July 30th, 2011 at 11:51 am (Articles)
Have you ever found yourself working on your family history and suddenly something doesn’t fit. I am not talking of a simple typo or one letter off. I am talking about suddenly finding you are on the wrong line and these are NOT your people. Unfortunately this does happen to the best of us.
I lady I know stopped by and was doing a little genealogy. She had been diligently working and suddenly she came up and I could tell she was very confused. We took a few minutes to review her work and to her dismay, found that she had in fact taken a wrong turn. She had been looking for J. Pierce. He was from Wyoming. In her search she had thought she found this great-great-grandfather. But the dates were definitely off. He had to be from the later 1800’s of course, but she wasn’t sure just when. I her search she had found a Jefferson Pierce listed in Wyoming, but the date seemed off. The J. Pierce she was using was found in the 1920 census and his age was 26. This was her red flag. She knew it was wrong.
To help her, we went back to her family pedigree sheets to where she knew the information was accurate. Next we started looking at census records. This led us to find the correct J. Pierce. Her previous information was that her family was from Sublette County. We did find her great-grandfather and it listed his family when he was a child. To her surprise the father was Jackson Pierce. I then suggested that she write for a death certificate for him as well as requesting an obituary from the local newspaper, library, or Wyoming Newspaper Project (http://www.wyonewspapers.org/about.html).
After a bit of time Nancy stopped back by the library to fill me in. This was in fact the correct person. She was able to find an obituary using the Wyoming Newspaper Project. This is a great tool. It can be accessed at home. All you need a computer and the internet. You will find newspapers from 1849 to 1922 for all of Wyoming. Also in the obituary she was able to find the name of her grandmother. Also the parents of Jackson Pierce as well as the siblings were listed. Once again an obituary came to the rescue.
I find it is always good to review your pedigree chart from time to time. Just check to see that all the timelines work. If not, do as we did and backtrack to the point where you know things are correct. Paperwork and computer software can always be corrected. I have done this once myself. We put so much work into this we certainly want it to be correct. I hope these tips will help you as you continue your search.
Good Luck with your research!