The power of researching our ancestors in the communities where they lived cannot be overstated.
Above is a portion of a census table I created showing dwelling and family number, name, age and a few other notations.
John and Abigail Waters
John and Abigail Waters lived with their immediate African-American neighbors in the community of Upper Fairmount in Somerset County, Maryland in the year 1900.
The table extracts names from enumeration districts 76 and 77, and is about nine pages long. You’ll also notice I color-coded the surnames.
The table below reveals the familial connections to John and Abigail in their community:
(I collapsed the families so they would fit on one image, but the numbers in the first column represent the dwelling number.)
John and Abigail, like most of our ancestors, were living near their children, siblings and other close and extended kinfolk.
Other family members migrated out of the community to places like Baltimore, MD and Atlantic City, NJ. Their families lived in this community for over 100 years.
Sources Used to Uncover Relationships
A partial list of the kinds of sources I used to uncover the extended kinship networks of this community are:
**local history books and articles
**civil war pension records
**cemetery records and headstones
The neighborhoods of our ancestors are rich terrain for uncovering familial relationships if we are willing to do the work to find them.
Not just in the census. And not just online.
I am an engineer by day, but my true passion lies in genealogy. I have been a researcher, writer, lecturer and teacher for over twenty years. This blog is where I share family history methods, resources, tips and advice, with an emphasis on slave research, slavery and its aftermath. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my family’s past. I’ve taken back– reclaimed– some of that lost memory, especially that of my enslaved ancestors. I hope you’ll sign up to receive my posts—if you do, you’ll get a free PDF with some of my favorite tips! And please do share posts that interest you.