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06 November 2013

Why the In-Laws of My Uncle Matter

When relationship details in records are scant, every record matters and researching the entire "group," (even non-relatives) is important. Arvin Butler appears in records in New York, Ontario, and Michigan in the 19th century. Showing I have the "same guy" in various locations is difficult--unique names are not always sufficient. 

Arvin in some of those locations is living near a man named Rufus Stephens--likely father-in-law of Arvin's probable brother Benjamin who was also living near Arvin in some of those locations. The close proximity of Arvin Butler and Rufus Stephens in more than one state and time period makes it more likely I have the same Arvin. 

If I ignore Rufus because he's Arvin's brother's father-in-law, I may miss knowing I have the same guy.

Those neighbors matter--especially when the neighbors are the same from one state to another. 


  1. I have an ancestor from Roscommon in VA in the 1800s (now WV). It occurred to me just last week to try to find out if there were other Roscommon surnames nearby. Even if one of them might not be a married sister, Someone in their lines today may know why or if they came as a group.

  2. Sometimes you aren't able to connect a maiden name to the wife, only have first name, and that usually a nickname. If you don't ignore the in-laws that you do know, you may find that siblings from one family married siblings from another. So when you find one in-law's name, you may have found several.