You have located several documents that suggest person A is the parent of person B. You ask another genealogist. Consider not telling them what you think. Instead ask them what their conclusion is. You have a family picture that you think you have identified. Your identification may be a hunch or may be based on looking at other pictures or information. You are going to ask someone else. Also consider just showing them the pictures and asking them what they think. In both cases, you want their actual opinion or conclusion. Not putting ideas in their head makes it easier for them to reach their own conclusion. Then you can go from there.
It is easy to say “don’t use just the word ‘Mother’ on the back of a picture.” The reality is that many photographs are identified this way and often individuals who could help us clarify the information are long deceased. This photograph was in a collection of materials that apparently belonged to my paternal grandmother–at least the album they were in were all photographs of other members of her family and that of my paternal grandfather. I am assuming that because of the grouping it is someone from one of their families. Some of the photographs are more clearly identified than this one is. I jumped to the conclusion was the mother of my grandmother (Ida [Trautvetter] Neill) because the handwriting “kind of looked like Grandma’s. That may […]
If you are working on a more recent relative and you’ve got a copy of their “funeral book,” look and see if the names of those who came to pay their respects are in the book. It is a good way to get ideas of who might have been your ancestor’s associates and who was alive when your ancestor died. They may have even written in their city of residence. Also remember that people tend to “go in together” and adjacent names in the book may be closely related to each other, members of the same family, etc. Don’t neglect the clues of who is a “paper neighbor” to who. And there’s always their signatures…hopefully they are readable.
When transcribing a document–even in your software program–consider including a quick citation in brackets at the beginning of the transcription. The brackets will tell readers that the information is not part of the transcription. It will also tell your readers where you obtained the material in case the citation in your database doesn’t get printed out with the transcription. Something like [Coshocton County, Ohio, Will Book C, page 212, obtained on FamilySearch on 3 May 2021] is better than nothing. Speaking from personal experience. Check out my Beginning Irish Research webinar.
Keep in mind that in some ethnic backgrounds reusing” names of deceased children was a very common practice. One of my ancestral couples from Ostfriesland, Germany, had four daughters named Reenste born within a ten year time span. The first three died shortly after birth. The fourth one grew to adulthood. Other families re-used names of deceased children, but usually there were not as many children as there was in this case. Some individuals will name children after previous spouses who died during the marriage. That may seem a little bit unusual today, but there was a time when it was not unheard of. And my genealogy software program thought I was nuts to have a family with four children with the same name. But it can happen.
An image posted yesterday on our Facebook page was from a guardianship case in Illinois in the 1880s. In the US guardianships are generally local court records. The name of the court responsible for overseeing these cases will vary from state to state–because state statute oversees the structure of the guardianship process. These records are usually guardianships for the estate of the child (property/money in which they had an interest)–not the physical custody of the child. During some time periods and places, the estate in which the child had an interest needed to have at least a certain value. The bond a guardian posted may have been in direct relationship to the value of the estate that was being overseen. Please keep in mind these are some generalizations […]
Think about the assumptions you make about life in the 19th or early 20th century? Are you certain it is true? We often make assunptions about cultural practices, legal practices, church practices, etc. Those assumptions can impact our research–negatively if we are not careful. Do some research. Research does not necessarily mean getting an answer from a random person on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
In reading through Civil War pension applications, the one thing that amazes me is the number of people who really didn’t know when they were born. Some people did know their date of birth and gave their age consistently. Others apparently only knew their approximate age. Is that why Grandpa’s age varies from one census record to another?
In some cases the latest transcription of something might not be the best. If you’ve seen a published book of tombstone inscriptions from the 1990s, you still might want to look at that book of transcriptions done in the 1940s. Stones might have been more legible in 1940, some might not have been readable at all in 1990. That book of transcribed marriage records in the 1930s might contain handwriting interpretations with different renderings of certain words. The ink might not have been as faded in 1930 as it was when a later transcription was done. And the transcriptionist from 1930 might have been more familiar with local names than was the 1980 era transcriptionist. Do not always assume the latest publication is the best. Sometimes it is […]
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