Sunday, August 26, 2018

Trying Out a New Research Technique: Finding Ancestors in the Early 1800s

I thought I would do some research on my maternal 3rd great-grandmother Amanda Johnson Browning.  I know nothing about Amanda except a possible date of birth and that her husband was listed as William Browning.  Amanda is on my direct maternal line and the line that my mitochondrial DNA traces back now through 6 generations.  (See post My Maternal Line and Mitochondrial DNA).  In my family tree I have Amanda as being born in 1823 in Pennsylvania.  I am not sure how or where I found this information because it was recorded in my tree years ago before I understood the importance of citing my sources.  My guess is I found it on Family Search back in the late 1990s.  Now I would like to go back and try to verify the information with valid sources, if possible. 

I knew that finding information on Amanda would be difficult since I am now going back in Pennsylvania to the early to mid 1880s, before the time of required birth, death and marriage records.  I also knew that census records will not name her until 1850.  I decided to try a technique I had heard about at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree this past June.  (See post Southern California Genealogy Jamboree 2018-Friday and Saturday).  The presentation was by Annette Burke Lyttle entitled How Research Plans Can Up Your Genealogical Game.  Annette talked about developing a good research question and making a list of all possible sources of information for the area where your ancestor lived before hitting the

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button on a record source.  I know that I have several ancestral lines that were in PA in the early 1800s, so, I decided to try her technique.  The list of resources in PA would be valuable help with other lines.

My research question:  When and where was Amanda Johnson born?

I knew that 'Pennsylvania' was too broad so I thought I would narrow my options down.  I knew that Amanda’s daughter Harriett Browning DeLeon Coolbaugh (see post) was born in 1850 in Orwell, Bradford County, PA.  I decided to look for information and records in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.  
Here are the sources of records/information I found for Bradford County:
Source Information Found
Bradford County, PA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
Linkpendium - Bradford County
Tri-Counties Genealogy and History Site - Bradford and
Tioga County (PA) and Cemung (NY) For family and local
history information

Sullivan-Rutland Genealogy Project
This database focuses
on the ancestors and descendants of the early nineteenth century
pioneers who migrated to Tioga and Bradford County,
Pennsylvania, primarily from Connecticut, Massachusetts,
and Vermont. It also includes Chemung County. New York.

USGenWeb project.
Bradford County Historical Society
Bradford County PA Genealogy
FamilySearch Catalog:
Pioneer and patriot families of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, 1770-1826 : including history (1615-1840), marriages (1776-1850), soldiers of the Revolution, ministers, justices, original officers and all matters relating to early times
Author: Heverly, C. F. (Clement Ferdinand), fl. 1885

Family trees on Family Search
Family trees on Ancestry
Family trees on My Heritage -North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
      The Coolbaugh Family in America, from their earliest appearance at New Amsterdam, 1686-1938
At first look I found a lot more resources than I thought would be available for me to search.  It was VERY tempting to just hit the SEARCH button but I am going to give this technique a chance and see what I can find.

Will I be able to verify Amanda’s birth?  Will a research question help me stay focused to find an answer?

In future posts I will tell you if I am able to answer my research question and what other great finds may come my way.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

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