Recently I’ve been researching my Stark relatives, who immigrated to Darien, Fairfield County, Connecticut, from County Limerick, Ireland, in about 1850. I’ve written about my great-great-uncles Henry and Andrew Stark, but today I decided to search GenealogyBank for their sister Mary Stark (1822-1903), my great-great-aunt.
Women are sometimes more difficult to find information on because their surnames often change upon marriage, so it can be hard to know which last name to search for. In Mary’s case, no spouse was listed on her FamilySearch record, so I was hopeful that I would be able to find information about her.
I know from my notes that Mary died in Stamford, Fairfield County, Connecticut, in 1903, so I used “Stamford” as a keyword when I searched for her name. In my initial obituary search, I was hoping to locate an obituary for Mary, and I kept the date range pretty close to her lifespan.
Bingo – the first search result is the obituary I was looking for.
I also like to learn a bit about what my relatives’ hometowns looked like when they lived there – this gives me more context for their lives and experiences.
At the time of Mary’s death, Stamford, Connecticut, had a population of about 19,000 people, according to a Wikipedia article on the city. Wow – could it really have been that small?
Another old postcard, this one of Stamford’s downtown in about 1908, shows what Stamford looked like when Mary lived there.
The “Old Town Hall” – horse-drawn wagons – it was a quieter time in Stamford, Connecticut.
Genealogy Tip: Using old newspaper articles such as obituaries, and photographs like those found in old postcards, can be a great way to get a clearer picture of who your ancestors were and what their lives were like. Find and document your family stories – write them down and preserve them online.