September 29, 2021
For years, I have been working on tracing back my maternal grandfather’s family. Unfortunately, I hit a brick wall at my great-great-grandfather. I searched the usual databases and county histories in MCPL’s online catalog but had no luck. It felt like I’d searched everywhere, and I wondered if it was a brick wall that I might not be able to get past. Over the past year, I decided to really focus on that line of my family tree and see what I could find. I wanted to be thorough and make sure I did not miss anything, so I started re-checking databases and websites for that family.
Even though I had searched findagrave.com many, many times, I decided to search it again. The couple I was looking for was said to have died around 1853, so I was not too hopeful. However, because volunteers supply FindAGrave’s content, additions happen constantly. Lo and behold, two days before I searched the website again, someone had added information about the couple! The information listed not only confirmed the couple I was stuck on, but also got me a generation past them. Through FindAGrave, I was also able to contact the person who added the information. I learned she wrote an article on my family, and she also helped me get in contact with a distant cousin. This, in turn, provided more information, family stories, and photographs of family members—all from checking a website for an umpteenth time!
Genealogy databases and websites constantly add to their collections, whether it be adding new scanned images or indexing previously uploaded content. Even if you have checked a database before for an ancestor, it is always worth checking again to see if new content has been added. For example, FamilySearch.org posts newly added content each month here. On Ancestry Library Edition, you can see updated collections by clicking on “New Collections” in the black bar across the top of the page.
Have you suddenly had luck finding sources with a database you checked previously?
Midwest Genealogy Center
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