Finding the Path Across the Genealogy Maze

By Jeannette Holland Austin

maze

Have you ever worked one of the maze puzzles in the Alzheimer's books? Once inside the maze, the idea is to find a path out. Actually, it is a good exercise for the researcher who spends years attempting to solve complicated genealogies. We expect to find marriage records, for example, but discover that many county records did not begin requiring this filing until the 1900s. But we are inside the maze and must pause to examine all of the possibilities of exit. In seeking the obvious exit, we miss tiny details which lead to answers. For example, did you realize that the people buried in the old part of a cemetery are "the neighborhood?" It is these tombstones which provide answers. Had you researched the local deed records, wills and estates, you might recognize some of the names. In other words, you are looking at the neighbors, friends and relatives of your ancestors. A closer look at the old section might turn up the husbands of certain daughters. Look closely and write down every one's name. Notice when they include a maiden name. Example: Mary Jones Smith. Gosh, Mary's parents were probably buried close by. And an examination of old wills and estates might help identify if Mary Jones belongs to your family. Thus, just as we examine every outlet in the maze, we identify every possible relationship. 

New Additions to Virginia Pioneers.net

Charles City County - Images of Wills and Estates, Bk 1, 1653-1671; Bk 2, 1691-1699; Bk 4, 1707-1709; Bk 5 1712-1716; Wills and Deeds 1706-1804; Wills 1755-1805

New Additions to SoutheasternGenealogy.com

Anderson Co. TN Wills & Estates 1830-1889

Claiborne Co. TN Wills, Invs, Estates, Bonds 1812-1921

Carter Co. TN Wills 1797-1850; 1850-1920; 1920-1937

Dickson County TN - Wills 1803-1856; 1849-1907; 1904-1929;