TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Research Tips


I just sent out an email to a distant cousin pointing out some things about researching that might help in the search of the proof we need from one generation to the next.

I pointed out several reasons why records do not get discovered.
1. Not looking in the right locations or in the right files.
2. Not looking for the right surname (how it is indexed).
3. Not recognizing all of the various spellings or even mis-spellings.
4. Some records may be recorded many years after an event under the names of grandchildren or even great-grandchildren.
5. I would suggest that there are many more reasons!

Perhaps this will give someone a tip that might help them knock down a brick wall... it has worked for me several times (but not every time, of course). Here was my message (modified to fit here):

I descend from David Ferguson (born 1785 Halifax Co., VA) and Elizabeth Bomar of Hart & Larue County area of Kentucky. We believe that Sarah Francis Ferguson wife of Prosser Cruse was their daughter. So, far there is no solid proof of that. According to an article in the Hart County Historical Society's newsletter, a list of those with a will was published. This list even had the volume & page number... great index. However, the records were destroyed by a fire.

I would suggest that any 10 people could go through a lot of boxes of records and 9 could miss one little record that the 10th. person found that contains the info everyone was looking for. I have accidentally found information that some excellent, experienced genealogists did not connect to our history. I have been researching for about 50 years, now; and, I will say that until you find what you are looking for... you have not looked hard enough or in the right places.

The Clan Ferguson Society would not accept that Elizabeth Cruse (who married Anderson H. Gardner) as the daughter of Prosser Cruse & Sarah Francis Ferguson. I used records filed in Larue County for the estate settlement of the Prosser Cruse Estate in Hart County. It seemed that every genealogist that had worked on this family did not even know about Prosser's oldest daughter Elizabeth. But, there were many records of her in the estate records including several generations down the line. So, who knows there may be some estate records that may exist in deeds or other files that will show David Ferguson's will, especially in Larue County (or other surrounding counties). Another reason why these records are not found is that researchers are looking mostly for David Ferguson (or just Ferguson with its various spellings - another problem), but do not look for records filed under the surnames of the descendants or other heirs. For example a search for William W. Brooks could turn up information on his wife's grandfather David Ferguson or grandmother Elizabeth [Bomar] Ferguson. Brooks was married to Martha Cruse - a daughter of Prosser Cruse & Sarah Francis Ferguson. You could search under James Tobias Long, Jr. and find records that could go back as far as John Bomar the father of Elizabeth Ferguson - this could be as much as 20, 50 or even longer after the original event. Long married Nancy Francis Gardner the grand daughter of Sarah Francis Ferguson.

-Submitted by JGWest

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