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I'm just curious what do you believe most? I've seen mistakes on Death Records, Census Records, Obituaries, and books. What do you consider 'proof'?

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This is a great subject as so many of the sources out there are written after the fact.
Bible records, obits and even census records are only as good as the memory of the
writers and the accuracy of the spellers. I have found so many census records that
the spelling is so off that if I did not know the names of the spouse and children
I would never have recognised the family I was looking for. The date of the cenus
always changes the age listed (before or after birthdate). I try to note to myself whether
the source is probable as none are foolproof. At this date in time, the oldest of the
records is really hard to pin down as to accuracy. So many families named their children
after the grandparents you can have 7 Davids in the same generation.
This is a great place to get ideas. Thanks.
Hi Molly-

I know about the names thing, I have chased after four Joshuas, a couple James Washingtons(they even had the same job, one was the nephew of the other), and so many Elizabeths! :)

I try to find more than one source for a questionable date or marriage or death, its not always easy, and I think it safer to be suspicious and cautious when finding new info that you can't find another source for-

glad you joined us! :)
LOL! All the Elizabeths you have, remind me of what another researcher into my paternal surname of Packard said once. The original emigrant, Samuel Packard, born circa 1610 in Stonham Aspal, Suffolk, England, came to Massachusetts with his wife Elizabeth. He had a son Samuel, who had a son Samuel, and there were all sorts of other Samuels as time went by, and it seems that a lot of these Samuels picked brides named Elizabeth. This beleaguered researcher had become so bogged down in Samuels and Elizabeths, that she lamented to me, "If one more Samuel marries one more Elizabeth, I think I'll scream!"

That's pretty funny. There are a lot of Elizabeth's after Samuel Packard. I know that Samuel Packard, who was born in 1614 from which I can find, and his wife Elizabeth, had a child named Elizabeth. I've found that Samuel Packard's will is by far one of the best sources on the Packard family because all his children, some of whom were married, are listed, along with his grandchildren. Its a wealth of information!

I think you have to look at all the information together. I've seen plenty of mistakes too. But sometimes if you consider many different sources together, they may suggest that certain information is or is not correct.
Yes, the problem is that "original" records can have mistakes! My "original" birth certificate has my middle name misspelled. My husband's middle name is misspelled on his birth certificate, too, so I guess we were made for each other!

The "proof" comes in when we gather information from a variety of sources, evaluate it for reliability and verifiability, and consider all the information, that which supports other documents, and that which contradicts them. It is in the analysis and the reasoning that we find "proof."

For me, it isn't a matter of believing one document or class of documents more than another. It is what I can deduce and what case I can build out of all the information I find.
I agree with your way of thinking. If I can find two or more sources that document what I have concluded on my own sifting it helps me decide whether to add the information at least for now to open new doors for research. I have had to retract data and even take people out of the line they were entered in on my database. I am not afraid of mistakes by trying to piece together the pieces. If I was wrong, I correct it and go on. What is frustrating if to think you have found a reasonable source and matched a missing piece only to find out it was a Oh well, I am stubbon enough to keep trying.
Oh my goodness gals, I don't think I've run into this sort of problem. I guess I'm a little nieve this way. Well I hope it doesn't find me anyway. As far asproof goes I guess I was one to believe what I found ..Oh Boy! error, error. lol



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