Friday, November 14, 2014

Methodology Friday with Isaac Young

Isaac Young (1799-1872) died in California. Where did Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG, FNGS, find the clue that led to identifying his father back in Virginia? By reading the 1898 California obituary of a woman who died more than 25 years after him; she had been married to his son Leander's partner in a sawmill. It also helped that Wilcox knew about private laws.

Wilcox's article appears in the current (September) issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. I won't spoil your pleasure in following her logic step by step, but doing so should be enough all by itself to quash the notion that genealogy means finding out "all about" your ancestor.

To find our ancestor's ancestor, we often have to study his or her friends, neighbors, and associates -- and sometimes associates of his associates! -- as if they were relatives . . . because some of them probably were. This goes double or triple for ancestors, like Isaac, whose origins lie in the "Dark Age" of US genealogy.

Harold Henderson, "Methodology Friday with Isaac Young," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 14 November 2014 ( : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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