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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Steps to Locating Extended Family

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Azoreg, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Baby_Mother_Grandmother_and_Great_Grandmother.jpg
Researching your ancestors might make you so much more curious about them, and many times the things you would really like to know cannot be found among the documents that you discover. Family historians often wish they could ask questions of those who have passed on. If you have felt this way, you do not need to stay completely in the dark. This series will help you to connect to descendants who might be living.

First things first
The first and most common thing to do is to choose an ancestor, and ask family members about distant cousins or relatives that they know are still alive. Complete a family group sheet and family tree for those you discover so that you can understand how they are related to you. Contact them as soon as you can to speak to them about what they know.
Be sure to ask them about their siblings and other family members who may also be alive. 

Finding a branch of the family may link you to a new set of stories about your ancestor especially if extended family is eager to share memories and photographs. It is even more exciting if they are able to connect you to other extended family members who they have kept in touch with through the years.

Search the census
Another way to locate family members who are still living is to to become familiar with each person on the ancestral line that you choose. Doing this without the help of other family members requires that you research your family going forward on the census. This will help you recognize the names of their siblings, spouses and children.

Tracing the family forward
For example, the family of Anderson Chick was researched every ten years from 1870 to 1930. Each of the children who started their own families were located on the census and researched forward to 1930. The 1940 Census was not available at the time of that research, so it is more plausible for you to have that much more success with another ten years to account for your family.

It makes for a lot of work if the family groups had a several children, but that also gives you more possibilities of finding a living relative. These particular census findings are shared because they led straight to the doorsteps of several family members currently living:
  • 1900 Census – Anderson Chick with wife Elenia and children
  • 1910 Census – Elenia is widowed and living with children who remain at home: Frank, Pettus, Clarence, and Coleman
  • 1920 Census – Elenia living with sons, Frank, Pettus, and Coleman
  • 1930 Census – Elenia passed away before the 1930 Census. This is one of her sons, Pettus. Each of the Chick children and their families were traced up to the 1930 Census.

Be sure you have located everyone on that ancestral line that you can on each census up to 1940. Make a list of each person that you find in 1940.

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