© 2019 by BestSteps Genealogy

While researching family records, there is nothing more frustrating than coming to a roadblock in our work. We often can become stumped in our progress when records we need just can't seem to be found. One tragic roadblock occurs when a county has suffered record loss due to fire or other natural disasters, careless record keepers, lack of space, or war. What can we do when a county suffered record loss? These record losses are a large hurdle for genealogists, but with an understanding of substitute records, alternative information can be found to document our families. Part I will focus on genealogy methods to use, and Part II will focus more on substitute records....

Often when researching ancestors in early time periods or in counties with record loss, we cannot find the records needed to document our ancestor or extend a line. We often refer to this as a brick wall.

By researching the FAN Club, also called cluster research, we can often find the clues necessary to piece together evidence which can lead us around the brick wall.

Elizabeth Shown Mills created the acronym, FAN Club. See her QuickSheet: The Historical Biographer’s Guide to Cluster Research (the FAN Principle), (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2012.)

Who is in the FAN Club?

  1. Immediate family: direct-line spouse, other spouses, children, parents, siblings

  2. E...

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