Hope the new year has been treating you well. With the snowy stormy weather, I’ve been indoors more. The weather imposes boundaries on us, so I thought we’d talk about borders and boundaries when doing family history research. Let’s look.
Today state lines are a given but one hundred plus years ago those lines were more fluid. Territories were large tracts of land that eventually would be divided up into states. When you begin researching in an area of the country that you’re not familiar with, you need to understand where those boundaries were at a given place and time. The very records you desire might be tucked away in a courthouse in the neighboring county.
If you are researching in Europe, you will need to take the time to look at the historical boundaries of a given area. In my case my Luxembourg ancestors didn’t move but the country boundaries did. Some of their records are in Luxembourg while others appear in German records from place along the present-day boundary between Luxembourg and Germany. In the last two hundred years these boundaries and countries were defined by whoever was in control. Whether it was the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the French with Napoleon’s reign, or the Holy Roman Empire. Borders can be political, geographical, religious, and historical.
Here are resources to help you discover borders and boundaries.
Here are books that focus on the changing borders and boundaries over time.
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.