Genealogy Clips

Neighbor’s Wills and Other Relatives | Genealogy Clips #65

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It was not uncommon in centuries past for men to marry women who lived near them. Travel was an imposing prospect in the days before trains and cars. It was all done on horseback, by a horse-drawn vehicle, or by foot, and going more than a few miles could take days or longer. Marrying neighbors was simply more practical and convenient. Look at census records to see where your male ancestors live. Look around at who lived near them. Then look for any wills that may exist for those neighbors. You will be surprised at how many times the will of a neighbor will mention the first name of a daughter and mention that she is the wife of a certain person. You could easily find your female ancestor mentioned in the will of a neighbor as his daughter who married your male ancestor. Looking at the wills of relatives of the male ancestor may give clues, too. If the male ancestor died before the wife, his relatives may mention the wife’s first name in their wills. Sometimes the maiden name may also be mentioned, or you can infer the maiden name by the will mentioning she was the daughter of a certain man (and then you get her father’s name, too, which will give you a new avenue of research)…

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About the author

Ancestral Findings

Will founded Ancestral Findings in 1995 and has been involved in genealogy research for over 24 years. The excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his surname. Check out, Why He Loves Genealogy and follow his Photography Podcast.