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What has been your biggest 'Oh duh' moment, when you realized something you should have known all along and something that really created a brick wall in your research?

For me it was the death of an ancestor, supposedly in Iowa, in 1864. His estate was settled in that year, but nothing indicated he died in Iowa as there are not death records then. A relative pointed out that he might have died in the Civil War. For some reason, that thought never entered my head. Now I have new leads to research.

What has been your 'oh duh' moment?


Michael John Neill

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My biggest "Oh Duh" moment happened when I first began researching 25 years ago, and I have never forgotten it.
I found my great grandfather at home in 1870 and 1880 with his parents and siblings in Cokesbury, Abbeville, South Carolina.

I could not find any of his family in 1900 in this same area. It was as if they had all disappeared. It was not until much searching that I discovered that Abbeville was redistricted in 1897 and the same town, Cokesbury, became a part of Greenwood County. I eventually found them among the Greenwood County resources. All the boundary changes I had come across occurred well before 1890.

Every since this happened I started checking boundary changes first. :)
I was helping a person look for someone in the 1880 census. I asked to see the obituary they had for them in hopes of using the family structure to assist in my searching. The obituary for the person they were looking for had no date, but indicated they were born in 1830 and died at the age of 43. I told them I think I figured out the reason they couldn't find the person in 1880 (assuming the age and year of birth were correct).
Well I dont know if this qualifies more as an "Oh Duh" moment or an "Aha!" moment. I was researching my grandmothers maiden name HUNKINS, I had a few people helping me and we kept finding children of my ancestors named Hazen Hastings starting at about 1770 going through about 1840ish and I knew that Hazen wasnt a common given name back then, well then we came across a story about my Robert HUNKINS in the French and Indian War and it said that he was kidnapped by Indians after he noticed that his comrade and best friend HAZEN HASTINGS was about to be captured by said Indians so he ran over to them and pushed Hazen out of the way which in turn caused him to be captured instead!

Another "Oh Duh" moment is I was searching for my great grandmother Mary Bons but I was searching Mary BONDS and finding nothing so after about 2 years of this I descided to take out the D and use BONS instead and low and behold she came up married to my great grandpa Louis BOONE!



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