When you’re researching your ancestors, look at their neighbors

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

When you’re doing your genealogy research, don’t forget to take a close look at your ancestors’ neighbors.

Anyone who was a neighbor, or interacted with your ancestors, is worth checking out. They might have been relatives, or might help get you beyond one of the brick walls in your research. In my recent lecture — “Your Ancestors’ Neighborhood” — I pointed out that, if you are struggling to figure out an ancestor’s maiden name, or where they may have moved from, it’s important to list all those they came in contact with. Other genealogists also emphasize that.

This is especially true as to who witnessed any wills or were the executors or administrators of an estate, or even who attended the estate sale. For the latter, check out who bought the family items, who owed the estate money, and who bought the land. The neighbors could be the near relatives, so be sure you research who sold your ancestors the land, or to whom they sold land. Then check out who the neighboring landowners were, who witnessed the deeds, and if they got part of the land as a land grant, who the chain bearers were, as they were often younger relatives. The next phase would be to check for any church records that might yield some clues, as well as who your ancestors might be buried near or with. Checking out all of the neighbors and other associates is necessary to get a broader picture of their world, especially if you have no family story, or no family Bible.

Victorian Christmas Traditions

“Victorian Christmas Traditions” will be the theme of the Georgia Archives Lunch and Learn lecture on December 9. This will be held in person at the archives and will be presented by Stately Oaks board members Beverly Lester, Karen Sullivan, Mary Anne Brannon and Tracey Messick. Some costumes will be worn. There will be a brief PowerPoint presentation, and carols will be sung. The free event starts at noon and could run long. For more information, go to GeorgiaArchives.org or call 678-364-3710. This will be a good way to kick off the holiday season.

Southern Appalachian Digital Collections

Check out southernappalachiandigitalcollections.org for a website that focuses on Southern Appalachia of Western North Carolina, North Georgia and Eastern Tennessee. It contains photographs, documents and other great information and is coordinated by two local universities.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.