Blog 2021 10 15 Are you making these mistakes, part III?

This is the final week on common mistakes.


Not properly understanding what your DNA testing is telling you is another common mistake.  While a large portion of what DNA is providing you are suggestions, sometimes it can be hard facts.  The specific example I am speaking of pertains to a prominent family surname here in Cobb County, Georgia.  The Cobb County Blackwell family Haplogroup is R1B, my client is R1A.  That means there is no Blackwell family connection for at least 1,000 years.  Nevertheless, many would still keep researching that line instead of walking away.

One of the biggest mistakes many make is always wanting to find quick answers even though the process can be very time-consuming.  We will take the time to go through countless index books and look at other people’s online trees but will you take the time to read Court Minute Books and other court or local records?  Many of the early American and Colonial Court Minute Books are not indexed and require reviewing page by page.  During the heart of the Covid Pandemic shut down, when there was no place to go if you wanted to, gave me the time to go page by page through 10 year’s of minute book records from a Georgia County in the early 1800s and finally find actual documentation linking a father to three of his sons.  We knew he was the father but there was no direct evidence, until now.

Along this same line, you may need to order records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) which may take a long time and cost some money to obtain.  But the information those records may provide may contain a lot of useful information once it arrives.  You should make every effort to obtain the records, whether you order directly from NARA or through a third-party organization like Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches.  Going back to an earlier paragraph concerning military records, right now, I am waiting for NARA to reopen and allow Civil War Pension Records to be copied to determine what happened to an Illinois Civil War veteran.  People have him and his family in Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, and other places simply because of the common name.  Those records should point me in the direction he went.

Another common mistake is forgetting that boundaries have changed over time.  Has anyone heard about the state of Franklin?  While it never got approved by Congress, it was in what is now northeast Tennessee.  One of the first governors of the State of Delaware died in the same house he was born in, only it was Cecil County, Maryland when he was born and New Castle County, Delaware when he died.  You need to be sure of any boundary changes and look at what government entity controlled it when the event or events occurred but be sure to check all locations.

I trust as you continue on your journey towards finding your ancestors, you remember some of these and avoid them.