Ancestry Daily News
Their Parents Died Young, Now What?
A child who has a parent die experiences a great sense of loss. Some never recover from the shock and the lives of some are thrown into utter turmoil. The death of both parents exacerbates the situation. From such a sad situation, records of genealogical significance might have been created. Not every "orphan" situation resulted in records, but a comprehensive research plan should consider the following situations.
In another case, a relative informally adopted a baby in the 1880s. When the child was approximately eight years old, he inherited some money from a biological relative. Since there was no formal adoption, the "adoptive" father could not legally receive the money for the child. A guardianship was filed for the child, naming the "adoptive" parents and the biological mother and maternal grandparents of the child.
Not all guardianships were the result of informal adoptions and the guardian did not necessarily live with the child or was related to the child. However, the guardian should be analyzed for a potential relationship. The guardian was appointed to look after the child's financial interests. Generally there was no relationship requirement.
Records such as these should always be a part of a comprehensive research plan, however researchers do occasionally overlook them. When children have deceased parents, one should always pay close attention to records that might have been created other than probate or will records. Records such as these, some of which document the family's misfortune, may solve your research problem.
Where Do I Learn More?
Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County, & Town Sources, by
Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., C.G. (http://shop.myfamily.com/ancestrycatalog
The Family History Library Research Guide for the state you are researching. These guides are available for downloading at http://www.familysearch.org/sg/. Ancestry.com also has state resource guides available at: http://www.ancestry.com/learn/reference/state.htm These resource guides have helpful addresses and information.
Post questions about this type of record to the county genealogy mailing list where the ancestor lived. Someone on the list might have used these records and know how to access and interpret them.
Copyright 1999, Michael John Neill. Michael John Neill, is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at: http://www.rootdig.com/.
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