Finding Presidents and their Ancestors in the Stangest Places

by Stephen P. Morse

As genealogists, we are used to looking for our ancestors in ship manifests and in census records. We have mastered a variety of tricks for finding people in spite of name misspellings and incorrect birthdates. You might think that US presidents are a breed apart from our ancestors, but they are not. They also arrived on ships and have come face-to-face with the census taker.

In this paper I will show you how to search for presidential records, and you will see that it is no different than searching for ancestral records. We will encounter some of the same problems with both searches, and we'll see how these problems can be solved.

I am not claiming to have found all the relevant records, but rather just some of the obvious ones. I'm sure a professional genealogist (which I am not) can find many more. My goal is to present some of the techniques that I used to find the records so that you can apply those same techniques to finding your own ancestors.

© Stephen P. Morse, 2017