Are you tired yet?  I AM!  I was up ‘til 12:30 AM last night working on my homework, but I got the right answer!  We were supposed to determine a man’s father, and there were at least five or six possible men that had to be considered and eliminated before one man was left standing.  Anyway, morning came too early for me today.

In our Advanced Genealogical Methods class today, Thomas W. Jones discussed several strategies for sound research: 

“Tax-Roll Strategies: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation.”  When a person disappears off a tax roll they either died, moved, or depending if a  certain law is in place, they may be 65 and exempt.  When examining land taxes, we can determine when the land was acquired, and they sometimes divulge how the land was obtained.    When using tax rolls, don’t skip any years.  That just may be the year it gives an important clue.

“Local Land Records: Analysis, Interpretation, and Correlation.”  Land records help us distinguish between people with the same surname.  Sometimes a wife’s identity is revealed.    Thus, we should identify every single piece of land our target ancestor owned, how he got it, and what he did with it. 

“Special Problems 1:  Identifying Landless, Enslaved, Peasant, and Other Impoverished Ancestors.”  Jones likened this scenario to putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.   The research method follows the Genealogical Proof Standards of a reasonably exhaustive search, and correlating evidence to determine identities and group relatives, and write a sound conclusion.

“Special Problems 2: Finding Immigrant and Migrant Origins.”   Most people did not migrate or immigrate alone.  It is important to study the whole group, because one member may lead you to the group’s immigrant origins.

“Special Problems 3:  Identifying Female Ancestors.”  To find a woman’s maiden name, search all the men in her life, even sons-in-law.  The most valuable clues for finding females are found in probate records.  When a woman’s husband dies, the executor is a usually the widow’s relative.  If she has a different surname than the executor, be sure to follow him. 

“Resolving Conflicting Evidence.”  As we correlate evidence, there’s bound to be some conflicts.  There are three types of conflicting evidence: direct-direct, direct-indirect, indirect-indirect.   I’ll have to take some time in another blog to talk about the differences.  

With each topic, he gave us problems to work through in class.  They were hard, but he walked us through the answers so we could see the process. 

Last, he gave another homework assignment, again to name the father of a man born in Germany who emigrated to the U.S.

One more day and it’s over!  I’m sad and tired.