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09 March 2010

It Is Not Just Me

Years ago, I had several people in a beginning genealogy class tell me that my ancestors were unique--not everyone had ancestors who left the kinds of records mine did and that my ancestors must have been different.

I don't think so. Part of it is just in how hard you look. None of my ancestors were particularly wealthy. A few lived hand to mouth and several barely hung on during the Depression. Yes, most were farmers, but not all were landowners and those that were owned typical farms for their era (agricultural census records are a great way to make these comparisons).

My in-laws left records too and they were not all farmers. Even the city dwellers who didn't own their homes left records.

The key is learning about all the records that might be available and being diligent. Leave no stone unturned---you might be surprised at what is out there.

Most importantly, ask for help or suggestions. Genealogists are a friendly bunch and you are bound to get advice and ideas---keep asking.