Benefits of Old Research
We’ve discussed in past blogs the importance of reviewing our old notes and documents for our family research. While most love the thrill of the chase, researching for new documents and exploring the web, we might be missing vital clues right in our own files. Let’s take a look.
This topic came to mind this week as I was transcribing documents and adding source information from old notes and documents. I was transcribing a newspaper article about an accidental shooting of a 15-year-old boy, traveling in a cart on his way home from hunting in 1902. Sadly, the gun slipped between the slats of the cart, discharging, and killing the young man. The newspaper article was dated Oct 6, 1902, and that was the date used for his death date. There were not any death record or cemetery records to verify his death date. The newspaper article didn’t state a date or day of death. I only had the date of the article. Usually, this kind of news is published close to the death date because it is “breaking news.” What made me question the date? More news articles from other newspapers that are now available online. Did either of those published a day or date of death? No, they didn’t but the date of the two newspaper publications were October 1st and October 2nd. Hmmm…so this poor lad had to have died by Oct 1st or earlier. I have not found a specific date yet but have reached out to relatives to see if anyone else has additional information.
I use this example as something that I have looked at in my records for years. It was such a sad tale that we all could imagine the tragedy of a youth dying in a hunting accident. It wasn’t until I was typing out the obituary and making sure that I’d captured all the details that the disparity between the publication dates caught my eye. What about you? Do you have some obituaries or land records or marriage records that you’ve been thrilled to find but haven’t read and transcribed? Pick a few out and see if you uncover overlooked information or think of new ways to research additional information related to those documents.
I sound like broken record stuck on the same song. Here are links to past blogs related to this topic. <grin>Even after all these years of research, it amazes me what can be discovered by reviewing the data.
Revisiting Research - Herding Cats Genealogy
Reviewing the Genealogical Data You Have - Herding Cats Genealogy
Find Once, Read Twice - Herding Cats Genealogy
As you begin to craft your family story, these documents help breath life by identifying events, activities and moments that defined the lives of your ancestors. This same family had twelve children but lost four of them before they’d reached twenty-one years of age. How did these events shape their lives and impact their other children? We all share the human experience and can imagine how tragic that must have been. Let’s make sure we honor our ancestors by looking carefully at the information and clues in our existing research so that we can write our best family history. Good luck!
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With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.