We search through census and index records. We check postcards and old letters for hints. We view old photographs, paying attention to details such as dress, style of posing, or design of the studio. We will do anything to find clues about the time period that our ancestors lived in.
Here are some new places to search for that next genealogical breakthrough:
- Church, synagogue, or other religious group membership lists.
- City directories for the places where ancestors lived.
- Old newspapers from neighboring cities, states or even countries where your ancestors lived. These are especially useful, if your ancestors lived in smaller towns located a short distance from a larger metropolitan area.
- Luggage tags or stamps from your ancestors' suitcases can reveal where and when they traveled.
- Records such as coroners' reports, police reports, funeral homes and cemeteries, and probate records.
- Bring jewelry heirlooms to a local jeweler who may have information about the piece, its age and place it was made.
- Check inside or the backs of framed paintings, mirrors or photos. Open them up and see if anything was placed or written on the inside.
- Search online for people selling old postcards or memorabilia from towns where your ancestors lived.
- Family bibles or religious books belonging to your ancestors may be goldmines of information. A century ago or more, it may have been the only book in the house, and important information, such as the births and deaths of relatives were recorded.
- Family recipe books. Search old family recipe books for clues about where your family came from. Look for names of ethnic dishes or unusual ingredients. The names of family members who contributed recipes might be listed.
We never know where our next clue will come from. Always keep your eyes open and never be afraid to look in unusual places.
Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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