You may be wondering what you can learn about a bunch of people who died long ago. A lot! I joined Ancestry.com because it is easier to find and verify information. I have a notebook that I’m planning to fill with what I have found so far, eventually. For now I’m enjoying putting it online.
Just from census records you can find occupations, spouse, and children. You just need to know where they lived and when. Most of my Yankee ancestors are from Jamestown, New York which makes my job easier.
Death certificates are also full of wonderful information (I know that sounds morbid, but follow me for a moment). Most of them list parents of the deceased, spouse, and possibly a child. The cause of death can also tell you a lot about their lifestyle, occupation, hobbies, etc. For instance, I learned that one of my great uncles was a farmer in North Carolina. He died when his tractor fell on him.
Newspapers.com hasn’t really helped me a whole lot, but some people have great luck finding information in old newspapers. I did find one story where a cousin of mine was shot in the head with bird shot. She survived for many years after that.
A marriage certificate can also tell you a lot about a person. Did they marry for love? Was the bride forced to marry by poor parents? I have found the latter up into the 1970s. For love, well, my dear great aunt must have dearly loved her husband to become Rhoda Missouri Midgett. They had ten children so she at least loved one thing about him.
Most states have genealogy departments. Some are more helpful than others. Give them a call and ask questions, you may get more information than you ever imagined.
What information have you found about your family?