One of the most difficult problems in genealogy is researching our more obscure families—the ones who didn’t hold office, avoided the city clerk and were generally so poor we assume they didn’t leave a paper trail. Yet, we can find a surprising amount of information on our less fortunate forebears. “The poor have always been with us…” and various entities throughout our history have provided relief to them. If we focus on records in a particular locality at a given time period, we may find the nugget that solves our research problem.
Gail Blankenau is an experienced genealogist, speaker and author. Her publications include articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The Genealogist. She is also a contributor to Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy magazines. Based in Nebraska, she specializes in Nebraska records, Midwestern roots, German genealogy, land records, 19th-Century photographs and tracing lineages. More than half her ancestors came from New England, but she has roots in almost every state east of the Mississippi.