July 2018 is completely focused on providing you with genealogy tips that are …..well,….”out of the box”.
Welcome to DAY 23 of the 31 Days of “Out of the Box” Genealogy Tips series! Need to start at the beginning of the series or catch up? Start here.
DAY 23 – Merchant Records
Your ancestors lived in a community. In that community they lived, worked and shopped.
Store owners kept records and ledgers of their businesses. It is possible to find your ancestor listed among the IOUs or accounts payable/receivable for a merchant in their area.
Merchant records (also known as ledger account books) help define a community and its residents in a time and place. State archives, university special collections and local museums are the first places to look for these merchant records. A few can be found on Internet Archive.
Another benefit of using account books? You learn who else was living in a community. This was your ancestor’s FAN club. Knowing your ancestors Friends, Associates and Neighbors will help you recognize your ancestors by who they associated with.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Explore finding aids at your state archives, state libraries and university libraries for merchant account records in your ancestor’s area.
Many finding aids may be found online, but often the records are not. If you find the existence of merchant records you may need to request a search from someone on site.
Check out previous posts in the 31 Days of Out of the Box Genealogy Tips:
- Day 12 – Occupational Records
- Day 13 – School Records
- Day 14 – Civil War Veterans Homes
- Day 15 – War of 1812 Pensions
- Day 16 – Twitter Chats
- Day 17 – Mortality Schedules
- Day 18 – Non-population Schedules
- Day 19 – 1890 Census Fragments
- Day 20 – Tax Records
- Day 21 – Private Collections
- Day 22 – WorldCat
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