Discover Your Ancestors in Newspapers 1690-Today!
Last Name
GenealogyBank.com

06 December 2011

Conclusions Can Be Revised

Way back in 2003, I thought I had "figured out" an 1860 census entry with a few irregular entries. I even had a list of reasons why my conclusion was correct.

Flash forward to 2012. In attempting to "redo" the research, I reached a different conclusion about the 1860 census entry--one that meant I had more work to do.

Genealogical conclusions are always subject to new information, new procedures, and the potential that a misinterpretation was made along the way. Don't be afraid to revise.

7 comments:

  1. Michael,
    This is so very true! Especially as new records are being made available to us on a daily basis, it can be disheartening to find that your initial conclusion could have been so wrong. Revising your original research and starting over with a fresh outlook is the only way to go.
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  2. Kelly,

    In my case it was partially new records and partially that I needed to really take a good look at my original conclusions. The reasoning was valid, there were just some possibilities that were overlooked.

    It was frustrating to have to realize that (in my case) I hadn't found the guy in the 1860 census, but it hindsight it was good because now I have to re-evaluate why I can't find him in 1860 and that may actually lead to more information on him than I already have.

    In this case the incorrect conclusion about this guy and the 1860 census might have been part of my problem.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Michael,

    I have done the same thing. I had a lull in clients to research a few months ago so I went back and re-evaluated my entire tree.

    The first thing I found was that there were ridiculous numbers of new records that had popped up since I had looked at my tree last. I also found, however, a few loose ends that I was able to tie down and also a few areas that I was now skeptical about my path.

    I started a new tree on that line and researched it again from the beginning. Thankfully, I ended up with the same conclusion, though with much more detail and evidence.

    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kelly-

    Sometimes when I am at the FHL in Salt Lake or the ACPL in Ft. Wayne, I research and have valid reasons for why I did the next task but I don't always leave myself a sufficient audit trail of why I did what I did. Sometimes if I keep the copies or images in the right order, I can pretty much remember, but I need to be better about taking better notes as I research. A few times I really did forget why the next thing was copied and put in "the stack."

    Usually new things cause me to expand or solidify original conclusions, but every so often I really have to revise something based upon something new. I find writing out conclusions and reasons clears up so many things.

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  5. Michael, If you have difficulty with your note taking, there's little hope for me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kat-
    It's more that sometimes when I'm on a trip and trying to get the most "bang for my travel buck" that I don't track my process as well as I could. I keep track of where I get things.

    I was working on the William Rhodus who've I have been discussing in the newsletter and I had copies from census records in several years in different states for different people and copies from books, etc. It took me forever to "recreate" the process to determine why I had copied them. The good thing was that I knew what census or book everything was from, but I still wish I had kept better track of why I did what I did at the time I did it

    ReplyDelete
  7. Michael,

    This is when my OCD comes in quite handy. I am meticulous about my note-taking and train of evidence in my family tree research. It helps out a lot. I just keep a basic "journal" as I go along, which helps me to go back and see my train of though. Specifically when I go back and look at my old research, this is very helpful.

    Thanks again,

    Kelly

    ReplyDelete