Detail Limits

Life has changed in the last one hundred years.

I can’t remember if I have ever had to provide just my year of birth on any application–credit, job, insurance, etc. If I only gave my year of birth, the recipient of the application would have handed it right back to me and asked me to complete it.

My great-grandfather, born 99 years before me might not have had any record that provided his precise date of birth. There were no civil birth certificates recorded in 1869 when he was born. Of course there may have been other records.

That’s not quite the point of this post.

There are times where no matter how diligently you research, all you will get is the year of an event. And there are times where no matter how many records you find all you will have is an approximate time frame for an event.

Those same comments apply to locations where events took place. It’s not always possible to know precisely where something happened. Not all records are that specific. A marriage record may only tell you the county where a marriage took place in 1867. You may find out the name of the minister or Justice of the Peace which may suggest a location.

But the precise spot? That may never be known.