It Was Not Germane and They Knew It

When viewing legal records for an ancestor, it can be frustrating when certain details are not included in a record, deposition, or affidavit.

But some times there is a reason those details are not included–they may not be germane to the case at hand (often in the case in certain legal records) or they may have been common knowledge and not really “news” (in the case of newspapers).

Probate records are usually not concerned with the cause of death for the person whose estate is being settled (unless an heir murdered the deceased). It matters not one bit to the probate settlement whether the person died of a stroke or pneumonia–dead is dead.

A newspaper account of an event may not state details that the genealogist a hundred years later would like to know. Often that’s because most readers already know that information and a newspaper’s goal is to sell “news” not “facts everyone already knows.”