When life is not quite so simple

14 July 2015

Goodness me, Mr and Mrs Genealogy don’t half set us some challenges in life! When was William Sillifant not William Sillifant? When he decided to change his name?! And when was John Myerscough not John Myerscough? When his birth place and/or birth year were recorded wrongly on his death certificate? Give me strength – our jobs are hard enough without all this twaddle (false information) which is written down over the years!

There have been a fair few of those instances this last week. Born as X, married as Y and died as Z. Go and prove that X, Y and Z are one in the same person…. It makes research far more challenging but do you know what….? It’s much more of an achievement when you find the nugget of information you need to prove the connection. Many of us genealogists can put together family trees, connecting people through censuses, electoral rolls, parish registers, BMD indexes etc. Some amateurs make a right royal hash of it and put their erroneous research on Ancestry and other tree sharing sites. It takes dedication to dig into the complicated cases though. It takes dedication not to bail out when the going gets tough. So, you cannot find the birth associated with the date recorded for his birth on Mr H’s death certificate? Go and find out why! Was he born with a different first name? In a different place? I have a great-aunt whose death certificate records her as being born on the Isle of Wight – pardon me, I beg to differ!

Where is the joy in giving up? So, it’s complicated. So what? Get down and dirty in those records and find out the answer. It might take you an hour. It might take you a month. It might take you a year, or even longer. No matter how long it takes, you’ll feel great when you find the answer. Where is that wish list you started creating? Your list of ‘brick walls’? Take a look at it – maybe you can smash one of those brick walls down before August arrives. Good luck!

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