The ongoing projects of the LDS-managed FamilySearchLabs.org are proving so useful in my research! I have written before about finding the exact date of death of an Ohio woman in their files, which enabled me to write for her obituary. More recently I came across a transcription of the death record for a Florida relative, which gave his father’s birthplace -- something I had despaired of ever finding.
One of the best aspects of these indexes is that the Mormons check and double-check their work, whether it is done in-house or by volunteers. Another is that everything is free! You don’t even need to sign in to look at the files they have produced.
The discovery of the Florida death records (1877-1939), prompted me to go back to a line I had set aside years ago. The Tanners were a prolific bunch and there were many, many descendants of my great-great grandfather, John Tanner, about whom I had very little information.
After finding several more names, I decided it would be wisest to view members of each generation in a more organized fashion, looking at all of John’s children and grandchildren, and determining what data I might be able to fill in from this website.
To do this I needed to set up a simple chart showing more than one generation on a single sheet (or screen display). So I chose to go with a family group sheet, omitting the notes, but showing the ancestral parents, their nine children, and the children’s children (a nice option in Reunion for the Mac).
From this display it was easy to see the blank spaces and create a basic list of questions for research, from the general “what became of ... “ to the more specific: “did Thomas and May have any children?”
Although I may not pursue this line as doggedly as I have some others, it would be interesting to have more complete information about this ancestor’s descendants, and the FamilySearchLabs databases have given me a real boost.
By the way, the information I found on my great-great-grandfather came from one of his children who is NOT my direct ancestor. Another reason to look at whole families and not simply the direct lines. Pedigree charts are well and good, but they don’t tell the whole story.
Next time: Confederate pensioners -- on another website