Thursday, February 16, 2012

Genealogy done right -- NYGBR edition

How do you tell apart two people from more than 200 years ago named Joseph Chaplin who both had parents Joseph and Sarah and who both married women named Abigail?

If you're a 19th-century genealogist or a 21st-century beginner, you just mash together the first plausible-looking match that comes to hand.

If you're Susan Farrell Bankhead, however, you:

(a) learn the names of their children and stepchildren, and who they each married,

(b) find the estate record of one Joseph's widowed and childless sister, and

(c) match her heirs (nieces and nephews) with known children and stepchildren who belong to one Joseph and not the other.

In other words, you research the whole family, including people who on the face of it seem unlikely to have any record that would help in your single-minded quest.

This is an extremely condensed and simplified version of Bankhead's article, "Joseph and Daniel Chaplin of the Town of Virgil, Cortland County, New York," the first part of which was published in the new (January) New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. But the point is still good. Skipping over all those pesky siblings and stepsiblings would just be building your own Chaplin brick wall.

And of course I was happy to see that one of Joseph and Sarah's children ended up in Avon, Union Township, Fulton County, Illinois, my home county!

1 comment:

Randy said...

If you knew any of the Pricketts from Lewistown they're my relatives.