Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quick Tips: Siblings

I suppose one of the benefits of working like this is that when I come down with a cold, I can easily relax for a bit while still managing a little work.'s quick tip is going to be fairly short and sweet as I plan on crashing on the couch for the evening to watch whatever is on TV.

The Importance of Researching Siblings:

When trying to go backwards in your lineage, it may prove beneficial to go forwards by looking into your direct ancestor's siblings. For instance, one sibling might actually have told their children their mother's maiden name, and said name appears on that sibling's death certificate. Pictures and stories may travel down one particular line while nothing is ever mentioned or labeled (personal experience) on the other.

For a more concrete example, I found that a woman's brother in the mid-19th century mentioned her in his will. Now, by the 1850 census this girl was married, but her brother still lived with his parents. Thus, I was able to tie her to the brother and the brother to their parents.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! I have seen countless examples of this. I often overcome a client's 'brick wall' by researching the subject's siblings. And if your ancestor had a brother, sister or cousin who emigrated to Australia, our records (including very informative death certificates) may give family details that are not available in the home country.

  2. Great post, Megan. I actually broke down my own brick wall by researching an ancestor's brother, entering his 1881 census details into and finding a distant cousin in Canada. Together, using family stories and combined intelligence, we managed to piece the whole family together - with lots more siblings of course!