Saturday, December 5, 2015


We normally approach our research in a straight forward method, but sometimes we need to approach our research from untraditional angles.  An example from my own experiences is, while trying to find the marriage of a brother of my great great grandfather, I entered Able Colley and Catherine ca 1830-40 in Ohio on the Ancestry search engine and came up blank.  So I decided to try another approach, I entered just their 1st names, approcimate dates and state and found Abel Caltes & Catherine Spencer married on31 Oct 1835 in Gallia Co., Ohio.  Other later records confirm Catherine's maiden name was Spencer.  So the spelling of Catles on the transcribed marriage record was obviously a case of human interpretation/error when reading the original document.  

If I hadn't approached this from a sideways approach I would have never found the record.   So, a note of caution: Don't accept a transcribed record as 100% accurate.  When humans are involved in copying info they make mistakes.

Another trick:  When individuals are listed as "Private" or "Living" on an Ancestry family page, don't give up.  Try looking in the gallery for photos.  Often people identify individuals in family photos by name.  OR, do a web search for an obituary for one or the other of the parents.   

Be sure to check every possible spelling variation you can think of when searching for your ancestors.  I fund the following spellings for Caulley: Corley, Cawley, Cauley, Caulley, Colley, Cadey, Calley, Cally, Calty, Candy, Canley, Carley, Carolea, Caroley, Cassley, Cauelley, Caughlley, Caully, Cauly, Cawly, Colby , Coley, Collay, Colle, Collie, Colly, Conley, Cooley, Corlley, Corly, Cosley, Couley, Cowley, Crawley, Croley,
Crowl, Crowley, Culy, Culley, Cunley, Curley, M'Caulley & McCaulley 

Be sure to check out all the surrounding counties of the one you know where your ancestors lived, you never know where they may have lived.  
If you can't find your ancestor n the census, find their in-laws then look several pages before and after them.  You just might be surprised. 

Don't get tied into an exact date of birth.  I've seen the age be off by as much as 20 years on the census.

Don't skip over ANY record set from the area where your ancestors lived.  I recently found a clue that MAY help me find out more about my ancestor, Hugh Kirkpatrick.  He is known to have lived in Chester Co PA and his brother, John, is known to have lived in Kennett Township, just north of the Delaware/Pa state line in 1720.  John was known to have given money to buy the land for the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church, which as it turns out was in Christiana Hundred, Delaware.  A couple of days ago I took the time to hunt through all the Pennsylvania Historical Society's Manuscript Index Cards then I found the following:

I now have a closer indication as to when Hugh arrived and I know there was a connection with a William Kirkpatrick -- yet another piece to my family puzzle. 

Lastly, you can find family connections (parents, children) if you find your ancestor on  

I hope these few hints and suggestions help you in your research.


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