The Life From The Roots blog topics have changed several times since I began this blog. In 2009, with my first posts, I wrote only about the family history I had been working on for 20 years. Many ancestors lived in New England so it was easy to visit gravesites and towns where they lived. I shared many photo. Years later, I was into visiting gardens, historical homes, churches, libraries that had genealogical collections, historical societies, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history. I enjoy posting autographs and photos of famous people I met or saw.

My New England roots are in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire). Other areas include New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada.

Please check out the labels on the right side for topics. Below the labels and pageviews is a listing of my top nine posts, according to Google. Four of them pertain to Lowell, MA, three are memorials, one about a surname and one about a discovery I made. These posts change often because they are based on what people are reading.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Madness Monday -- A Hint that May Solve Your Female Brick Wall

What madness we experience when we try to search for a female for whom we don't know her surname. In October 2009, I posted an excellent article Genealogy Tips for Finding Females That Matter to You (it wasn't written by me).  The other day, my mind wandered to the day I solved a "brick wall" for Polly, surname unknown.  In the past five years, I've only been able to solve two "brick walls" you all know it is a slow process. This one was solved quite unexpectedly, while I was sitting one Sunday afternoon at the New England Historical and  Genealogical Library (NEHGS) in Boston.

I was working on my Kelsey line from Killingworth, Connecticut, and using a Kelsey genealogy I had used many times before. While flipping through the index, the surname DAVIS caught my eye. I already knew I had a lot of DAVIS in that town, but right there in alphabetical order, was "Kelsey, Polly born May 30, 1786; died before Dec. 11, 1833; married __ Davis." What, her last name was Kelsey, I couldn't believe it was right there in front of me. I wasn't even looking for her, I was just flipping pages looking for something else.

The other day, while working on the DAVIS line, I thought of a few hints to share. First, don't be afraid to work on a common surname, such as DAVIS, there are four generations of this family in Killingworth, my research turned out to be very easy because they never moved. You could be lucky too, so don't put off those names like Wright, Smith and Miller.  Do a genealogy custom report for the town your ancestor lived, just to see what the other names your database turns up. When I did it for Killingworth, I had 814 people born in that town (didn't bother with deaths). Many of the families have also been in the town for many generations. Three of my families have wonderful and well-sourced genealogies, they are:

1. Claypool, Edward and Azalea Clizbee, A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Kelsey, Vol. 2, (Pub. Tuttle, Morehouse and Taylor Co., 1928).
2. Barlow, Claude Willis, John Steevens of Guilford, Connecticut, (Rochester, NY: John M. Stephens, 1976).
3. Hull, Robert E., The Ancestors and Descendants of George Hull and Thamzen Mitchell, (Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc., 1994).

Try to locate books for your particular area and check out the indexes. If I had looked in the index for Davis when I used the Kelsey book several years prior, I could have solved this "brick wall" much sooner. Last note, I know some people shy away from the index, but you really need to use all sources, especially if you are trying to solve a "brick wall."

I will be posting her tombstone photo on Tuesday, April 5, 2010.