Don’t Forget…It’s Personal

Many members of one of my ancestral families came to the United States in the mid-1840s. They all initially settled in Kentucky, later heading to Illinois. Except for my third great-grandparents and their children. They waited until 1853.

Of course I wondered why. The parents of the couple had been deceased for some time. That was not the reason. Then I discovered that the mill the father operated in Germany was one that he leased–not one that he owned. Was it possible he stayed until his lease ran out?

I’m not certain. I may never be certain. But it is a possibility. I will not put this down as a fact in my genealogical database. I will not put it in my notes as a known fact. I’ll state what I know: “George leased the mill in the German village where they lived. It is not known what the terms of this lease were. It is possible they remained in Germany until the lease expired.”

Much about our ancestor’s lives is personal and sometimes we will never know those details. If we speculate or are uncertain that needs to be crystal clear in any information we write.