This article originally appeared in Ancestry Magazine, November-December 2007.
Family history clues can be anywhere. An old recipe card may note “these were always served by cousin Mary McGuire” or “Aunt Susie made this every Thanksgiving.” So where do you go from there?
- Start at the beginning. I was told that Bertha Christine Molzen Deschner, born 1880, wrote the recipe on this page. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled a Kansas connection. Searching family trees at Ancestry.com, I found Bertha with a death date of 1973 in Harvey County, Kansas. She was married to Edward Deschner.
- Look for names. Bertha transcribed the recipe, but it was Lillian Molzen who created it. A search for her in family trees at Ancestry.com yielded a Lillian Steiner, born 1903, married to Lawrence G. Molzen—and a list of tree contributors to contact.
- Check the SSDI. A quick SSDI search gives death dates for Edward (1967), Bertha (1973), Lawrence (1977), and Lillian (2006). Each had a last residence in Harvey County, Kansas.
- Read the paper. Search for obituaries in online newspaper databases and via interlibrary loan from the Kansas State Historical Society to get details about the family.
- Find more people. Look for Kansas state and federal censuses and military records at Ancestry.com to help find other family members. Turn to your local Family History Center to order microfilmed vital, court, probate, and land records for Harvey County, Kansas, for an even bigger picture.