Sunday, October 14, 2012

Knowing Your Locations

Yesterday an expert in Irish research told me that my Irish brick wall was actually the Great Wall of China. OUCH!

Now on to knowing your locations...

I have been known to harp about how important it is to really know the location where you are doing research. This week on the Association of Professional Genealogists [APG] mailing list there was a discussion about families that were enumerated twice in the same census year*. Someone posted their experience with this:

"I have two 1930 censuses for Archie Fuller and family (Mary and Paul). The first one was enumerated on 3 Apr 1930 in Blackman Twp, Jackson, Mich. and the second one was enumerated 29 Apr 1930 in Meridian Twp, Ingham, Mich."
Someone else posted a very interesting response:
"I'm a little late to the party as I am catching up on my email, but your question immediately caught my attention, as I grew up in Blackman Township, Jackson County, Michigan. As you might guess from the township name, the Michigan meridian is running along these townships, as is "Meridian Road." You can visit the tiny little park they set up where the meridian and baseline cross. (Meridian Baseline Historic State Park.) Blackman is T2S R1W, and Meridian is T4N R1W. I love seeing the different Meridian Roads and Baseline Roads across the country, as well as the USGS markers and so on. Anyway, I would definitely be looking at maps and deeds. The locations are close to one another - they literally could have been in one in the morning and the other in the afternoon of April 1, 1930! It's difficult to know whether the 2nd enumerator failed to use the official census date rather than the date he or she visited the home. Perhaps you can find other information in a city directory or deed that provides more information."
Now that is the kind of information that can prove to be very useful! The more you know about the location the more records you will find.
*Permission granted by both parties to quote their conversation in this blog.

Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. >Yesterday an expert in Irish research told me that my Irish brick wall was actually the Great Wall of China. OUCH!

    You have the same (brick) wall too? Let me tell you about mine. I am looking ANYTHING on my great great grandfather, Michael McCormack. DOB: 1 Sep 1824, POB: Ireland. Just Ireland? Yes, just Ireland. Don't have a frickin' clue on where in Ireland. Every document says, "Ireland.” I might as well be shooting fish in a barrel with an empty gun!

  2. The problem (this is what the Irish expert told me) is the date range. The earlier you go in time, the less likely you will find Irish records. In your case you won't even have a chance of anything unless you can figure out WHERE in Ireland. One thing you might check is the newspapers. Sometimes when a person died that was from another country they would mention it and say the EXACT place. Does Michael have an obit?