All posts by NellBound

Tech-savvy Accredited Genealogist® with an advanced degree--this is definitely not your mother's genealogy!

#ICAPGenAnswers: Finding Missing Relatives

Today’s #ICAPGenAnswers question helps our reader, William, with a long-lost relative:

“I have a sister that has been missing since 1965 I was told that somebody saw her name published in a news paper in northern Indiana several years ago that she passed away I have not been able to find any info on her…Can you advise where I should look. Thanks.”

ICAPGen does not have a credential that tests our genealogists with regard to forensic genealogy, but several of our professionals have worked as forensic genealogists. Jenny Tonks, AG® worked as a forensic genealogist for several years and solved many cases similar to yours;  she wrote in the answer to your question:

First, I recommend starting with the basics–getting to know the rudiments of contemporary relative research. You can learn those ropes at the following links:

If you know the county where she died, you could also find out about requesting a death certificate, depending on their vital records release laws–you will learn about those from the links above.

Second, I recommend utilizing Google and other search engines to the fullest. They will help you find her obituary and much more. If there is another newspaper article that mentions your sister or her husband’s name, then Google or the other search engines will find it for you. If they shows up on a paid newspaper site in your search results, it will be worth the few dollars it costs to pay for a subscription to access that article!

Third, as I said above, I would also get a subscription to newspaper sites like,, and Those are the three sites that helped me find living or recently lived persons most often.

Fourth, I would utilize a paid site like to help me find anything that vital records offices, genealogy records/sites, search engines, or newspapers didn’t uncover.

Fifth, use phone directories and social media to contact potential relatives or associates. I say social media because many people do not use landlines, so I find them more often on ocial media than I do via the white pages these days.

Also, you might want to consider taking a DNA test. If your sister has any descandants, you would be able to identify and contact them via DNA databases. If you and your sister are biological siblings, you share DNA with her children and they would show up as matches to you, so you would be able to connect with them and learn more about her life through them. You can learn more about DNA testing here:

William, we wish you well in your search for information about your sister, and we hope that this information helps you “find” her.

#ICAPGenAnswers: England Records Question

ICAPGEnAnswers logoWe received the following genealogy question about England research from our blog reader Barbara:

In reading some 18th century parish poorhouse records in Devon, I came across references to help being given to parishioners “in necessity” which I believe means they had need of help from the overseers of the poor. But I’ve also seen several that say “to So-and-So, by consent.” And once I saw an “to So-and-So” in necessity by consent.” Can you tell me what they mean by “by consent” and by “in necessity by consent,” please?

To answer this question, we contacted one of ICAPGen‘s professional genealogists Lindsey Bayless, who holds the Accredited Genealogist® credential for England. Here is Lindsey’s response:

Great question! The records of the poor can be a great resource as we learn about our families in England. Both the poor and in need of the parish are represented, as are the more wealthy members of the parish who helped “foot the bill”.

Each individual parish would keep its records with its own format and wording. However, the following facts may be helpful in understanding the concept of “by consent.”

The book titled The Parish Chest, by William Edward Tate, is a great resource for all things regarding the more secular activities of a parish.

Basically, it was the responsibility of the Vestry of the parish to make decisions regarding which of the poor of the parish was worthy and entitled to help from the parish.

A general explanation of the Vestry of a parish is that they were a body of men registered under the name of the parish church and democratically elected. Their assignment was to run the secular business of the parish. They also fixed a levy on the more affluent of the parish to aid the poor.

Following is an example from Cowden, Kent Overseers Book that indicates the value of having the Vestry consent to the disbursement of funds! Spelling and grammar as per the original.

“That if any officer, Church warden or overseer, doe buy or allow to the buying of any clothes or any Reliefe to any poor inhabitant of the said parish or any otherwise Charge the said Parish without hee or they call a Vestry. That then they such officer or officers shall beare the loss of such monies as hee or they shall Lay Out or give away without Consent of A Vestry as aforesaid.”

I hope this helps.

Lindsey Bayless AG ®

British Isles Regional Chair, ICAPGen Testing Committee



If you have a genealogy question for one of our Accredited Genealogist® professionals, you can submit it to us on the online form at the #ICAPGenAnswers page on this site.