Saturday, December 30, 2023

Ancestor #5: More Maryland Material


One problem with researching conveniently accessible ancestral records is that it speeds up the rate at which I run out of potential next projects. This is where I find myself, as I plan out the upcoming year's research on the branches of my mother-in-law's tree—where to go next?

As I had mentioned yesterday, the addition of more Maryland material to online resources may mean that I can revisit those Maryland ancestors I had worked on last year with better chances for successful outcomes. I certainly had not exhausted the resources available last year, and now there are new additions. Thus, for Ancestor #5 of my Twelve Most Wanted, it might be wise to revisit yet another Maryland branch of my mother-in-law's tree, the ancestors of her fourth great-grandfather, William Ijams, husband of the Elizabeth Howard we had discussed yesterday.

Examining the extended Ijams family of colonial Maryland could be helpful for many reasons. In addition to extending that branch of my mother-in-law's tree another generation or two, the effort will afford me the opportunity to broaden my understanding of the social history of the time in which her ancestors lived. While it is true I won't have access to the paperwork we are accustomed to utilizing for more recent generations—such as census records every ten years, or timely and detailed birth records, or even newspaper articles about their everyday life occurrences—gaining a broadened understanding of the times in which these ancestors lived might still help gain a picture of the events which might have filled their days.

This month's quest, like that for the previous month, will also require me to assemble finding aids by exploring some less-frequented research paths. Ferreting out reliable public-domain genealogy and history books will be the tasks going hand in hand with the more typical research techniques. Not only does the lack of key life details on these ancestors paint them a drab gray, but missing details from the overarching local and colonial history of their lifetime means their gray shadow is painted upon an equally fuzzy background. This will be my attempt to fill in some of the blanks and get clarity on these colonial ancestors.

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