Monday, June 8, 2009

Methodology Monday with Albert Field in NGSQ

We "transitional genealogists" will be discussing Margaret J. Field's article published in the June 2003 National Genealogical Society Quarterly, "From the Black Hills to the Berkshires: Lessons in Using Indirect Evidence to Find the Ancestors of Albert Field." (NGS members can download a copy.) Starting from known facts at Albert's 1901 death in South Dakota, the author used census evidence to arrive at a hypothesis for Albert's parents back in Massachusetts. But no record ever turned up that named them outright, and the indirect census evidence was thin. Albert's hypothetical father and mother didn't produce any direct evidence either.

Brick wall? No. But building a brick road wasn't easy. The author makes three recommendations in this situation: Re-assess the accuracy of the information. Look for overlooked clues. And after that, expand the search.

Without spoiling the suspenseful ending, I can say that being able to correlate nuggets of information across half a century is a big help in a project like this.

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