Records most commonly used to document the vital details for your ancestor often do not exist before 1900. You have to be creative if you are to find the clues that you need, and Heritage Quest Online has many resources that may help you document your ancestor.
Heritage Quest Online is accessible through many libraries, and you may even be able to access it from home using your library card. Check your library website for research or genealogy
resources to see if it is listed there. For a list of libraries that provide free access to Heritage Quest Online see: HeritageQuestOnline.
Databases available through Heritage Quest include:
Census records from 1790 to 1940
Books- More than 28,000 local andfamily historybooks
PERSI Archive – Index to over 2.3 million genealogy articles from 1800 to 2009
Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files
Freedmen’s Bank Records 1865-1874
U. S. Serial Set – Memorials, petitions, and private relief actions of the US Congress
Research challenge resolved
It is particularly challenging to determine the maiden name of female ancestors before 1900. The Heritage Quest e-books database has helped to resolve many questions and has provided the names of several generations of ancestors which made it possible to locate historical documentation and other evidence.
It was fairly easy to document James A. Tucker (1801-1885) of Union County, South Carolina and his ancestral line because each male left a will naming their children. All that was known about the wife of James was that her name was Anna. Nothing so far has been found among archive records,
Fortunately, a search on James A. Tucker turned up the book, “Some of the ancestors and descendants of James and George Ashford Jr. of Fairfield County, South Carolina,” written by Charles Rabb Ashford in 1956. The Ashford family was not even on the radar as being associated in anyway with the Tuckers. James A. Tucker was the only reference to Tuckers mentioned in the book.
As it turns out, James A. Tucker was mentioned because he had married into the family. Moses Ashford, son of George Ashford, was one of the only children to purchase land in Union County, South Carolina where his daughter, Anna met and married James A. Tucker. If Charles, Rabb Ashford had not recorded the husband of his distant cousin, Anna’s ancestry would still be a mystery. One must consider this when weighing the importance of researching collateral lines. At any rate, this is only one of many brick walls to be resolved through Heritage Quest Online.