Genealogy #8: Overlooked Sources, part 1

Overlooked Sources, part 1

Chances are, if you’ve spent much time researching your genealogy at all, you’ve already found which sources are your favorites.
Many of these highlighted in previous posts include such items as census lists, military records, and utilizing on-line sites like and
These are still all excellent sources, of course, but if you don’t find what you are looking for (or even if you do) you may choose to continue your search in other ways.

There are many, many different sources out there, in fact so many that I really could not hope to list them all and still make this post available to you this year!
In all honesty, brand-new genealogists are better at this than dyed-in-the-wool old hands, because as I stated before, we genealogists tend to choose our favorite sources early on…and then we forget to continue foraging for further information, later.
Thus, this is just a sampling of sources that I hope will help you think more creatively when trying to track down information that remains elusive.

1. Census Indexes.
Along with census lists, often there were census indexes printed that listed only the head of household.
While you would still then need to track down the original source to see who else lived in the household, this source is particularly useful when you don’t know much about the family.

For example, I was searching for the father of Sarah Caleb Doyle, born in Kentucky 1805. (This was literally all I knew).
So, I first went to the 1810 Kentucky Census Index, and wrote down all the Doyle families in Kentucky that year, along with their home counties. (There weren’t that many in 1810).
Then…I crosschecked to see who had a daughter that fell into the right age grouping.
This was tougher, as little Sarah might have been 5 or 6 when the census was taken, depending on when her (unknown) birthday fell.

But as it happened, only one family had a female of that age grouping: Farmer Doyle, in Shelby County.
I was excited to find this, but I knew this was only circumstantial evidence.

Still, it was a lead!

So, months and months later during subsequent research, I discovered my Doyle Family was from Shelbyville, Kentucky!
Rushing back to my notes, I found Shelbyville is indeed in Shelby County.
Now I definitely keep census indexes in the forefront of my research…they can be very helpful!

More to come in Overlooked Sources, part 2.


2 thoughts on “Genealogy #8: Overlooked Sources, part 1

  1. I’ve found lots of goodies for free at Chronicling America, the library of Congreses digital newspaper site. There are so many papers not yet scanned so I’m thinking over the next 5 to 10 years of all the more that will go digital.

    1. Yes, there is so much information yet to be uncovered. I agree, more and more information will become accessible even faster, now. The online sites are mind-boggling, they are so plentiful and varied. Helps to share sources, though. Thanks for the read…and the comment! 🙂

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