Why You Can't Find Your Ancestor in That County: Boundary Changes [video]

by Amy Johnson Crow | Sep 25, 2013

"Location. Location. Location." It's not just for real estate. It's also true for your genealogy. Being able to place an ancestor in a specific place at a specific time is crucial to finding records about that person. What can trip up genealogists is when a family didn't move, but their location did.

States weren't created with all of the counties that they have today. For example, Ohio has 88 counties today, but in 1803 when the state was formed, there were only 9 counties and an unorganized section of the state. Counties were formed as populations grew and shifted. Boundaries changed as new counties were formed. This could put a family in a different county, even though they never moved. This means their records are in a different county as well.

In this video, we'll look at why counties were formed the way they were, how it impacts our research, and how we can discover what other counties we should look in. (For more insight into ancestors who lived in a border area between two states, be sure to read J. Mark Lowe's article, "Border Jumping: Researching Across State & County Borders.") 


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