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  • Writer's pictureTheFormidableGenealogist

Video: Finding the In-laws

It's a small world, but it used to be even smaller. One's family were often their friends, neighbors, and associates too. In this video, Jen reminds us to look for potential in-laws among those groups when trying to expand your family tree. This can be a particularly key technique in trying to identify the families of origin for our elusive female ancestors.

Something I have used for years is the "Are They Brothers-In-Law?" test. If men's names appear together in land transactions, probate records, as co-plaintiffs or -defendants in court records, etc., is there a chance they are brothers in law? You need to gather evidence and not just leave your theory untested, but the answer will often be "Yes!"

One such occasion was searching for the family of a William Baldwin, who was born in the 1780s and lived in a number of states. His is a common name, so sorting out all the Williams was a challenge. The misinformation and conflated details circling the internet didn't help. I noticed my William's name associated with a Hosea Wright of Ohio in two places. Employing this approach, I was ultimately able to prove that William and Hosea married a pair sisters named Anna and Sarah.

Yes, they were brothers-in-law!

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