I've been working hard lately on a McGinnis Family book. McGinnis is my maiden name and for more than 30 years I've researched the 7 sons of the immigrant McGinnis line I am interested in. I've followed the sons (and one daughter) down through the generations, tracking their children and grandchildren. All in hopes of finding out where in Ireland my great-great-grandfather was born.
This past month I've been busy entering data I had found and filed away in my overflowing McGinnis filing drawer. Yes that's right - an entire drawer is devoted to this family. I could have sworn I had covered all my bases, found every scrap of evidence there was to be found on each of those 7 sons. Census? Done. I'd sent for death records, church records, looked for obituaries, and thought about where else I might find a record of an origin in Ireland.
But as I looked over my old research (which I hadn't really looked at in almost 10 years) something jumped out at me - several years ago I had found the names of 3 of the sons in Michigan Naturalization records indexes. But I had never sent for the full record! What an oversight - although the records are not apt to provide an exact location of birth, there is a small chance they might give a county in Ireland. We don't even know that much so anything would be a bonus.
I also realized I hadn't put a few clues together - that one of the grand-daughters of the original immigrant had been living (at the age of 6) with an unknown couple and a teenage girl in 1851 Waterloo County Ontario. Re-reading the teenager's surname I saw that it was the same as the granddaughter's mother (Cokely) - and the teen was likely granddaughter's aunt. A great clue that I had not seen first time around because I had not known her mother's surname at the time. This little clue led me to research the couple the granddaughter was living with and sure enough the wife was another aunt.
Reviewing my old material gave me fresh insight into the family and another path to follow. Now I am working on a chart to show where every son (and the daughter) lived at every land record, census record and assessment record I have already found. Hopefully that chart when complete will give me better insight into the family's movements and migration patterns. This in turn might help me find my missing great-great grandpa after 1871.