Tag Archives: Family History

#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 GenealogyBank.com, Newspapers.com, and NewspaperArchive.com. Those are the three sites that helped me find living or recently lived persons most often.

Fourth, I would utilize a paid site like peoplefinder.com 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: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Hiring_a_DNA_Testing_Company

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

Mountain State Resources: Wyoming

Photo by Jon Sullivan, PD

by Claire V. Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS, AG®

The above picture shows the Teton Range rising above Jackson Hole, the barn is the “John Moulton Barn” on Mormon Row at the base of these mountains. Most of this state is covered in mountains with 48% of the land owned by U.S. government.

Wyoming became the 45th state admitted to the United States on 10 July 1890. Up until 1848, at the end of the Mexican-American War, southwestern Wyoming was part of the Mexican Territory. Different parts of Wyoming were claimed by Spain, France and England, to see how it all came together read this in the FamilySearch Research Wiki. There are 11 Indian Tribes here, information on various record sources, collections and how to research members of these tribes is located here.

When doing research here, one needs to know who owned what to locate ancestral records. While the U.S. Census started in 1790, the first census to cover this area was the 1850 and it was enumerated as part of the Utah Territory in the ‘Green River Precinct’ at the end of Weber County. As the area known as Fort Laramie today was unorganized territory it was not enumerated. To fully understand what was enumerated for each census, review this FS wiki page.

Statewide registration of births and deaths began in July, 1909, while marriage records didn’t begin till May, 1941. Only a few counties kept records of births and deaths a few years before 1909, while many counties began recording marriages soon after the county was organized. Some county marriage records go back to the 1860s with more than 23,800 marriages indexed on the Western States Marriage Index website.

FamilySearch has four sets of online records here. The State Archives has a Death Certificate database covering 1909 to 1967. Ancestry.com has 27 databases with the Wills and Probate Records covering 1864-1915. For a look at what’s available online check here.

Major repositories for records not online are listed here, also the Family History Library’s collection is available through Family History Centers. Lastly, one needs to consider checking Emigration and Immigration when research in Wyoming. Fur traders first opened a trail through this area, it was the domain of the American Indians where about 200 men would barter with these Indians, who were they, what about their families?  Learn the history to obtain more records here. The Oregon Trail to California, Utah and other western states passed right through parts of Wyoming bringing families and your ancestors.

In closing, be sure to use the  FamilySearch  Wyoming Record Finder in your pursuit of family from Wyoming.