Tina Sansone & Sheri McNeil Savory are researchers for ResearchDNAWriters.com. During one of Tina’s research cases she came across a fascinating lady, Frances Stuart, that taught her the importance of having an open mind during the research process.
Researching our ancestors can become quite tricky at times. It is interesting to discover how much they did travel and move, although their mode of transportation is not as available as it is today. Take for example, Frances E. Stuart, born in Germantown, Tennessee in 1869. Just take a look where the research has shown her to live, not to mention she was married 5 times!
Born 1869-Germantown, 1900-Memphis, 1902-San Francisco, 1910-New York, 1915-New Orleans, 1917-Memphis, 1921-Carroll County Arkansas, 1925-Memphis, 1930-St. Louis, 1937-Angelina, Texas
It was quite an adventure documenting this fascinating lady from Germantown with all her marriages and travels. She died in 1952, but led quite an adventurous life. Although our ancestors did not all own cars as most of us do today, they did manage to travel and move around. Some of the most popular modes of transport were cars, ships, trains, horse and buggy. As you research your families, and they seem to disappear, do not be afraid to look at adjoining states, or even those farther away.
Some of the records I used to document Frances Stuart were census, marriage licenses, newspapers, archives, military, divorce, funeral home, land deeds and family letters. It is vital to use a variety of sources in order to get the full story of one’s life. Had I left out some of the resources I discovered, there were marriages and places of residence we would have overlooked.
Why is this important to you? Many times I have heard researchers say they do not need to attend a lecture for a state that their family was not known to live in. We never know where the trail we take will lead us when doing family history. As I started researching Frances Stuart in Germantown during her early years, I had no idea of all the many states I would be taken to as we documented her life. As you start investigating the lives of your family, have an open mind.
Most genealogical societies realize that most of their visitors have family that live outside their state. They will have books, maps and resources that will cover their home state, but also other states, countries, wars, etc. Access to online databases are offered at some society libraries. If you have a book or resource you need, do not forget about inter-library loan or ordering microfilm thru FamilySearch.
Something you can do to get the kids involved is to create a family map. As you move and travel, keep a record of your many adventures for your descendants to keep track of your life. I know the family of Frances Stuart found it hard to believe this young girl from Germantown, Tennessee had quite the life, and you do too.
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