Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday's Tip - Look Again!

Look at those records again. Something you've probably heard before if you've been a geneablogger or geneablog-reader for any length of time, but this came up for me recently, so I thought I would add my voice.

I was typing up the names of the identified people in this photo during scanning and decided to dig a little bit regarding the unfamiliar names and unidentified people. (I also wrote this post to see if anyone out there could find a connection in this photo.)

Based on my estimate of the ages of the children, I decided to take another look at the 1900 U.S. census. 1900 was the first U.S. census after my great-grandparents' marriage in 1893 and was also the year that they moved into their own home after seven years of renting. I knew that my great-grandparents had boarders, so I was curious to see if any of the unfamiliar names could be found as boarders or neighbors.

Really, it is just classic F.A.N. (Friends And Neighbors) research, but I was surprised to find just how many familiar names were found on that one page of the census. I had learned so much about the F.A.N. club and my great-grandmother's siblings through other research (and good fortune) that all of a sudden the census record became a little window for me to see into the lives of my ancestors.

The census lists my great-grandmother's brother, Albin Johnson, among her boarders, which actually doesn't surprise me as he never married. Also their sister Anna Olivia and her family are living right next door, and they too have boarders. Their good friend Selma, who immigrated with them to the United States, is living on the same block with her family and, you guessed it, they have boarders as well. Anna Olivia's boarders may be Selma's brother and his family, actually. They may also be in the photo above and buried in the Carlin/Olson plot in East Cemetery. That will have to be added to my research to-do list, though. I'll need to have another look to be sure.

I love this discovery, it was definitely worth another look at the census to see it. All of these adult ancestors were immigrants so they did not have deep roots here. But they created their own community here in Manchester to make up for that, and spread their roots wide to give themselves and their families the stability to make a good life.