Many with my surname live in the same area but I can’t prove we are related

If they are all in the same area, than more than likely there is a common ancestor somewhere in the mix.

However, finding that connection is not easy.

How have you connected surnames in your tree?

Now, let me clarify.  If the surname is a common one such as Brown, Smith, Davis, etc. then there may or may not be a familial connection.  However, for this article I’m basing the answer of ancestors alive before the 1850s.  For very common surnames during this time there may or may not be a familial connection.  Only time and research will provide the answer.

More unique or less common surnames more than likely mean that somewhere there is a family connection.

DNA is a great place to start.  I have two lines where DNA has confirmed a connection to the family I suspected, but not to the direct ancestor.

The DNA proved a connection to my ancestors great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather, but no matter how many records I’ve searched I’ve been unable to uncover who my ancestors mother and father or grandmother and grandfather were.

Researching each descendant to find a connection is the best way to determine who was or was not your ancestor’s parent.  However, this is  a very involved and tedious process and in my case I was still unable to conclusively prove any direct connection or anyone that was likely to be the illusive ancestor.

Searching newspapers and church records are two great places to start to determine if names are mentioned together or provides a clue to a parent.  If marriage bonds were available in your state during this time, this is another great resource to check.

How have you determined a familial connection with other of the same surnames in your area?

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