Documenting Your Lineage

Documenting Your Lineage
One of reasons some do family history is to join a genealogical, historical or hereditary society and/or organization. While each of these groups have their unique qualifications in order to join, most of them require documenting their lineage from the person applying to the qualifying ancestor. Some groups require lineal documentation, which mean you are related to the ancestor through a mother or father to their parents and so forth. The Daughters of the American Revolution is an example of this. Other groups will let you join through a collateral line, for example through a great uncle. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is an example of this.

What does documentation entail in order to join these societies and/or organizations? Should we use these skills for our own personal genealogy even if we are not wanting to join a society? In order to make sure we have the correct family line, it is very important to document each line as best as possible from one generation to the next. Without doing this properly, conflicts can arise. For example, one of your ancestors could have the name of John Smith or Mary Jones. If we seek out documents that link each generation to each other, paying close attention to details such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, specific events that happened to your ancestor, then you can be more assured you have the right family line.

Some of the records that will help you document your family are:
  • Birth
  • Marriage
  • Death
  • Divorces (mention a previous wife)
  • Military Service
  • Wills, Estate Records, Deeds & Materials recorded at the Court House
  • Church Records
  • Bible Records (title page & year)
  • Tombstones (not proof for military service)
  • Government Records
  • Pension Records
  • Bounty Land Warrants & Land Grants
  • Pay Vouchers
  • Settlement Records
  • Legislative Records
  • Military Records & Letters in State Archives
  • Newspapers articles published during the War
  • Memoirs written contemporaneously
  • Other original source records
  • Books (Colonial Records of NC, State Records of NC)
  • Tax, jury & militia lists. These are indicators of residence.
  • Land records. Use to place individuals in a specific time and place.
  • Missing land record. If the family lived there for generations, the deed might not have been recorded.
  • Looking for migration. Check the neighbors & relatives, they often moved together.
  • Check deed books. There may be a Power of Attorney in the state of prior residence.
  • Location of land. This is not always in the county where the purchase is recorded.
  • Maps

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