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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beauty and the Beast

Find your ancestors and turn the Beast into the Prince!
Genealogists need more than the census records which only find our ancestors back to about 1850.  I say this, because, even though the census began in 1790 in the US, those early records are incomplete so far as the names, ages and place of birth of all family members is concerned.  Beautiful, lots of good stuff from 1850 to 1940. Lo! But the Beast cometh.  The real digging begins about 1849 and the genealogist has to ponder what records to research next, and where.  The answer to that is county records where your ancestors resided.  In America everything is structured to record an individual 's purchasing and selling in the local counties where he has resided or does reside.  Starting with the marriage license to the purchasing of homes, then recording of deeds and even after death, one must do a thorough job of those records.  When you get back as far as the 16th century, this is the time to start researching parish records. There are some of these in the 17th and 18th centuries in the US, but you are going to have to search book and microfilm collections.  Many persons do not find their ancestor's names on ship passenger lists and manifests.  This is because only a small portion of these important documents has been collected and published.  This is why local county records are so important!  It tells where that person came from!  Therefore, you try to locate all of their deed transactions, no matter where they were.  Then, get into the tax digests to see where the acreage was located.  Then, of course, the wills and estates are chock full of information, especially the 17th and 18th century wills and deeds in the State of Virginia. It is a piece-by-piece puzzle, and very rewarding when the history of your people begin to materialize.  In the meanwhile, the following websites have collected a slew of original documents that you cannot find elsewhere on the internet.  Become a member now (Tennessee)

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  7. (Graduates database from ca 1830 to 1925)
  8. (Digitized Wills in counties of: Carter 1794-1830; Jefferson 1802-1810;Johnson 1839-1900;Unicoi 1878-1887; Washington 1779-1800)

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