Your Evidence Requires Careful Analysis… careful with evidence and pedigrees that are supplied to you by other genealogists. In the past, the collector of family data–appointed by your family organization or even self-appointed, took the information from many submitters and manipulated it to make the proof. Like the old computer button which “made it fit.”

“Make it fit?” Genealogical evidence is what it is.

Let me suggest a different tack–separate out the evidence piece-by-piece. I like to extract the data onto family charts (individual family units with father, mother, and all the kids)  and pedigrees (for data that connects more than one generation). I don’t mix them. I keep each source and each family separate–identified with bibliographic details so I know where the information originates.

I spread all the charts out and match those that match:
by names (including spellings, middle names, and initials)
by dates which I write exactly as the date is written in the record
by places with state and country identified
by associates, especially bondsmen, witnesses, and neighbors
by property descriptions

See my post on this blog for 27 September 2017, “Your Documents, and Your Evidence Require Research.”

If you merge the evidence too quickly; or, if you force the information to fit by shaving years from estimated birth and death dates; or, it you add children that are not present in the documents; or, if you change the data to match family tradition without some corroborating evidence–your manipulations will lead to errors.

Be careful with someone else’s analysis if they don’t supply the documents. Your work needs a log and a descriptive account of what you did and why you think you are correct. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Recall when you emailed your questions to the compiler of the genealogy and received no response? Without notes to state what you did and why you did it, you probably won’t be able to respond either.


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