More than One Way to Read That?

“I had a large client report.”

The report, or more accurately the client report, was what was large–not the client themselves. In this case, it is probably pretty clear that the word “large” does not refer to the client themselves. But ask yourself when reading any statement: is there another way to read that? Is there a different interpretation that is reasonable?

Don’t get stuck on your first interpretation of a word, phrase, or sentence. Some items genealogists use are poorly edited for clarity, particularly 19th century county histories, “mug books” of biographies submitted by family members, and more newspapers than one may care to admit. If that’s the case, references to certain items may be ambiguous.

Always ask yourself: Is there another reasonable way to interpret this?