City directories were established long before phone books. They reveal not only where your ancestors lived but also possibly their occupations. They can be available online or found in local libraries. These are of particular interest if the family lived within the city limits. The City Directories include companies, their addresses and sometimes names of owners and workers and their job titles or occupations. Photographs are also included in the advertisements sometimes of people and their stores and merchandise sold or services rendered. Don’t forget phone books as well, call and check the libraries.
The Social Security Death Index reveals the date of birth, date of death, where and when the number was issued, and where the benefits were last paid. If the person did not apply for number as before 1950s and records are incomplete to about 1970.
Draft cards were issued during several drafts that took place in U.S. history. Whether not the ancestor participated the men were required to apply and fill out a draft card. They proved names, dates, births, and where they were living as well as a physical description of the person by the recruiter. Now, these records were given by the applicant and so their responses are not always perfectly accurate. Some are available online at the National Archives and Records Administration www.archives.gov
Passenger List’s include passengers who migrated to the US, so they are great for linking spouses and their children often listing ages and country of origin. The name of the ship, captain and crew are also interesting as well as where they boarded and where they were from and where they unloaded. Relationships are sometimes noted for parents and other relations.
Applications for naturalization and citizenship include names, dates of birth, places of birth, and place of immigration as well dates. This evidence may be found online, parish or district court records. In order for them to complete this process they were required to bring two witnesses as to their living requirements.
Marriage records reflect not only the date of the marriage but many times their ages along with their parents’ names. Older records such as those at the Justice of the Peace, many times do not include the parents names. Most marriages took place around the bride’s hometown or church. You will find a list of witnesses who are family and friends of the couple. These records may also be filed in Courthouse parish and church parish records, some can be found online. Keep in mind that public records will often only include past 100 years for privacy concerns. If the local church does not have the records due to the age, it may be housed in another regional location. Ask the records keepers for that information. Checking the library and local papers for engagement and marriage announcements.
Old birth, marriages and deaths in church and courthouse records are included in Father Hebert’s Books. South Louisiana Records and Southwest Louisiana Records which can be found at the local libraries in those areas.
I know that you are creating a fantastic family story to tell your descendants, please keep in mind that you will eventually need to hand down this research to family. You can see by their interest which one of your children or cousins would be totally into doing family research.
God Bless you in your journey to the most important people in your life. Have fun and don’t forget to treat them to a lunch when you spend the day. Call ahead and bring food, they will love it.
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