Genealogy: Look for cultural naming patterns

PatternBy Barry J. Ewell
Many cultures have very specific naming patterns that provide important clues in identify family units that may be connected from one generation to the next. When you are working on a family you know to be a specific religion or nationality, check to see if there are naming patterns common to that group. Continue reading

Genealogy: Changing boundaries affect where you find ancestor records

Changing boundariesBy Barry J. Ewell
From its earliest foundation, the population of the United States continued to grow and move west.  The expansion was cause for constant geographic boundaries changing with counties dividing and sub-dividing, new states being created, towns growing into cities, communities changing their names.  Changing boundaries will affect where you find ancestor records. Records created in a specific time and location usually stayed in the county where they were created. Continue reading

Genealogy: A local historian helped me discover ancestral details


Genealogy: A local historian helped me discover ancestral detailsBy Barry J. Ewell

I’ve learned by personal experience that without the help of local experts, I am only marginally successful in understanding and researching local and regional resources.

I was in Virginia with other family genealogists. From previous research we had done, we knew the address of land that was once owned by my progenitor Maxcey Ewell, who had moved there with his father-in-law, John Mullins, and some friends with the surname Maupin. With the help of the rental car’s GPS, we were guided to a dirt-road turnoff. Now what? There wasn’t an address to be found anywhere. Continue reading

Genealogy: Finding clues in family naming patterns

Finding clues in family naming patternsfournBy Barry J. Ewell

As you search for your ancestor, one of the clues to help identify family is when you see the same names used again and again. Many cultures have long made it a practice to honor their elders by naming their children after them. Just when one suggests that you can find family based on a naming pattern, that’s when your family won’t follow the pattern. You will, however, see names of parents and grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles repeated, but not in any strict order. While over half of the Continue reading

Genealogy census tip: Using 1860-1900 migration patterns to find records

Migration trailBy Barry J. Ewell
Between 1860 and 1900 the Civil War is still very fresh in the minds and lives of Americans. Families are on the move. Don’t be surprised if you are finding your family living in different locations with each census within the same county, state and region.  Each place they lived will be cause to search for records.  The following is the process I have used for using the family migration patterns between 1860-1900 to research and find records. Continue reading

Genealogy Immigration/Migration: Revealing clues to finding the origin of your immigrant ancestors

Revealing clues to finding the origin of your immigrant ancestorsBy Barry J. Ewell

Migration Patterns for Genealogists: Think Like a Historian
One of the most important considerations in finding your ancestor is immigration research.

Look at immigration from a historian’s point of view by trying to understand what your ancestors did and why.

As a genealogist, you wonder why your ancestors migrated. You look for clues that might direct you to the birthplace in the country of origin. As genealogists, the first thing we do is start searching through deeds, wills, bible records, and other such documents. Continue reading