Quite a few years ago, we mentioned the use of discrepancy charts to analyze statements from different documents that provide pieces of information that disagree with each other. Looking at that chart now, there are some changes that I would make.
I would add a column for the date of the document so that the table could be sorted by when the information was provided. A column for perceived reliability would be helpful as well–as long as my reason for that perception is included.
Always be thinking of ways that any analytical tools you use could be improved. It’s not bad to keep thinking of ways things could be better. At the bottom of my table I add my conclusion about the information referenced in the chart–along with my reason.
The reason. Never forgot to document your reason.
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That’s not how it works. The will date is the date the will was signed by the testator. The probate date is the date it is admitted to probate by the judge of the court that handles probate matters in the relevant jurisdiction.
Other reminders here are to look at the original and to find the actual book in which the item is recorded–as Ancestry references several books for this item (without a page number either).
The will of an ancestor mentioned provisions for his children. The daughters all had surnames different from the testator–except for one who had the same last name as the will-writing ancestor. I assumed she was not married at the time the will was written.
I was wrong.
She was married. She simply married a distant cousin with the same last name as hers. For that reason her last name did not change upon her marriage and the lack of a name change made me initially assume that she was not married.
If it can happen in the Tinsley family, it can certainly happen in the Smiths, Browns, or families with more common names.
Many genealogists are self-taught for a variety of reasons. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as a person realizes that there may be gaps in their knowledge–of sources, methods, local history, culture, sociology, etc. Even genealogists that are not self-taught have gaps in their knowledge if they are willing to admit it.
It never hurts to read a book or guide to the area you are researching in, even if you skim it quickly–especially if it has been a while since you have read such material. You may pick up a new thought, idea, source, or suggestion–or may even think of how you would have done the book differently.
And if you find a suggestion or reference in the book that you think is wrong, double check before you assume the author was incorrect. It may be that the reader had just discovered a gap or error in their own knowledge. I also use pencil to annotate reference books in my collection as well as that helps with my learning and retention of material
Consider this your periodic reminder to digitize those photographs, especially new ones that you may have recently obtained. This image of Virgil Rampley was purchased on Ebay. Digital images of it were made as soon as I took it out of the envelope.
When an index or manual searching takes you to an ancestral entry in a census, tax, or other list entry in an original record, take times to look at the neighboring names. Are the names in rough alphabetical order? If so neighborhood clues can’t be inferred from the proximity of names.
That is unless all the “B” surnames lived in the same part of the county.
There are a variety of ways school could give you clues to your family. Old pictures of a school a relative attended could help jog their memory of school and other events and people. Knowing where someone attended school as a child could help find the family in a census or local church records, particularly for urban ancestors. And you could always document a chronology of school attendance as well.
An uncle of mine died in the 1860s leaving no descendants and his siblings or the children of his deceased siblings as his heirs. The administrator of his estate was someone whose name I did not recognize and someone whose name also did not appear among the list of heirs.
After much research, I discovered that the administrator was married to one of the daughters of an heir of the estate–making him a nephew-in-law. I had initially thought he was a creditor of the deceased as those individuals sometimes get appointed to settle up the estate. That was not the case here as the administrator’s name did not appear on the list of individuals to whom my recently deceased uncle owed money.
He was a relative by marriage and since his wife’s mother (a sister to the deceased uncle) was still alive, the wife’s mother was the heir–not the administrator’s wife.