What the Record Says Versus What You Want

It’s always advised to determine what the record is actually saying–without inferring statements that are not supported directly by what is in the document, consistent record-keeping practices, state or federal law, etc.  Don’t put statements in records that are not there and ask yourself “does the document really say” that or am I just wanting it to? Pre-1880 US Census records don’t provide proof (at least not by themselves) of parent-child relationships, heirs to an estate are not necessarily children, paying property taxes in a location does not imply residence there, etc.

Be dogged in your approach to understanding what records say–as Riley suggests.

While he never says he wants a treat, that’s usually a safe bet.

Genealogy Tip of the Day book is here. Learn more about it.