Case Studies

A New Irish Family!

Of my husband’s eight great-grandparents, we know the origins of six and a half: two were descended from nineteenth-century Irish immigrants, three were descended from nineteenth-century German immigrants, one’s mother was the child of Scottish immigrants (father unknown), one was adopted, and one had early American ancestry, probably originating...

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Land Records Showed the Way

One of the first stumbling blocks I encountered in my research was the family of my great-great-great-grandfather Peter Andrews (1814-1882), father of my great-great-grandmother Rebecca (Andrews) Whetstone, who married Absalom K. Whetstone of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. A handy county-history biography of one of Rebecca and Absalom’s sons-in-law revealed the...

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The Case of the Disappearing Daughters, Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this post, I talked about my search for the daughters of James M. Galt James M. Galt (1849-1939). Part 1 showed how the probate record of the girls’ maternal grandfather David West (1823-1898) provided key information that allowed me to complete the...

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The Case of the Disappearing Daughters, Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I described my search for the daughters of James M. Galt (1849-1939) and showed how the probate record of the girls’ maternal grandfather David West (1823-1898) provided key information about their married names and whereabouts, information that enabled me to trace all but...

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The Case of the Disappearing Daughters, Part 1

Several years ago I developed a talk called “Grandpa’s Probate Solves the Case of the Disappearing Daughters,” based on what I learned from the probate records of David West (1823-1898).1 The talk illustrates several methodological principles relating to reasonably exhaustive research–researching as completely as possible the records of an...

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