Never be so stuck on an initial conclusion that you avoid other reasonable scenarios or avoid looking for records because the person you need to find “simply cannot be in that location.”
A relative concluded a family member returned to Germany for a visit and returned to the United States simply because the ancestor could not be located in the 1870 census. The story of the trip was repeated enough that it became an accepted fact.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions when we are first starting out. We can sometimes “break brick walls” by going back and reviewing those initial conclusions.
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