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04 November 2012

What Happened During the Gap?

I have a twenty year gap when I "lose" an ancestor. The only things I am certain of are that I cannot find him and that he moved during the period between 1850 and 1870. One approach that might be helpful is to learn about historical events that were going on during this time period and what have cause him to move. Were new territories opening up during this time? Did the Civil War impact his life?

Think about those "gaps" you have in your ancestor's life? Then get beyond your ancestor and ask yourself "what was going on outside my ancestor's life during this time period that might have caused him to move?"

5 comments:

  1. There are a couple possible resources which might provide a clue for your missing ancestor.

    If your acnestor was in a city, you can look at city directories. Some city directories date back that early. I found mine in Albany, NY and Hartford, CT for that time period.

    If they lived in a rural town (or city), you can look for town reports from that time period. I've also found ancestors from town reports in between 1850 and 1870. Even small towns kept reports, but not all town reports survived until today. I'm working on a blog post to be put out this Tuesday on using Town Reports in your genealogy. Even poor residents were listed.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have many folks with a gap because of the lack of the 1890 US Census. You have to get creative to fill in the blank.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Check prison records

    I was giving a genealogy presentation and showed a randomly selected record from the Wisconsin State Prison

    After the presentation somebody came up and asked for a
    copy - Seems nobody in their family knew what happened
    to great great uncle Fred in the mid 1800's



    ReplyDelete
  4. The Civil War took place then, which also resulted in people moving west and south - trying to find "the place" to settle.

    The great Gold Rush took place, and only some of the miners got counted in the 1860 census there, and they also were moving out of California to Idaho, Montana, Canada, searching for new gold fields.

    Look for friends and relatives - where did they stop? Picture yourself in their situation in 1850, imagine what they felt in regard to everything that was happening - moving to new lands was rampant.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Civil War took place then, which also resulted in people moving west and south - trying to find "the place" to settle.

    The great Gold Rush took place, and only some of the miners got counted in the 1860 census there, and they also were moving out of California to Idaho, Montana, Canada, searching for new gold fields.

    Look for friends and relatives - where did they stop? Picture yourself in their situation in 1850, imagine what they felt in regard to everything that was happening - moving to new lands was rampant.

    ReplyDelete