I started this last weekend then was OBE, overcome by events. Does that happen to you?
I hope and trust you discovered some good information last year in your family research and I hope my blogs have helped.
I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the five standards as defined by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) because it is foundational to our research. In researching recently for a client back their immigration ancestor in the mid-1600s of Virginia, I came across a lot of misinformation I needed to weed through to determine fact from conjecture or simply getting multiple men of the same name mixed up. And while we may make notes, even about conjecture, we must go back and firmly decide whether it was true or not. Even I almost left a piece of information in my report which clearly stated that an allegation was not proven to be true but upon reading it just before sending it to the client I realized that I had proven it false and clearly showed it. This involved whether a man’s first wife, Mary, had died and he remarried an Elizabeth as many people believe. However, early in his life his wife, Mary, signed her Dower in the sale of a piece of land. It is Mary who is named in the will. It is also Mary, who filed the will and rejected it since she did not receive her Dower. Therefore, there was no second wife named Elizabeth.
We also took a look at often overlooked court records. This is where we usually can find the most information about a person and family. Most, bought and sold land, applied for licenses, served on juries, and had many other interactions with the government. I also stressed to look at ALL parts of the estate records for overlooked children, daughters’ marriages, and kinship. In one case, if there was any doubt who a man’s daughter married, the fact, “for love and affection to my daughter,” he deeded his son-in-law and daughter, named, a tract of land.
We also reviewed how to access these court and other government records at FamilySearch.org. It is a free site, the best kind, and they are constantly digitizing new records. There are some records that require accessing from a Family History Library or an affiliate public library and we discussed how to find them.
One other overlooked part is comparing the timeline of our ancestors to historical events. There are lots of reasons to do this and one of the biggest is that it might help explain the WHY. Why someone suddenly died, why they became an invalid, or why they might have moved.
My past blogs are available for free on my website at www.AtlantaGenealogy.com and you can go back and reread any of them, any time you like.