Common surnames such as Smith are adventuresome when it comes to our personal family history. A key factor that many family historians devour is the concentration on the surname itself. An example of this is Peter Schmidt (Smith) arrived to the colonies circa 1710. Where does Peter Smith live after arriving? How did Peter Smith prosper himself and possibly his family? What other individuals arrived with Peter Smith? Did these same people settle in proximity to Peter Smith? These are powerful questions that should come to mind prior to beginning your personal research. Broaden your horizons by first applying your efforts in a positive method and second concentrate your search into the facts of the area’s history. This will allow you to dig deeper into the details of the actual individual. To accomplish this, look for the available records that provide a portrait of daily life in the specific area. These records mainly consist of ground documents stored on a local level and require communication with local historians. This remarkable journey begins regardless of the distance between you and the area. Ten miles to hundreds of miles makes no difference due to locating historical organizations online and regularly contacting them.
Learning more about the immediate area while researching your timeline is a must. What enhanced your ancestors to live in the area? Who are their neighbors? What business transactions did they participate in? Do court records exist? All of these questions will quickly bring clues and hints to your research. These tips, once investigated will allow even more knowledge and a pattern of your ancestor’s footsteps will begin to emerge from the past. This encounter strengthens the relationship with your ancestor and adds essential data to differentiate your ancestor from other individuals with the same surname.
The most important thing is to enjoy your journey. Our past is a fascinating place to explore. From sunrises long ago atop the mountainous terrain of North Carolina to prairie grasses dancing in the wind along the Kansas landscape. These are some of the same visions our ancestors experienced and their dreams are never forgotten if we travel back to the past. Take a breath, take in your surroundings and Enjoy the moment along your Journey!!