I’ve been working on the ancestry of a Mary Dingman, born in Canada (probably Ontario) in the early 1810s. There are online trees taking her family back generations. The only problem is that there’s not really anything solid on her connection to her parents. That needs to be solved before I put all those earlier ancestors in my file.

Since information on Mary herself is coming up short (she died in the 1850s in Illinois), I could trace her purported parents and siblings (and maybe even purported grandparents and cousins) in hopes of something turning up on her, but I need to wait to put them in her actual tree until I have a more solid connection.

Mary in 1850 in Winnebago, County, Illinois—who are her parents?

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7 Responses

  1. Hmmm. I would put her in my tree but with unknown parents, then connect the unknown parents to what is known about her lineage back from there. This happens a lot these days with DNA matches. We know for certain that we have a solid tree but there’s one missing link. At least she won’t get lost in the shuffle and, if your tree is online, maybe someone will identify the missing connection.

  2. Purported parents probate is the first place I would go. I have been very lucky with probate proving children.

  3. I have the problem of an ancestor who I am pretty sure I know the connection, but a purported sister married my gr-gr-grandfather who would be her nephew. I know 1st cousins married, but an aunt and her nephew? This is what some of these online trees are showing. UGH!

    • I’m not saying it happened in your case, but a relative of mine married his niece in Illinois in the early 1900s. They moved to Nebraska immediately after the marriage.

  4. In a situation like this I do two things. First I attach her possible parents with the word”unproven.” With Family Tree Maker I enter the parent’s name and as a second step I open the drop down menu next to it that has a picture of a pencil. That is where I add the suffix, unproven. This way I know something is not proven and look further to read the notes that tell why I don’t believe it is proven. Secondly I research every member of the household in which Mary appeared in the 1850 census. Frequently this gives me the answers I need for Mary.

    • That’s usually my approach too–except it is my personal preference to not connect them in my database in any way shape or form. Normally the 1850 census would be helpful, but in this case her first husband had the infinite wisdom to move to where they had no family at all. This left her in the lurch when he died in the late 1840s

  5. Michael, if you don’t put them in your digital tree, aren’t you just accumulating a lot a paper to go through again and again; or do you have multiple unproven digital files? How do you manage those?

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