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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:11 am 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
Posts: 8139
Location: Staffordshire
From Lostcousins

Don't assume it's correct….

There's a common theme that runs through the emails I get from members who are up against a 'brick wall' - in almost every case they've assumed that the information they already have is correct. Of course, when you stop and think you'll realise that if you can't find the answer - then you're almost certainly looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, or for the wrong name. But often we're so wrapped up in the mystery that we don't stop and look at the problem objectively.

A common assumption is that if an ancestor gives the same birthplace on several censuses, then it must be right. Here's a tip - people are born at a very early age! As a result, many people didn't know where they were born, and simply assumed that the first home they remembered was where they had started life.

On the same theme, many people didn't know their parents' names. Why would they? It's only recently that some children have started to call their parents by name, and even today some parents call each other "mother" and "father" when the children are present. No wonder marriage certificates are so often incorrect.

Here's another one: if you've only known one father, whose name are you going to put on your marriage certificate? That's an easy one to answer, but of course the only father you know isn't necessarily your biological father - a widow with young children had a stark choice: remarry, go to the workhouse, or starve. (It wasn't any better for a widower.)

Excellent advice I think!!


Searching for lost relatives? Win the Lottery!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:03 pm 
Sage of Simonstone
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Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:07 pm
Posts: 1600
Location: Burnley
Very sound advice. I never even looked at my paternal grandmother's tree until about a year ago because my father's cousin had been to Ireland and done a sterling job on it back to the early 1700s. The second generation on it included a quite famous churchman whose life is fairly well documented so when I was in Dublin last year I spent time in the library checking it out. Not only could I not prove the connection, I'm fairly certain I disproved it. So 4 generations got wiped off my tree in one fell swoop until I can start with what I'm sure of and work back again.
I think it was a combination of assumption and wishful thinking on the cousins's part.
Trouble is that tree's all round the family now and everyone else seems happy to accept it. So if you come across a McHale tree with me on it beware!

If you can't fight, wear a big 'at

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