Write down everything you think you know about a specific ancestor. Do not refer to anything other than what is in your mind. Include birth, death, marriage information, likely educational level, religion, occupation, how often the person moved, etc. When you are done, see what pieces of information you can find in actual records or “reliable” sources. Those other pieces of information about your ancestor for which you have no source may not be true, could be partially true, or completely incorrect. But if you have those pieces of information “in your head” while searching for your ancestor, they could be impacting how you search, what types of records you look for, etc. And that could be hindering your research.
Some families move more frequently than others. That can be a difficult concept to grasp for researchers who still live in the same area where all their great-grandparents did. The bigger problem is making certain that the same people have actually been located in different locations and that the researcher is not assuming they have the same person (or family) without more than just a hunch. Making certain ages, places of birth, and other identifying characteristics are reasonably consistent is one way to reduce the chance of making an incorrect identification. Researching as thoroughly as possible is another way to be more certain that two people in records hundreds of miles apart are actually the same person. The more items that are located in each of the geographically […]
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