Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 3 – Have a Working Hypothesis

Sherlock gathered his clues and then formulated a working hypothesis. As new clues came in he would modify his hypothesis as needed. His hypotheses gave him direction for what steps he needed to take next.

Here is a very simple example. Let’s say John Q. Citizen was living with his parents in Perry County, Mississippi in 1880. His soon to be wife Mary Ann Smith was living with her parents in neighboring Marion County. In 1900, you find the married couple living together in Marion County. You know that it is more common for a couple to marry in the bride’s home county than the groom’s so your working hypothesis is that they most likely married in Marion County. You now have a direction to search. You search the Marion County marriage records but come up short. Your new hypothesis is that they married in Perry County.

“His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of someone or something, so we may assume as a working hypothesis that is was fear of someone or something which drove him from America.” [Holmes to Watson, "The Five Orange Pips"]

“Well, we will take it as a working hypothesis for want of a better.” [Holmes to Watson, "The Man with the Twisted Lip"]

“Let us take that as a working hypothesis and see what it leads us to.” [Holmes to Watson, "Silver Blaze"]

“Well, we can adopt it as a working hypothesis and then see how far our difficulties disappear.” [Holmes to Inspector White Mason, "The Valley of Fear"]

“Well, now, Watson. Let us judge the situation by this new information…. All of our reasoning seems to point that way. At any rate, we may take it as a hypothesis and see what consequences it would entail.” [Holmes to Watson, "Wisteria Lodge"]

“At least we may accept it as a working hypothesis.” [Holmes to Watson, "The Devil’s Foot"]

“One forms provisional theories and waits for time or fuller knowledge to explode them.” [Holmes to client Robert Ferguson, "The Sussex Vampire"]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day 2 - Consult your reference library

As smart as he was, Holmes still had a large reference library which he consulted often. It is well worth your while to invest in books. You need genealogy methodology books, genealogical dictionaries, books on history, topic specific books such as those on land records, census records, court records, books on reading old handwritings, etc. You can take a look at my reference library HERE. A genealogist cannot possibly know everything there is to know. Surrounding yourself with quality reference materials is a must.

“He stretched his hand up, and took down a bulky volume from the shelf.” [Watson observing Holmes, "Sign of the Four"]

“Let us glance at our Continental Gazetteer.” [Holmes to Watson, "A Scandal in Bohemia"]

“Kindly hand me down the letter K of the ‘American Encyclopedia’ which stands upon the shelf beside you.” [Holmes to Watson, "The Five Orange Pips"]

“He picked a red-covered volume from a line of books of reference beside the mantelpiece.” [Watson observing Holmes,"The Noble Bachelor"]

“Holmes shot his long, thin arm and picked out Volume ‘H’ in his encyclopaedia of reference.” [Watson observing Holmes, "The Priory School"]

“I leaned back and took down the great index volume to which he [Holmes] referred.” [Watson narrating, "The Sussex Vampire"]

“There is a great garret in my little house which is stuffed with books. It was into this I plunged and rummaged for an hour. At the end of that time I emerged with a little chocolate and silver volume. Eagerly I turned up the chapter of which I had a dim remembrance.” [Holmes narrating, "The Lion’s Mane"]

“Here is a book which first brought light into what might have been forever dark.” [Holmes to Inspector Bardle, "The Lion’s Mane"]

“Sherlock Holmes threw himself with fierce energy upon the pile of commonplace books in the corner. For a few minutes there was a constant swish of leaves, and then with a grunt of satisfaction he came upon what he sought. So excited was he that he did not rise, but sat upon the floor like some strange Buddha, with crossed legs, the huge books all round him, and one open upon his knees.” [Watson observing Holmes, "The Veiled Lodger"]

“Where is my Crockford?” [Holmes to Watson, "The Retired Colourman." Holmes was referring to Crockford’s Clerical Directory, which is a reference book of the clergy of the Church of England and other churches of Great Britain. It was first published in 1858 and the last edition was published in 2009. Who knows, this book may be as valuable to a genealogist today as it was to Holmes!]

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Some surprises in the box (Part II)

I should have known this last box of papers would give my fits. You can read about the box HERE and you can read about the first surprise HERE.

I found TWO marriage records for the same couple.

W. T. Ramshur and Susie Simmons married in Marion County, Mississippi on 26 Jul 19521
W. T. Ramshur and Susie Simmons married in Marion County, Mississippi on 26 Sep 19612

(both W. T. and Susie are deceased)


Both records have the application, license and certificate which is nice.  The 1961 marriage has a clue. This was Warner’s second marriage with the first ending in divorce and this was Susie’s 3rd marriage with the last ending in divorce. The 1952 marriage doesn’t give this information.

It looks like Warner and Susie married each other twice with a divorce in between. Now I need to ask the chancery court to look for a divorce decree. My to-do list is getting longer and longer as I go through this last box.

1 Marion County, Mississippi, Marriage Book 28: 129, Ramshur-Simmons, 1952; Circuit Court, Columbia.
2 Marion County, Mississippi, Marriage Book 31: 534, Ramshur-Simmons, 1952; Circuit Court, Columbia. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Legacy webinars


Legacy is presenting their 500th webinar on Friday, April 14, 2017 and in celebration Legacy is going to make ALL of their webinars FREE for EVERYONE this weekend, Friday through Sunday.  All you need to do it go to the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website and let the fun begin! I am guessing that there will be some serious binge watching going on this weekend.  If you like what you see (and we think you will) consider getting a subscription so that you can have full time access to these wonderful webinars. There are 2 new webinars each week with some surprise bonus ones thrown in from time to time. There is no better genealogy continuing education bargain anywhere.