Unmarried Relatives; Please Don't Overlook Them

It's important to research every member in your ancestors' families. I cringe when I hear a family historian say that they didn't trace their great-grandmother's two sisters because neither of them married or probably had no children. They might be missing some of the greatest tidbits of their family history and even the old family Bible or scrapbook. I would guess that some of you readers are today's single sibling and are caring for the older generation or live in the old family home.

The Last Child at HomeUnmarried relatives may have been the last of the siblings to leave the family home or may have been the one to stay and take care of Mom after Dad passed away. Often, they continue to live in the house after Mom is gone. This might be the sibling who ended up with the family pictures, Dad's letters from the Spanish-American War, Mom's old address book, or that family Bible. Without such a connection to unmarried collateral relatives, I would never have seen the picture of my great-grandmother Betsy and the two sisters who also left Sweden and settled in the Midwest.

ObituariesOne set of my Irish great-great-grandparents were a bit tough to research. They lived in a relatively big city and had the common name of Cook. I had concentrated on their son, John, who was...

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