How can I determine Orrin Badger's parents?

The timeline I currently have for him is that he:

  • was born in New Hampshire in 1802 and died in Vermont in 1860.
  • married in April of 1846 at Montpelier, Vermont, to Olive Coburn:

"Vermont Vital Records, 1760-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XFFD-RMH : 6 December 2014), Orrin Badger and Olive Coburn, 30 Apr 1846, Marriage; State Capitol Building, Montpelier; FHL microfilm 27,464.

  • is in the 1850 Census (with Olive and others) at Holland, Orleans, Vermont:

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MC2D-SWK : 12 April 2016), Orren Badger, Holland, Orleans, Vermont, United States; citing family 111, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

His ID# on FamilySearch's Family Tree is LTKY-1ZX.

  • 2
    Can you tell us where you've already looked, so we don't repeat your work. Do you have a birth record? How else do you know his birth year?
    – user6485
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    The birth date and place appears to come from the 1850 Census record which is attached to the FamilySearch FT profile. It would be useful to have these details incorporated into the body of the question, in addition to any other information about research effort you've already made.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 21:47
  • 1
    What makes you think that he was born in New Hampshire when the 1850 Census has his birthplace as Vermont? The 1850 Census suggests children who may have been from a previous marriage.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


Here are some steps you can take to review what you already have and plan for future research.

  • Create a research log and keep a research journal. At first your log will be a 'records wish list' of the records you plan to search for, which you'll list before you search. As you go along, keep track of what you've found, and what you didn't find.
  • Create a timeline for his life. Spreadsheets can be a useful tool for doing this, but if you prefer tables, using a table in a word-processor also works. Include all of the events that you know of so far, and indicate which sources you used to get that information. By doing this, we can see that he was in Vermont as early as 1827.
  • It can help to create a Genealogy Source Checklist like this one designed by Ancestry's Crista Cowan, to keep track of what you've found, and to prioritize which records to look for.
  • Check the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries and other references so you'll be aware of the jurisdictions that would have been in place during the period you are researching. Read the county chronologies for the counties involved. Get a map, preferably a map that shows the terrain, and plot the places mentioned in all your records on a map. If you have a Google account, you can use Google's My Maps / My Places to save your map.
  • Examine the original source documents you've already found, and make a note of all the information in each of the sources to look for clues for further research. For example, on the Vermont Vital Records index card for his second marriage, you can see the minister who officiated at his wedding. Was that minister affiliated with a church? If so, which one? Can you find the church records? Have you looked for other people who were married in that area with the same surname, who might be siblings or family members?
  • Use the United States Record Selection Table in the FamilySearch Wiki to get ideas for other record types that will help you find the information you're looking for. If that doesn't help, think about ways that you might use Inferential Genealogy to solve the problem. Does the family own land? Can you trace the land with land records, to see if he bought the land, or inherited it from relatives?
  • Read the articles on New Hampshire and Vermont in the FamilySearch Wiki, and look for other research guides on New Hampshire and Vermont to familiarize yourself with what records might exist for that area.
  • Try to use other records to fill in your timeline and work backwards slowly towards the estimated date of birth. Be aware of other people with similar names so that you won't mix up their records.
  • Don't just search for people by name on FamilySearch, because many records are not indexed yet and can only be accessed by browsing. Do a place search, searching for all the different jurisdictions that pertain to your study places.
  • If you are lacking in particular research skills, make use of online classes and other materials that will help you work with pre-1850 Census records or other records you may not be familiar with. One good place to find information about records that were created by the US Federal Government is NARA's Know Your Records program. You can view their presentations on YouTube, via the Know Your Records playlist.
  • Try to find articles in genealogical publications or blog posts that talk about the localities you're researching -- by examining case studies, you can see how other researchers have approached the same problem, and see what resources are available for that geographical area. The most up-to-date version of PERSI, the Periodical Source Index, can be searched at Findmypast. PERSI is indexed by subject -- see tips on how to search it on the Findmypast blog.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.