Genealogists can easily develop tunnel vision. Sometimes it serves a good purpose and at other times it can cause us to lose our perspective.
For some reason I always imagine my ancestors as being older than me and if I’m not careful I tend to see them as having always lived their life as an older person. That’s a mistaken assumption and one that can at times cause me to make incorrect assumptions about behavior and motivations.
A 25-year old is at a different stage in their life than a 75-year old. It seems obvious, but like many obvious things sometimes we need a reminder. I was reminded myself when looking at a deposition made by my great-grandfather, Charles Neill. I always mentally picture him as older with gray hair–like he appears in the picture with several of his grandchildren.
I was reading the affidavit a short time after seeing my daughter’s fiance–who is about the age now that Charles was then. I remembered Charles was not always in his late sixties. There was a day when he was a young man.
We all need to remember that sometimes.