Once you have all of your facts collected in one location, it is time to
record them on a timeline. Log every life event you have found for your
ancestor, from birth to death. Then look for blank spots that need to be filled.
What facts and dates about this ancestor are still missing? Do you have birth,
marriage and death dates? Parents names? Each question that you have most
likely has several sources where you can look for the answer. Create a list of
the sources/places you have already checked, whether or not they yielded any
clues. Have you tried
Sources for Missing Genealogy Information
- BIRTH DATE OR LOCATION: Vital Records, Church Records, Newspaper Notices,
Family Sources, Military Records, Census, Cemetery Records,
Immigration/Emigration Records, Land Records, Will/Probate Records
- DEATH DATE OR LOCATION: Death Certificates, Church Records, Newspaper
Notices, Cemetery & Funeral Home Records, Family Sources, Census Mortality
Schedules, Military Records, Will/Probate Records, Land Records, Social Security
- MARRIAGE: Marriage Certificates, Marriage Banns, Marriage License, Marriage
Bonds, Death Certificates, Church Records, Newspaper Notices, Family Sources,
Census, Cemetery Records, Pension Records, Land Records, Will/Probate Records
- DIVORCE/MARITAL STATUS: Court Records, Divorce Records, Newspaper Notices,
Vital Records, Military Pension Records, Family Sources
- MAIDEN NAME: Marriage Record, Church Records, Newspaper Notices, Bible
Records, Military Pension Records, Will/Probate Records, Cemetery Records
- IMMIGRATION/EMIGRATION DATE: Ships Passenger Lists, Naturalization &
Citizenship Records, Newspaper Records, Census (1900 on)
- COUNTRY/TOWN/PARISH OF ORIGIN: Ship Passenger Lists, Naturalization
Records, Vital Records, Military Records, Census Records (Individuals
birthplace from 1850; birthplace of individuals father and mother from 1880),
Obituaries, Church Records
- NAMES OF PARENTS: Census Records, Vital Records, Newspaper Notices
(wedding, engagement, obituary), Church Records, Social Security Records,
Adoption Records, Family Sources, Cemetery Records, Land Records, Will/Probate
- NAME OF SPOUSE: Marriage & Divorce Records, Census Records, Church
Records, Family Sources, Military Pension Records, Will/Probate Records,
Newspaper Notices, Cemetery Records
Two genealogy books that I often check for inspiration are
The Source: A
Guidebook of American Genealogy, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs & Sandra
Hargreaves Luebking and
Hidden Sources: Family History in Unlikely Places, by
Laura Szucs Pfeiffer. Both of these books list pages of sources for finding a
wide variety of answers and I can usually find inspiration for sources that I
have previously overlooked. In Henriettas case they prompted me to look for
church records (none found), guardianship records (no luck) and a newspaper
announcement of her marriage and obituary (still on my to do list).
For more information:
Using Timelines in Your Genealogy
Creating a timeline for a particular ancestor or family group
shows not only what events may have influenced their lives, but also helps you
to determine further avenues for research.
How Do I Find Parent's Names?
A step-by-step guide to finding the names of your ancestor's parents.
How Do I Find a Birth Date or Location?
A step-by-step guide to finding your ancestors birth record or
How Do I Find a Marriage Date or
A step-by-step guide to finding your ancestors marriage record or
How Do I Find a Death Date or Location?
A step-by-step guide to finding your ancestors death record or
Next page > Are you an informed researcher?
Counties have ancestors too