Many Irish and Scots-Irish names are common. This presents its own unique problem as you now have to sort through them not only in the records of Ireland but also in the immigrant country. This is where you have to be very careful in your research to assure you have the correct person. This blog will focus on the immigrant country.
Several Families with the Same Name
Yes, you may have three Kelly or Stewart families in an county or township, and they may or may not all be related. So how do you sort through everybody?
If I’m using a land record in the immigrant country, I start with picking a targeted time frame. If 1800-1820 or 1850-1860 fits your research needs then stick to that as a test. Then using the land deeds, go chronologically through the records extracting all Kelly or Stewarts; even if you have no idea who they are. If the surname is simply to common, then choose particular given names you need to know more about. This narrows your target to all John Stewart deed transactions from 1800 to 1820. Then line them up chronologically.
A Pattern Emerges Separating out Individuals and Families
Once you do this then a pattern will begin to emerge. In the land records you will find the description (location) of the properties, the buyer or seller, the neighbors and the witnesses. Then at the end of your search you will see just how many John Stewarts you really have.
Then separate them out by what the records say. Do you have two John Stewarts or Frank Kellys or do you have five? This will go a long way to helping you sort through common names and stay on track with your research.
Click Here if you would like to know more about deed research and sorting through common names and surnames.