Who is considered an orphan? Someone with no living parents? Not until the late 1800s. In this article we'll explain what guardianship really means.Genealogists may encounter references to orphans in guardianship or probate records. However, researchers shouldn’t assume both parents were deceased. Those who had lost only one parent, especially a father, were termed “social orphans.” In colonial times, children were considered assets in which their fathers had property rights. Widows could even lose their children to a guardian named by their father in his will.What Does Guardianship Really Mean?Many times, a guardian’s responsibility focused more on an orphan’s property than on the orphan herself or himself. Guardianship had little to do with physical custody of the child. Its primary purpose was to manage the orphan’s estate, preserve any inherited property, and use the estate for maintenance and education of the child until he was old enough to manage it. The guardian was …Read more
Hand-picked, tested and trained, our professional genealogist team knows how to find your story. We search the world for answers. Find the un-findable. And we’re experts at everything from tracking down rare international records to analyzing DNA test results. Based near the world’s largest family history library in downtown Salt Lake City, we also work with researchers and archives around the globe. Contact us today if you would like help discovering your ancestors!
Do you descend from royalty? Determining if your pedigree contains a gateway ancestor will help prove or disprove a royal connection!Many Americans of colonial descent believe they are connected to royal or noble European lineages. While in many cases those lineages are accurate, most often they are not. Separating the fact from fiction of royal and noble pedigrees can ensure your genealogy is accurate and well sourced.Gateway Ancestors of Royal and Noble DescentA gateway ancestor is a person on your genealogical tree who descends from royalty or nobility. Most often they are from seventeenth-century colonial America and connect to the aristocracy of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, and other European countries.Gateway ancestors of royal and noble descent have been the focus of intense genealogical and historical research. The vast majority of seventeenth-century American colonial gateway ancestors lived in Massachusetts and Virginia. Collaborative works have …Read more
“Burned County” is a phrase that many genealogists dread running into during their research and is something that many Southern researchers are more than familiar with. Whenever I hear that phrase, the scene of Atlanta burning in the movie Gone with the Wind comes to mind and I picture the ashes of all those records that burned floating around in the air. But the Civil War isn’t the only cause of burned counties.What does "burned county" mean?The phrase “burned county” may have been originally used in Virginia to describe counties with significant record loss due to courthouse fires or the Civil War, but in recent years the phrase has been used to describe any county with record loss due to fire, flood, natural disasters, neglect, or theft. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of them. So, what is a researcher to do when confronted with such record loss?Overcoming the "burned county" obstacleMany of my father’s ancestral lines have been traced to Virginia and the dreaded “burned …Read more
In this article we share the steps you need to take to help determine the genetic relationships of your DNA matches.You’ve taken a DNA test. The day finally arrives when you get a notification in your email: your results are ready! You eagerly log into your account and begin navigating your genetic heritage. Eventually, perhaps after viewing your ethnicity admixture results, or looking at different genetic traits, you make your way over to your match list. There are hundreds of people who share DNA with you—your genetic cousins. Some of the close ones might be familiar. There is your cousin, and another match has a surname that sounds familiar from family conversations. And yet, most of the others are complete strangers. Who are these people? Why don’t they have surnames you recognize? How closely related are they? To find out, work through the following six steps to determine how you are related to a genetic cousin.1. Build Your Family TreeIn order to determine how you might be …Read more