Viewing Tip

If you see a large "X" at the top right of Ask Olive Tree Genealogy blog, click on the "X" to close it. Closing the "X" will give you the best viewing experience and allow you to leave a comment on a blog post

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Creative Searching is a Must for Finding More on Early Ancestors!

Cindy asked about an ancestor born in 1808. Ask Olive Tree Response: Hi Cindy. There are several alternate resources you might want to try to find to discover who your ancestor's parents were.
My brickwall is my great-great-grandmother Mary Harriet Jackson born on 8-22-1808 in Greenville, South Carolina. To continue with my family tree I need the name of at least her father. I have all kinds of information about her after she married my great-great-grandfather Daniel Ballew. Her childrens births and deaths , where she lived in North Georgia and even the fact that she died in 1885 and is buried not one mile from where I live. How does a person find information on someone born before they were listed on the census. I believe hers would be 1810. I know about checking church records and the Historical Society but all ot these things have not panned out. My best bet is the 1810 census and the finding of her father. I have tried matching male Jackson names to hers and have gotten 0 infromation. Any help would be appreciated.

1. Look for her obituary

2. Look for her children's obituaries. Any one might mention their grandparents

3. Look for a marriage record - often parents' names are included

4. Look for other Jackson individuals near her in census records after she was married. They may be relatives

5. Carefully note her children's names. Compare them to the names of her husband's parents. Did she follow a naming pattern by naming any children after her in-laws? If so she may very well have given names in honour of her own parents. Did she use a surname as a middle name for any of her children? That surname might be her own mother's maiden name.

6. Since you have an exact date of birth for your ancestor, you must have a source. Was it a church record? That will have her parents' names. Was it a family bible? If you can find her birth or baptism you will find her parents' names


  1. What about siblings? Obits and marriage records for siblings may find their names.

  2. Finding info on siblings is a great idea. However in this case no family information is known on the female ancestor so no sibling names are known. But that's an excellent suggestion which many researchers overlook!