Places to Find People IN Your Family History Research

Places to Find People

The following are places to find people you are looking for in your family history research. Naturalization records, passenger lists, census records,vital records and obituaries.

The first document to look for is the passenger list of any of your immigrant ancestors. Here we can find out if your ancestor entered the country alone or with family members. Should your ancestor be the head of the family, then the document will state the relationship of each individual listed. The document will also show former residence, usually city and country.

Here is a case that is different: I am helping a 94 year old friend search for information on her father. She was aware that he had been married previously, as she had an older half-brother and sister.

I found 2 passenger lists in the early 1900s', when he and his first wife returned to Germany for a visit. It listed the husband and wife and 2 children. The return to the United States must have been sad for the wife was not among them and a little baby girl had been born. It appears that the deceased wife's sister
joined the family on the return home. Why do I know this, the lady's first name was the same as the baby's and it stated she was related to the head of the family by marriage.

When reading these documents read every word and if you can't read a name or word, get out your magnifying glass.

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Next is the census records, One of the best places to find people. The census is taken every 10 years in the United States in the zero (0) year. In England, Scotland the census is taken every 10 years in the (1) year.

In the United States the 1850 census is the one that starts requesting more information and every one thereafter asks different questions beyond the head of household, wife and children. Again do not scan over this document.

Take a look at our page:

Family History for Beginners.

We have vital records: birth, marriage, death, these records are kept at the county level.

The birth will list the baby's name, father and mother, also in some cases the mother's maiden name. Many birth certificate lists the residence, which may be in another city. When helping another friend, I found a city that stated that this child was number 5 born of this mother. Since I found the birth of
most of her children this statement was on each birth record, except each child its' own number.

Marriage records can give a us much information depending on the time period. I understand that it was after 1900 when most states started using application forms. This application usually has the name of the bride and groom, each party fills in their personal information.

Parents names (including mother's maiden name) are your parents living and where. Have you ever been married
before, if so how did it end: death, divorce. No matter the time period if one or both were under the age of 21 years old, usually the father, or guardian or a male relative gave consent for the under age person to wed.

Here are two other places to find people:

Death records have information a plenty but beware it may not be accurate. If it is a spouse the survivor may or may not know the names of parents of the deceased person. Usually the information is date of death, date of birth, surviving spouse, informant, parents names. Some also list the address, city & state the deceased lived in. Also the immediate cause of death, place of burial, if known.

Obituaries are also loaded with information and again beware of accuracy. Of course the name of deceased, possibly the names of parents, any brother and sisters. In most obits I have seen they usually mention any brother or sister or parent who pre-deceased the person in the obituary.

Sometimes they mention organizations the person belonged to, also the church affiliation is mentioned if the person was a long time member or long time church worker. In the last 10 years I have noticed many obits have a photograph of the deceased.

One of the places to find people that I did not mention is: naturalization records. There is much to be found in these documents and I will be creating 1 or 2 pages on this subject.

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