26 February 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 8: The value of collateral research

This week’s prompt is conducting collateral research. Collateral is defined as “a person having the same descent in a family as another but by a different line.” In genealogical terms, a collateral relative may be an aunt or uncle or a cousin. Last October I discovered the maiden name of hubby’s great grandmother through collateral research! 

Hubby’s grandmother was Julia Coursault Deyoe. Her death certificate shows her father as Charles Coursault from the USA and her mother as simply Apolina from England. Nowhere had I been able to find more information on Apolina until … 

Last October I did a broad search for Coursaults in the Pennsylvania Death Certificate database on Ancestry.com. I already knew her siblings’ names since I had followed the family through the census records. I found the death certificate for her brother, Francis Coursault. Their sister Catherine (also spelled Kathryn), who married George Bonner, was the informant and listed their mother as Apolina Morrill.  

Had I not thought to (pun intended) branch out, I would still be beating my head against the wall on that line! By finding that piece of the puzzle, I have been able to go back one more generation to her parents – Issac and Mary Morrill. 

I’ve had similar finds doing this on other lines as well. Always treat collateral ancestors as potential leads!

Looking back:
Week 7 – Software and digitizing
Week 6 – Evaluating Evidence
Week 5 - Research and Citations
Week 4 – Managing projects
Week 3 -  tracking research and conducting research
Week 2 - set research goals, self interviews, and family interviews


Genealogy Do-Over is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.  

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.