Search Methods

by Dave Voelker on February 4, 2011

in Uncategorized

One of the joys of genealogy is that you occasionally stumble upon something that surprises you and I recently had one of those moments.  I was using the new “Hints” feature of to scour for records that I might have overlooked when I, a bit by chance, found a connection to the woodsman/statesman/patriot Davy Crockett.  As a young kid in Kentucky I grew up playing in the woods pretending to be Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, now I find years later that while it is not a blood connection and it is several times removed through marriage etc…,  I can claim a legitimate relationship to Davy Crockett!  Read on to learn more about unconventional search methods that will enable you to get the most out of your subscription.

editorial:  I really like the “Hints” feature on Ancestry, it makes finding and adding content very easy and when you make one of those breakthrough connections where your tree opens up to many new people at once the ability to bring all of that data over quickly and accurately is made very simple.  Kudos to ancestry for such a great feature, it can change how you do research.

In the midst of reviewing one of 400+ people on my tree with “Hints” I started to look at my paternal grandfathers cousin and his wife Alice’s family.  I found some immediate and obvious connections and starting adding to my tree.  One of the names that I was working with was Lula Crockett b.1897; Lula was the grandmother of Alice and in looking at some of the available historical records for Lula I found that I was quickly able to go back another two generations to Lula’s grandaprents.  Lula’s paternal grandfather was William Nelson Crockett and there is a fair amount of material available on William who appears to have been a man of some accomplishment, he has a stretch of Kentucky highway named after him, so he must have done something in his time.

In reading up on William I also found a mention that he was a second cousin to the infamous Davy Crockett, famed woodsman and defender of the Alamo in San Antonio.  Now my interest is really piqued and I want to find out how William, Lula, Alice, my grandfather, and ultimately myself have a connection to the real Davy Crockett.

Like many families in the early 1800’s the Crockett’s were rather prolific and I was thinking that trying to find the second cousin by exploring every possible cousin connection twice again was going to be problematic.  I figured out a way to quickly find this connection that others might find useful, many of you may be doing this already but it was a first for me and here is what I did:

Let me first say that this worked well for me in large part because these families were well researched and I was simply connecting the well researched dots.  That said, this may be a way that you can use to connect some dots within your own tree and it uses the power of the Ancestry Family Trees that are online.  I started with Davy Crockett, as a famous person I knew that I was much more likely to find lots of tree activity for him and indeed, there are many ancestry trees that have information about Davy.  The next thing was to find a tree that had both Davy and his supposed second cousin William.  The way I searched this was to open one of the member trees that contained Davy Crockett and when you do this you will see a search box near the top right of the screen that says find a person in this tree and I would key into that the name of William Crockett.  Within three tries I found a tree that had both of these men and from there it was very straightforward to look at the ancestors of each of these men until they cam back to a common person.  Once I had the common ancestor it was easy to find the relationship between the uncles and cousins that tied everything together and seeing this information graphically in tree mode was very helpful, if not essential.

As I mentioned previously this only worked due to the volume of data in other members trees and if you don’t have this then this method won’t work for you.  If you do have that and are having a difficult time trying to tie some people together, this may be another method for you to explore.

Now, where did I put my coon-skin cap?

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