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Lesson 6: Enlisting the Help of Others

No man is an island. This is certainly true for immigrant ancestors. As we have seen, immigrants often traveled in-groups or came to join others who were already here in the new country. However, the old saying is also true for you as a researcher. You are nearly always not alone in your search for your immigrant ancestor!

Of course, you know your brothers and sisters, and likely your first cousins that are also descended from that immigrant. You also know there are likely other relatives that you haven't met whom are also descended from the same immigrant.

Believe it or not, there are still others interested in your immigrant ancestor and they may have significant information for you. Distant (or even close) relatives are not those we mean here. These others are interested in your ancestor not because they are descendants but, rather, because your immigrant belonged to a group, and they are interested in that group. Typically, these people have generated records that you as an immigrant researcher need to know.

Their interest in your ancestor is generally for one of two reasons:

  • They are interested in his ethnic group
  • They are interested in the geographic area where he lived.
  • Sometimes the interest lies in an ethnic group in a specific place, such as the:

  • Dutch in New York,
  • Germans in Pennsylvania, or
  • Scots-Irish in the Carolinas.
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