You may not find a paper trail leading to an elusive family member. Ancestors who lived in counties where courthouses burned down may have had important land records destroyed with the courthouse. Some ancestors were just clannish people and distrusted the government, or purposefully disappeared from relatives.
There are many reasons why no records exist for an ancestor. You can find your ancestor and something of his or her life and family. You’ve just got to get creative with those private or record-less ancestors
The Number One Reason You Are Not Finding Your Ancestor
You don't know your history or the records that existed throughout your ancestor's life.
Other Reasons You May Not Find Ancestors.
Your Ancestors Don’t Want You to Find Them!
You Aren’t Active on Social Media.
You Aren’t Active Google or you need to vary your search criteria.
You Aren't Watching You-Tube or free online learning at the Learning Center.
You rely on easily accessible and online databases, websites, and Ancestry.com.
You have not thoroughly researched the descendants of your ancestor.
You are looking in the wrong location.
You are using some else's findings without collecting records and documents.
You are searching a database that does not cover the years your ancestor lived orthe area where your ancestor lived.
You are only searching for records online.
Your family is withholding details from you.
Consider Your Ancestors Place in His or Her Community
Servitude and Indentured Servants
Female Ancestors strategies for solving the mysteries
Native American research
Convicts in Court Records: Don't assume that because your ancestor wasn't a criminal, you won't find anything in court records. Matters brought before the jurisdiction of a court can often involve dozens of litigants and defendants, many of whom may be related, or nearby neighbors of your ancestor. Different than the proceedings of criminal court, civil court records include deed transactions, estate inventories, name changes, wills, custody papers and other useful information for genealogists.
Courthouses. Yes, you've found Land Records. Did you look for Entry Case Files?Land records such as deeds, mortgages, releases of dowry, etc., are one of the most under-utilized records types yet they contain extremely valuable pieces of information. Before homesteaders, soldiers, and other land patent recipients received their land, some government paperwork had to be done.
Individuals obtaining land through military bounty land warrants, preemption entries, or the Homestead Act of 1862, had to file applications, giving proof about military service, residence on and improvements to the land, or proof of citizenship.
Supplemental Census Schedules: The U.S. Federal government has used many supplemental schedules to collect non-population data, including information on farming, manufacturing, veterans and deaths. The Mortality Schedule, available for the 1850-1880 censuses, provides details on people who died during the twelve months prior to the census.
PERSI: Someone may have already researched at least a portion of your familyhistory, and their research may even have been published in a genealogical quarterly, journal or magazine at some time. That's why every genealogist should turn to the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), a subject index to more than 6,500 genealogy and local history publications created and maintained by the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.