Where To Start

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Before I ever started to research my family history I was very confused as to where to even start and what to do with anything I may have already had. Family members knew very little about the different branches. The internet made obtaining the information much easier and the software programs help keep all of it organized. Aside from personal memories, on line census reports, pension forms and directories there are obituaries.


So for those people just starting their research and need a place to jump off of, try obituaries.


A well written obituary can give you a wealth of information for your family file. Although I am not directly related to the obituary I have listed, someone will find this information very helpful. Minerva’s brother’s sons were married to daughter’s of the niece of a second wife of… well you get the idea, the wind blew and I landed on some other tree, it’s like being Alice and following the rabbit.


Beside that point, this obituary gave me all kinds of information on Byron Ostrander’s family tree. I did a search on ancestry for Byron Ostrander in the Historical newspaper section, using the Bradford Era specifically. Up popped Byron’s sister Minerva and the info below. This is how you can take it apart –



The Bradford Era (Bradford, Pennsylvania) > 1950 > August > 4


Mrs. M. Studley, 69, Dies in Hospital At Port Allegany


Port Allegany – Mrs. Minerva Studley, 69, life-long resident of Port Allegany and widow of the late Alfred Studley, died yesterday in the Port Allegany Community hospital, following an illness of the past several weeks. Mrs. Studley was admitted to the hospital last Monday. This paragraph gives me loads of info on Minerva, where she had lived which can be verified by Census records and directories and her death date taken from the newspaper’s date.


She was born in Port Allegany, February 7, 1881. Her parents were the late William Crosby Ostrander and the late Frances May Hall. More goodies, her birth date and something that many people leave out, parent’s names, if the parents are already deceased are included in this obituary.


She is survived by four sisters, Mrs. W A Reynolds, Olean, N.Y., Mrs. Odell Johnson of Perry, N.Y., Mrs. Charles Carlson of Lewis Run and Mrs. Ellamae Wise of New York City, two brothers, Byron Ostrander, Cyclone, and Herman Ostrander, Gifford, and one grandson, Carroll Studley of Buffalo, N.Y. Although it isn’t straight forward, I now have her living siblings; I can verify this information through the Census, newspapers, social security death indexes and local directories. It also tells me that Minerva had at least one son that had a son.


Friends may call at the Gallup Funeral Home after noon on Friday. Funeral services will be held at the Gallup Funeral Home at 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon with the Rev John D Wesley, pastor of the Evangelical united Brethren church, officiating.


Internment will be made in the Grimes cemetery. I now know where she is buried and can take a cemetery trip for a headstone. Investigating the cemetery may help locate other relatives.


This would just be the start my investigation and would be consulted many times over as I continued my research for smaller missed clues.


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