Visiting with a new “cousin”

I recently made a day trip with a friend, to visit her brother and sister-in-law.  My friend’s family is related to the Coffin family and I am too.  Her sister-in-law is very interested in genealogy and so it makes sense to get us together.  I think that my line of Coffins diverged from theirs long ago (moved from Nantucket to southwestern Ohio – wish I knew why).  I think my friend’s line flows from the families that did not move to Nantucket permanently but stayed in New Hampshire/northeastern Massachusetts.  Still the same family but not connected very recently (may be as far back as the original emigrant ancestor who came between 1640-1643).  So, now I’m trying to figure out what I want to find out from these new cousins, and what to take with me on this visit.  What questions do I want to ask?  This is a line I haven’t researched much because so much has already been done.  I know, I know, you always do your own research.  And truthfully much of my direct line in this family hasn’t been well researched (or at least the information hasn’t been sourced).  That’s why I don’t know why they moved from Nantucket to Cincinnati Ohio in the early 1800s.

What I learned was that Massachusetts is a good state for having records that go back to very early days, and that they are findable.  My friend’s brother (who has gotten more interested in genealogy in the last few years) showed me copies of several registers or ledgers and talked about what he has learned about going into town offices.  Check before you go to find out about what hours and days they are open (some small towns don’t have offices open 5 days a week).  Go early in the day and be ready to wait or to come back at a later time in the day if the clerk is already busy.  Don’t be the next person after someone has been demanding or nasty with the clerk.  Try bringing coffee for the clerk if you leave and come back.

While I have learned and heard all of these tips before, hearing them from a newly-enthusiastic genealogist was useful.  And all of what he said and showed me increased my motivation to follow up on this family line and do my own work.

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