Here's an example of my great-great-grandmother, Katharina Bergmann #7126 (1834-1916). In 1894, her second husband Martin Barkman died. She continued to own an eighty-acre farm near Jansen, Nebr., that she had bought in 1879, shortly after her first husband died. But I suppose that her son-in-law, Klaas R. Friesen, farmed her land because he had purchased the neighboring eighty acres in 1892 in the inheritance settlement of her first husband. Klaas was married to her second daughter, Aganetha Barkman (1858-1931).
Here is a snippet from a plat map. The land in green to the south is the tract that Klaas R. Friesen had bought from the other heirs in 1892, while the land in blue to the north is the tract that Katharina had purchased herself in 1879 just after her first husband died.
|Plat Book of Jefferson County, Nebraska (Northwest Publishing Co., 1900) 7. Accessed at Fairbury Public Library, Fairbury, Nebraska.|
|Warranty Deed, Katharina Bergmann to Klaas R. Friesen, 27 March 1899, Jefferson County, Nebraska, Deed Book 25:165, Register of Deeds, County Courthouse, Fairbury.|
|Henry Reimer household, 1900 US Census, Nebraska, Jefferson County, Rock Creek Precinct, SD 4, ED 92, p. 15, family 301, lines 31-41. Accessed at Ancestry.com on 7 November 2012.|
In the 1910 census at age 75, she was back in Cub Creek Precinct living with the Klaas R. Friesens, her second daughter's family. At least two of her daughters and their families, Heinrich and Katharina Reimer and Jacob and Anna Reimer, had moved to Meade, Kans., in 1908; so she moved back to her second daughter then. It was even a three-generation household, as her newly-wed granddaughter and husband, Henry and Aganetha Kroeker, were also living at home.
|Klaas R. Friesen household, 1910 US Census, Nebraska, Jefferson County, Cub Creek Precinct, SD 4, ED 90, p. 11, family 117, lines 37-45. Accessed at Ancestry.com on 7 November 2012.|
|Jacob Reimer family, Kansas state census 1915, Meade County, Logan Township, p. 9, lines 10-21. Accessed at Ancestry.com on 26 June 2016.|
Finally my grandmother Margaretha H. Reimer #321744 (1895-1993) recorded in her family register that her grandmother Katharina Bergman died on 25 November 1916 at age 81 at Jacob Reimer's, the same place she was staying in the 1915 census.
|Freundschaft Register Buch (Relatives Register Book), Family records of Margaretha H. (Reimer) Siemens, book begun in 1923, covers years 1808 – about 1980, held by Anna (Siemens) Fast, Hillsboro, Kansas.|
The key to tracing the last years of elderly ancestors is often to know the names of their sons-in-law. Most often, they lived with their married daughters, so you need to know the names of their husbands. If I hadn't known that her daughters married Klaas R. Friesen, Henry F. Reimer, and Jacob F. Reimer, I might not even have found some of the census or land records. This is probably the most important reason to follow the children of your direct ancestors at least until the parents pass away.