Bits of Paper Add up to Ancestors

Most genealogy detectives write down every smidget of information, no matter how insignificant it appears at the time. The reason is obvious. Sooner or later, these names will reappear in the study, especially in deed records, estates, marriages, immigration records and on tombstones in church yards. That is because the witnesses etc. were neighbors and relatives.

What we are gathering is the “old neighborhood. “ As people moved around searching for fertile soil, they pplied for land patents and grants. Did you remember to match the acreage of the patent, grant or bounty land with that in the tax records where your ancestor resided? The tax records might seem to be an unimportant resource, however, this is where fo find owned assets, the amount of acreage and where it was located. From year to year, the acreage could be different, as the owner passed his land down to his children. For better understanding of what was transpiring, look for odd amounts of land owned by everyone with the same surname, and do a mathematical chart on who owned what from one year to the next.

If John Doe declared 404 acres of land, and later only 200 acres was reported, then another Doe person might show 204 acres. That would be a relative, probably a son. Moreover, such details help to establish kin ships and a better knowledge of the family. Old plats are helpful because they ascertain land districts, sections and lots as well as the lay of the land in conjunction with local streams, rivers, and the names of neighbors.

Details might seem trivial at the time, each smidget helps to solidify the lineage as the work progresses. The amount of acreage included in bounties, such as revolutionary war pensions, were specific to the length of time during which the soldier served. Another interesting detail, because now one can examine the name of the General or Colonel who signed the certificate awarding the bounty and follow that commanders war activities. In other words, now you have the details of the battles where your ancestor fought. It is the details of genealogical discoveries which piece together a unique history, true to the facts and more accurate even than what one reads in the history books.

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Jeannette Holland Austin

Jeannette Holland Austin

Author of 100+ genealogy books. Owner of 8 genealogy websites available by subscription. https://georgiapioneers.com/subscribe/subscribe.html