County Histories: Find the Collaterals

You may have looked for information about your ancestors in county histories and not been able to find any biographical sketches about them. If that happens, expand your search. Put your ancestor in the center of a target and start researching those people around him, his uncles, cousins, close family friends, his neighbors, and so on. What has come to be known as the “FAN club” (a term coined by Elizabeth Shown Mills).

During my research on Samuel Cook Dimick, I was able to locate county history sketches about his wife’s family of origin which gave information back to before 1800 in Massachusetts (i.e., a new research path!).

Hamilton Child, editor, Gazetteer of Grafton County, New Hampshire, 1709-1886 (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Journal Company Printers, 1886).

In this same book by Hamilton Child, I also found a sketch for Samuel’s great-grandfather Shubael Dimock, from Tolland, Connecticut who settled in Lyme in 1783! It goes on to give fantastic information, and again, more research avenues.

I’m not putting the full sketches in… you get the idea at the vast amounts of information you can find if you just keep looking.

Author’s depiction of the FAN Club, or collateral relative searching.

Keep searching for those close to your ancestor and you are sure to have some results in finding more information and clues about yours.

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