The genealogist may be frustrated when an obituary indicates someone is survived by “many grandchildren.” But there are reasons why a family may choose to use this phrase instead of listing all the grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) or using a specific number. A family may wish to not name all the grandchildren for reasons of privacy, because publishing the entire list is cost-prohibitive, or because deciding who to count as a grandchildren can (in some families given some personalities) create family discord (should a former step-child of a child be counted or not?).

It’s important for genealogists to remember that documents are not created for us. They are created for others, often for non-genealogy purposes, and genealogist use them because they are what we have.



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