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Family History Friday: Expect the Unexpected

by on December 11, 2009

Everybody starts researching their family history with the expectation of finding out about their ancestors.  Researchers are usually looking for such information as the names of previously unknown ancestors or immigration and naturalization dates.

Sometimes, however, they get more than they bargained for.

Take, for example, this census record.  In 1870, Maggie Taylor and Jennie McKennic are living in Prescott, Arizona.  Their occupations are listed as “Fancy Woman.”  If one of these women is your ancestor, this could come as a big surprise to you!Maggie Taylor and Jennie McKennic in 1870 Census

While finding something like this might be startling, we think records like this are often the most interesting.  They can shed light on a previously unknown aspect of your ancestor’s life.  We encourage you to both expect and embrace the unexpected.  Has anybody found anything truly unexpected while researching their family history?


David Oseas December 11, 2009 at 3:48 pm

So far, the most unexpected things I’ve found while researching were previously unknown children & siblings of my ancestors.

Katherine December 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm


Previously unknown ancestors are an excellent surprise! I’ve found several myself, and it never gets old.

Michael December 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I have found that much of my family have come from many locations across the globe and that they have had a lot of different occupations.

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