Without Parish Records in Pelahustán

George R. Ryskamp. “Protocolos in Pelahustán, completando las historias familiares sin registros parroquiales,” Tereceras Jornadas Plateneses de Genealogía, Heráldica y Vexilogías, La Plata, Argentina, 6-8 November 2003. English versión< Without Parish Records in Pelahustán>

This case study shows how to conduct genealogical research when no parish records are available. It focuses on notarial records because of their consistent locality, consistency, and abundance of records pertaining to family.

Ryskamp located an individual on a census record in the United States, and then found his birth year and birthplace on an immigration record, as well as that of his father. His military record gave a rough outline of his residences throughout his service, with the most likely place bing Pelahustan, where the records were destroyed during the civil war.

A break is taken from the case study to explain how notarial records are created and stored, as well as some basic suggestions to have in mind for when one begins to study them.

Ryskamp located the notarial records for Pelahustan. There was only one notary in the town at the time he was looking, which made so he only needed to search the records of one notary. He found the individual listed in a will, alongside the father and brother mentioned in the immigration records. This document helped link him to the specific place, as well as greatly broadened his known relatives. Another document named additional siblings and their spouses, and a final will listed him as a son-in-law, along with his wife, her siblings, and parents.

By piecing together the family structures listed in wills and other protocols, Ryskamp was able to extend his individual’s pedigree back several generations, using multiple documents to prove relationships back to the sixteenth century. The process was slow, and frequently involved carefully documenting individual who turned out to have no relationship to the family, but it is an effective way of doing genealogy while simultaneously learning much about the lives of each individual through the wills, land sales, powers of attorney, and inventories recorded in notarial records.


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