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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Find Clues and Follow Them to Find Ancestors!

jeanne asked about her ancestor
I am trying to search my father's family tree and the only information I have is my great-father, William Rymell (Buffalo, NY). My father says that our ancestors before William's parents came over from Ireland (possibly through England). The last name may have been spelled differently such as Rimel? Can you help?

You didn't provide me with details I needed to help you. I don't know when your William was born. I don't know where. I don't know his wife's name. Any or all of those details would allow me to direct you to resources.

However, I'll walk through a list of what you can do IF your William is the William married to Ada and living in Buffalo in the 1930 census. If he's not, you will have to apply my advice below to your specific situation.

William married to Ada was born ca 1886 in Pennsylvania. He says his parents were both born in Pennsylvania. His middle initial is "A". He says he was 18 when he married. This gives a year of marriage ca 1904.

These are great clues. You can now look for him in 1900, 1910, and 1920. See what other details emerge. With any luck he will be with his parents in that 1900 census.

You can look for a marriage record ca 1904. Perhaps it will provide his parents' names and allow you to search back further.

He is also found in the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) with a date of birth 1 Mar 1886. This is another great clue, it allows you to hunt for a birth certificate and find out his parents' names.

A search in 1920 census shows his father Thomas H Rymell [sic] living with him. Thomas is 60, born Pennsylvania. More clues to follow (year of birth) Thomas gives his father and mother's places of birth so there are more clues. His father was born England according to this census.

His father must have arrived in USA before 1860 as that is the approximate year of birth for Thomas. Find the family in the 1860 and 1870 census. Find out when they immigrated. Search ships passenger lists for Thomas' father. See if Thomas' father naturalized. Lots of clues here!

Again, if this is not your William, just follow the same procedure I did. Find records, read them carefully, think about the clues and follow up on them. That's a sure fire way to find out more about your ancestors and your family tree.

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