Week 5 of #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks – This week’s theme is “Oops”!

When I was a brand new at genealogy research, my first “project” was to request a copy of my father’s birth certificate. Keep in mind that this was decades ago – way before information was available online.

My father was born in Mountain City, which is in Johnson County, Tennessee. I sent my first request to Johnson City, which is primarily in Washington County, Tennessee, but also in Carter and Sullivan Counties. Fortunately someone was kind enough to reply and direct me to the appropriate county. (And yes, eventually I did receive the document in question.)

I remembered this early research attempt when Amy Johnson Crow sent out the prompt for this week.

This example is a reminder of why it is important to research your ancestor’s locality. This is especially important if, like me, your research locations are not where you live. Although I was born and grew up in Pennsylvania, my parents were born in Tennessee. All of my research going back multiple generations are in a handful of counties in NC, TN and VA.

Over time I have learned a great deal of history of these states and counties. Not only have I spent time creating locality research guides, but I read about the local history. I have visited these locations multiple times. I can see from the landscape that farming must have been an arduous task. So many mountains!

Take this as a reminder to double-check your locality, especially if it is one that is not familiar to you.

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