State by state resource finder


The world of Work section of the website is a research. tool It covers the period 1850 -1950 and was developed  by The purpose is to help you find family members that you have been unable to find. There are 8 reasons you can’t find family.
  1. As you sit in  front of your computer screen you tend to picture your family between 1850 and 1940  as successful  people with reasonably good jobs and a decent standard of living.. Regardless of your ethnic background most of your family were by todays standards very poor and that is why you can’t find them. They left very few records and those records are hard to find. 45% of the population were poor in 1870.  56% were poor in 1900. If you were white your family were probably recent immigrants. That being the case  It is highly likely that most members of your family between 1870 and 1920 were poor.  The poor leave few records.
  2. If your ancestors were African American slavery made them invisible from a standpoint of records.  While there were free African Americans that had middle class incomes they were not many. There were also a small number of free Blacks who also didn’t leave records. There are, however, records unique to African American experience. There are also specific approaches to finding your family that are unique to African Americans.   Find them and be proud of their achievements in the face of adversity.
  3. Many of your family were recent immigrants and left few records. The fact that you are sitting in front of a computer screen is a testimony to the  strength  and determination your ancestors had  to succeed- be proud of them.
  4. 1 million men roamed the United states looking for work between 1874  and 1941.  They had no address and owned nothing.
  5. Large numbers of individuals left farms and moved to the city to work in factories.  They left no trail.
  6. People that lived in the slums of the city would be recorded in the census only in the census year.  They moved often  and census takers missed them.They had no assets so they don’t show up in probate
  7. Some of your ancestors  were probably in institutions like poor house, almshouse, Insane asylums, poor farms and prisons.
    Don’ take it personal it was a common practice to put poor people in institutions.
  8. Most  beginning Genealogists  do not use enough of the 23 available databases to locate the person they want to find.



Industrialization factory
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