Friday, December 29, 2023

Ancestor #4: Jumping Tracks Entirely


When it comes to number four of my Twelve Most Wanted, we jump tracks entirely by moving from researching my mother's ancestors to those of my mother-in-law. The challenge there is that, despite my mother-in-law's confidence that surely her grandparents were "just off the boat" only a few years before her parents' birth, it turned out that they were American residents for many generations prior to her grandparents' time. While it has been fairly easy to trace my mother-in-law's family tree owing to that detail, I've sped merrily along those family tracks until slamming into the colonial-records walls that had plagued travel-limited researchers up through the past few years. 

Then came the muscle-flexing researchers of this decade, who told governmental archivists, "Oh no you don't, either!" And voila! We now have online access to digitized versions of century-old records.

That, at least, is what I am hoping, now that the news about the Maryland State Archives has made recent headlines. Though many of the digitized records reach back only to the late 1800s, it's time to check out what I can find in that collection. More importantly, it's time to revisit my research on my mother-in-law's Maryland roots to see if any other resources have digitally materialized, as well. In this Internet age, more data become available with every passing month.

More to the point, for this month's Ancestor #4, I'll be revisiting my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Howard, to see what new discoveries I can make on her Maryland forebears. While any documents in which she'd appear would predate the recent release of Maryland records, thanks to Reclaim the Records, it would help to review the resources which might help paint a clearer picture of Elizabeth's life and times—and that of her Howard and Ridgely ancestors. 


  1. Talking about serendipity (is that what daisy chain means?) - your mention of "the news about the Maryland State Archives" took me to articles that shed light on a recent rather puzzling interaction I had with the Maryland State Archives. In short, I had thought the research request would be expensive and contentious, but it suddenly cleared up into a helpful response. Maybe I now understand a bit better.

    1. Oh, good, Lisa! I'm glad those articles were encouraging. I am looking forward to seeing what else is out there for Maryland research and am looking forward to testing my wings on some new finds.


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