Genealogy research includes census, online, library, society, archives, and people all working together. The family historian will use all of the above. The following example will demonstrate how to research from the known to the unknown.
Census online – Heritage Quest, Family Search, Ancestry, USGenWeb – The 1880 U.S. population schedule reveals L.W. Dunham in Howard, Brown County, WI. Esther is listed as the wife of L.W. The 1870 U.S. population schedule reveals Lindsey Dunham in Howard, Brown County, WI. Esther and Jay are listed in the same house. Before the 1880 census, no relationships are established. After researching other records, Esther is determined to be Lindsey William’s wife and Jay Forrester is their son.
Library – online, written request, or visit – A written request for the divorce action file dated 1856 for Lindsey William Dunham provided testimony from William F. Dunham. William F. stated that he is the father of Lindsey. The request for the court records was sent to Coffin Library, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI.
Society – history, vital records, court records, area surname indexes, cemetery records, newspaper indexes – Every society is unique in what is offered. The index for the pre-1907 birth, marriage, and death records for the Dunham family is available on the Wisconsin Historical Society website. As a member of the Wisconsin Historical Society, the researcher will receive a discount for vital records. This author has received Lindsey, Esther and Jay’s death information and Jay’s marriage information. Besides providing creditability to family dates and places, the documents stir up future research questions.
Online – both free and paid sites – treasures are waiting to be dug up. Search the USGen Web for state and county information. Search Cyndislist for records, history or surnames. Search find-a-grave or billion graves for cemetery records.
People – share what you have found. Ask other people for help. Collaborate on family trees. Networking is the fun of the hobby. A great group in the metro Atlanta area is Our Genealogy Group.