Review Your Previous Work?

When was the last time you reviewed a conclusion you reached a year ago? Two years ago? Is it possible you made a mistake? Were you using limited references? Is it possible that new records or indexes have come online that might give you more information and cause you to re-evaluate your conclusions from years ago?

A correspondent a few months ago asked me about a person I had researched five years ago. She questioned the person I thought was the father of the common ancestor. In looking over her research, I ended up agreeing with her conclusion, but for different reasons than she gave.

Review what you’ve done before–the perspective of time may give you cause to change your conclusions. Or not. But it never hurts.


What It Says–Not What It “Should” Say

Remember that transcribers of records are supposed to copy a record or a source the way it is written–not what the record “should” say. If grandma’s name is Susannah and her marriage record lists her as “Susan,” transcribe it as “Susan.” If grandma gave the wrong place of birth on her marriage record don’t “fix it” when you make the transcription, copy it as it is on the record.

You can (and should) make a notation somewhere that the information is incorrect, and state how you know it is wrong. But don’t edit and correct what was on an original record.


Land Warrant versus Land Patents

A land warrant usually means that someone is entitled to a certain acreage of property, without giving any real specifics about where that property is. Warrants are issued for several reasons, with the most common reason being a reward for previous military service. A land patent transfers title to a specific piece of property to an individual.


One Letter Is All It Takes

Sometimes it can be difficult to get the wrong name out of your head–especially when you have only one spelling or rendering of the name to go on.

I was stuck on Emma Olenbaugh. She was only found in one census record. Turns out Olenbaugh was not her last name–Osenbaugh was.

Could a change in one letter make all the difference?