work backwards.

Never ask a living person give their personal details.   

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Offline Simon Mead

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 24 July 18 07:44 BST (UK) »
Thanks. No, parents both dead and subject b. 1934. Am awaiting any certificate details he might have.
Researching
WRIGHT of Buckinghamshire
HALL of Froxfield, Hampshire
MEAD of Long Marston, Hertfordshire
MUDD of Yorkshire/Lancashire
SCHMITT of London
JULIUS of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
ENGEL of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
PHILLIPS of Kent
GRANT of Dundee
PUNTER of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 24 July 18 07:50 BST (UK) »
He could try filling in these and record what is known....then try to fill in the blanks and work back.

https://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/support-files/free-genealogy-forms-paternal.pdf

https://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com/support-files/free-genealogy-forms-maternal.pdf


How much does he know already??

Offline Simon Mead

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 24 July 18 09:12 BST (UK) »
Not sure how much is known, he's gathering data. I will continue this when I know more though.
Researching
WRIGHT of Buckinghamshire
HALL of Froxfield, Hampshire
MEAD of Long Marston, Hertfordshire
MUDD of Yorkshire/Lancashire
SCHMITT of London
JULIUS of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
ENGEL of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
PHILLIPS of Kent
GRANT of Dundee
PUNTER of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

Offline oldohiohome

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 24 July 18 11:08 BST (UK) »
Civil records are held by the county and state in all states but 6. Those 6 are the New England states. In New England, the civil records are held by the city or town and the state. Some years ago, the city and town charged less than the state for records, I'm not sure if that is still the case.

Restrictions vary from state to state on availability of records especially to non-relatives. You might need him to do the requests and he might need proof of descent. I've never worked with Virginia records.

The site stevemorse.org might help you in searching Ellis Island and census records if you have trouble finding them. You will need a few minutes patience to learn how his site works. It is especially helpful with Ellis Island, and I have used his Census finder to locate addresses on various censuses when I can't find the person.

Ancestry.com US has a lot of city directories. I don't know how many the UK put out, but every city in the US seems to have had city directories in the past. - Listings year by year - arranged alphabetically by surname, giving their address. Good for locating relatives also, if they are living at the same address or very close by. Some city directories include a cross-reference by street address.

There are city directories on other sites as well.

Biographical histories by county were popular in the late 1800's. You might find an ancestor in one, if so it often gives his parents, children, religion, sometimes origin in Europe, etc. Google for 'biographical history of --- county' or somesuch to find them. Also some counties have good rootsweb or genweb sites that tell you what resources are available.

Local librarians have been very helpful to me as well. They usually will make photocopies of newspaper articles if you can give them a date. Good for looking for death notices and obituaries. They have never asked if I was related, though I usually tell them if I am.

An obvious one: findagrave.com. I don't know how much coverage they have in the UK, but lots of coverage in the US. Catholic cemeteries some, but not as much as others.

Boundaries changed often, if the ancestor seems to have moved from census to census, it might just be that a new township, borough, county, etc., was formed or changed boundaries. Write down every place mentioned at the top of a census form, Post Office included. It will help you find them on a map to keep things straight. And you can usually find an old map of any area you are interested in.

And Virginia is incorporated funny, but I forget how. I think all the cities are stand alone counties or something like that. You might need to learn about it, I don't know.


Cambridgeshire: Billups, Cropley; Derbyshire: Jenkinson, Gratton; Co Down: O'Rourke, Rodgers, Cunningham

Offline Simon Mead

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 02:05 BST (UK) »
Many thanks for those tips. I'll be back.
Researching
WRIGHT of Buckinghamshire
HALL of Froxfield, Hampshire
MEAD of Long Marston, Hertfordshire
MUDD of Yorkshire/Lancashire
SCHMITT of London
JULIUS of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
ENGEL of Nußbaum, Bad Kreuznach, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
PHILLIPS of Kent
GRANT of Dundee
PUNTER of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

Offline shellyesq

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Re: First time attempting US research
« Reply #7 on: Wednesday 25 July 18 13:49 BST (UK) »
Civil records are held by the county and state in all states but 6. 

Who holds the records depends on location and time frame.  Many states did not require statewide vital registration until the late 1800's or early 1900's.  There are some places where the city will maintain their own records - New York City, for example, still handles its vital records completely separately from the state. 

Family Search Wiki can be helpful in figuring out what exists by state or on a more local level.  Search for wherever you're looking on this page - https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Main_Page  This page has a lot of helpful links to see what is available online for vital and other records - https://www.deathindexes.com/sites.html