Indirect Evidence to Identify an Ancestral Homeland

Identifying an immigrant ancestor’s origins is one of the most common quests among family historians. A variety of sources created during and after an immigrant ancestor’s lifetime often provide direct evidence of his or her birth location. However, sometimes these sources fall short of providing the information we seek. In such instances, indirect evidence can often provide the answer. The case study, “Finding the Irish Origins of Charles Doherty,” authored by Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CG, and published in the September 2004 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), demonstrates one author’s strategy for identifying an Irish immigrant’s place of origin when none of the records he left behind provided that information.

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