Several weeks ago I wrote a post about Thomas Smith, one of my great-grandfathers, and the difficulty of finding a man with such a common name in the 1800s. (Wouldn't it be worse today?!) I'd found him in the 1850 U.S. Census but not in the 1860 U.S. Census, which led me to believe he'd died between those years (which is still a posibility). At the end of the post, because I still feel like a novice at family history, I mentioned how grateful I'd be for suggestions of how to proceed with my search and where to search next.
Two fellow GeneaBloggers left comments for me: Claudia of Claudia's Genealogy Blog suggested I look at neighboring counties in Pennsylvania. Thank you, Claudia. I have not yet looked but I will. Apple of Apple's Tree wrote that she'd found Henry Smith, the same age as Thomas, also with children Nelson and Rosan, in the 1860 census in the same township and county in Pennsylvania and told me the census page number. Thank you, Apple.
I suspect she searched for the less common name, Nelson Smith, to locate this family. The lightbulb would probably have eventually turned on in my brain and I would have thought to do it, but the process was so much quicker with Apple's help.
Aren't GeneaBloggers wonderful?! Sometimes we're new, inexperienced, don't know where to look, or just have a temporarily dim bulb, and another geneablogger comes to the rescue with a census record, a newspaper article, a link to a new place to search, or just a different way of looking at the problem. Sometimes a brief comment causes us to turn our thoughts a different way which leads to a solution or breakthrough. Other times, someone might share how he/she solved a similar problem. All of this confirms to me the importance of comments when we visit others' blogs and the help, support, and encouragement we give to each other.
Thank you, Claudia and Apple, and everyone else who comes, reads, and comments here at My Ancestors and Me. I do truly appreciate it.