Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ancestor or wannabe?

Often times when doing genealogical research we get so excited when we find someone in a records whose name and location matches with known information about our ancestor that we just assume it's a match! Please beware! Just because the name's the same doesn't necessarily mean it's the right person.

If the record you found your ancestor in has few clues to help confirm his identity without any lingering doubts, proceed with caution. Here are just a few tips:

Do a survey of other records. How many other people are there with that name in the county or locality you're searching?

Can you trace this person through other records to compile enough evidence to feel confident that you've got your man?

Can this person sign his own name and perhaps your ancestor used a mark?

Is his occupation the same as your ancestor?

Did he associate with other people known to associate with your family?

These are just a few things to consider when you think you have your man. Is he really an ancestor or just a "wannabe!"