As many have said before, it’s no secret that ancestors with common forenames and surnames are challenging to research. The William Stephenson and Thomas Stevenson families of Hubbard Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, exemplified this challenge. This article in the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, a publication of the Ohio Genealogical Society, presents preliminary results on research into their English origins in County Durham and County Northumberland, England. Although not specifically noted in the article, three factors aided the research: (1) Isabella’s less common forename, (2) family and U.S. record information pointing to County Durham; and (3) two known associate families–Marsh/March and Pringle.
Ancestors with common surnames like Miller can be frustrating and complex to research. Lewis Miller of Painesville, Ohio, had a relatively uncommon given name and an unusual occupation. This combination helped “connect the dots” from his final residence in Painesville, Ohio, to earlier residences in New York City and Ontario/Yates Counties (NY). It also helped link him to other relatives. This article in Lakelines, the newsletter of the Lake County (Ohio) Genealogical Society, discusses some of the newspaper articles and advertisements that made these connections possible.