I have never listed everything out like that to come up with possible scenarios! Very cool!
Thank you, David. I think it is pretty cool too. Many times when you have a brick wall you have everything you need to know right in front of you but you are just not seeing the answer. If you take all of the individual bits of info and compile them into a table or chart, you just might have a light bulb moment.
What if you have conflicting data?
Great question because conflicting data is pretty much the norm. You always record ALL data you find, even if it conflicts with what you think you know to be true. You can give weight to the various facts. Let's say you have 3 different locations for a person's birth. You have to evaluate how reliable each of the sources for that data is. You might end up having to investigate all three as possibilities if you can't exclude anything. Remember, just because you have 3 sources that say a person was born in GA and only one that says SC, you can't just assume that GA is correct.
Where do you record all of this information and in what format?
I just put it in my research notes in Legacy Family Tree. Legacy has a general notes tab and a research notes tab on every person. I put the person's bio under the general tab and all of my active research under the research tab. I pretty much just type it out just like I did on the blog. If I am doing a formal case study (for possible publication) then I have all of this information in a Word document. I can always cut and paste the entire report back into Legacy.
"In your analysis, you concluded,'If Lydia remarried after her husband Solomon died, it had to have been after the 1830 census was taken. Since she is not found in the 1840, she has either died or remarried.' Isn't it possible you just missed her in the 1840 or the census taker did?"
Yup, it sure could be possible. It is also possible that Lydia moved away and I am just not finding her. I didn't find her listed as head of household in 1840 in the entire state of Georgia (name variations also checked). I also checked the households of all of her known children (who all remained in a two county area) and there isn't a female in any of those households that could be Lydia. Using the data that I have, I have come up with the most likely hypothesis which is that Lydia has died or remarried. That doesn't mean that something else didn't happen. There are a couple of Lydia Pattons listed up in the New England area. It is unlikely either of these are my Lydia, especially since all of her children stayed in the area. I did look at the two Lydias in New England but rejected them, for now. That doesn't mean that later I won't have to go back and revisit this and broaden my search. Your first hypotheses should be the most logical, most likely scenarios. You might have to broaden it later but it is better to start out specific and work your way outward than to start out by investigating everything.
Another question from Michelle:
So what will you do now to prove/disprove your theory that Lydia has died or remarried?
I want to take a look at the tax records. Solomon died in 1811 but his estate wasn't sold/distributed until 1816 so there should be a tax record paper trail. At this point I don't know if Solomon's entire land holdings were sold off or only a portion. I need to look at the tax records to find this out. If there was a piece of the estate left intact, and left in Lydia's control, then there will be tax records on the land. I can then follow these records forward in time. I also need to watch the deeds during this same time period in case Lydia sold or deeded any remaining land. It is also possible that Lydia still had control over the original piece of land she had in Oglethorpe County.
I have checked the marriage index for Wilkes County through 1834. The originals later than that have not been microfilmed so I need to check the abstract book by Butler and Turner. If the marriage is there I can request a copy from Wilkes County. I will add these two tasks to my Research Calendar for finding Lydia's death information.
Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis