Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Twelve Most Wanted

We may sing carols about the Twelve Days of Christmas, but for this year, I'd like to fill those twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany with a project designed to prepare me for my upcoming research year. I'll be selecting one ancestor per day to introduce as a research project for 2020.  For the four family trees I've been building—one for each of my daughter's grandparents—that means this twelve day series will provide an introductory vignette on three ancestors from each tree. to select these Twelve Most Wanted ancestors...

Today's selection will be simple. I already know what my marching orders will be upon arrival in Salt Lake City for SLIG: spend some earnest time digging through early Virginia records to find any trace of my second great-grandfather, William Alexander Boothe.

I've already mentioned how I've struggled—as have other researchers—with Alex Boothe's origin in the now non-existent Nansemond County in Virginia. I'm building a to-do list of material to look up, once I arrive at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City in January so I can hit the ground running. Since this man was born about 1812, the record sets for his family will be far different than those people are accustomed to consulting for more recent ancestors—doubly so, since so many records were destroyed by fire or, in some cases, simply not kept until far after that date.

William Alexander Boothe may be my number one Most Wanted Ancestor for 2020, but there are others. Since Alex Boothe came from my mother's family tree, that will leave her two more to pursue in this upcoming year. We'll take a peek at the second of these Twelve Most Wanted tomorrow.

Of course, that will be twelve people from my four family trees. You may have others you have struggled with this year, too. Perhaps this is the time for all of us to find a way to see twenty-twenty concerning those brick wall ancestors whose stories seem so fuzzy and faintly outlined right now.

Above: "Winter Landscape," oil on panel by Russian Romantic artist Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900); image courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Hi, message me and I can give you some new places to look. There are several places online to find info.



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