The church’s funeral register indicated the first funeral at the church was in 1880. For a brief moment, I assumed that would be the first burial in the church’s cemetery as well. Not so. A physical search of the cemetery’s tombstones indicated a burial there in the mid-1870s. It could be that the cemetery was not originally associated with the church, that the church’s earlier records are missing, that the burials were conducted by a pastor from another church before the church in question was formed, or something else.
But my assumption that I had the first records of the church and that there could be nothing before that was wrong.
Check your assumptions before your own research gets buried by them.
Learn more about research methods and analysis in Michael’s newsletter Casefile Clues.