Have you checked every record you can for your ancestor? Here are some records you may want to look into.
Joan Kusek has taught genealogy for over 10 years. Her "How to Dig Up Family Roots" series was very popular at Johnson County Community College where she taught for 12 years. This legacy will continue as she will again be teaching at JCCC in the Spring of 2010.
She has also lectured throughout Kansas and Missouri with her famous talks on "Where There's No Will There's a Way" plus many other topics.
These records have often revealing information hidden inside. Land records, for instance, may have the will you've been looking for with more unexpected information. Additionally, look at the part of the land that is given to the wife. This part of the land will often be where the house was located and sometimes even the family cemetery. With this information and the land description you just may be able to locate the original house where your ancestor lived or the family plot.
My experience tracing my ancestor's was when I traveled to Kentucky on the way home from a family vacation. I found the family cemetery on the plot of grown my Baldock ancestors used to own. Just down the road was another family cemetery sitting on a parcel of land still owned by a Baldock family. My Morgan and Cravens ancestors were buried on their land and the relative was also a genealogist. She took me in and proceeded to share the family history with me. She also had a photocopier in her possession and actually photocopied records while I waited.
Another example of finding a family burial plot by researching land came on a visit I made to Schoharie County, New York. I found my Freemyers burial site on land still owned by the descendants of my Freemyer ancestors.
Your ancestor's military record may just have the family bible information you are looking for hidden in these records. Since our ancestor's did not have photocopiers they often ripped out the part of the family bible that listed birth dates and names and provided it as proof of who they were. My ancestor, Andrew Curry, did just that. I now have a copy of the Curry family bible just because I researched my ancestor's military service.
My of our ancestors didn't have a Will but they often have Probate records. In these probate records, you can find where their children lived at the time of the Probate (leading to other records and migratory patterns). Additionally, how many times have you gone to the cemetery and not been able to read the tombstone. Many times I have found the tombstone inscription in the Probate records as there is a reciept for the tombstone in these records with the inscription. You can also sometimes find what family member inherited the family bible and other cherished items.
City Directories are usually located in the local library or you can often find them microfilmed in the LDS libraries. They are somewhat like phonebooks, in that they list the name and address of people living in the cities. But they hold so much more information and clues than do phonebooks. This is a great way to find your ancestor in a big city. Plus find them inbetween Census years. It is also a way to identify those ancestor's with common names. My Clark's lived in Kansas City. Fortunately my John Clark's children worked. These children were listed with the same address as John so I was able to identify him by looking for their names and common addresses. These records also list occupation. Since these directories are published almost every year you can have a more complete records of their movements. You can also use these to see who their neighbors are. Many of these neighbors often moved together. So keep them in mind when you are looking for census records. In addition, you can use these City Directories to trace living relatives. Just start where you last found your ancestor and more forward. If they have a common name, trace them by their occupation. Watch the children and trace where they moved. If they disappear they may have died or moved, check wills, death records, and land records to see what happened. If they are female and the disappear check marriage records.
My experience ... I found my Great Aunt Jessie still living in Kansas City by searching City Directories. We had only two pictures of my grandmother, Florence Clark Elliott, because she had lost contact with her family at a very young age. My Great Aunt provided me with stories and pictures of my Grandmother and pictures of my Great- Grandfather John Henry Clark, and Great-Great Grandfather Benjamin Head Clark who fought in the Civil War.
Funeral home, sexton records, and tombstone records can reveal quite a bit of information about your relatives. Sexton records (the records of burial) can reveal relatives without tombstones, causes of death, relatives who bought the plots, and the funeral home's name. Tombstones can reveal not only name and date of death but marriage dates, spouses names, children's names, the type of person they were (by the sayings on the tombstones), and certain organizations they were a part of by the symbols on the stones. It is important to watch who is buried by them. They could be relatives so record that information also.
I just recently attended a workshop on "FootNote" records provided by the National Archives here in Kansas City. "Footnote" has a massive collection of records and has just released records from Germany. These records encompass prison camp enumerations and names, collections of art and other valuables looted from prisoners plus much more from their Holocaust Collection. "Footnotes" also has Nebraska Homestead Records, Confederate as well as Union Soldier records from the Civil War, a large collection of Revolutionary War Records, plus much more. This is a worthwhile source for diving head first into your family research.
Don't have the time to spend researching your family. If you would like help with your research, please write or call Joan Kusek, Professional Research at: VntgPrdcts@gmail.com
What a great experience!
Active Member: Association of Professional Genealogists