27 February 2014

The Joys Of Conflicting Information

As genealogists we try as best we can to confirm the things we find.  We use all sorts of "sources" from books & newspapers, vital records, baby books, cemetery records and more.  At times try as we may we find there are things that just can't be proven.

A few days ago I had lunch with a good genealogy friend.  As usual the topic turns to genealogy.  Today's discussion was the frustration you get when you have family "lore" that can't be proven or disproven.

In my case I've got grandparents who left Ohio (some stories have it in the middle of the night),  and no one can quite agree on the story.  No one can say exactly why or when.  My mom has four siblings and if you talk to all them,  no two agree on anything.  One says that they left because grandpa testified against some corruption,  another says grandpa got into legal trouble,  two have no idea and the other just isn't sure what happened.  None of the five agree on when they left Ohio.  One says in the middle of the night,  one says after school and the others just don't remember.

A couple do say they came with a trailer in tow.  They show me a picture of a trailer, a very large trailer and I look and wonder about how something that LARGE was pulled by a station wagon on those wandering hilly roads of Tennessee.  Really?

Family stories are great but sometimes documenting them can be a challenge.  City directories and land records are no help, they didn't own any land and somehow they don't appear in any city directories until many years later.  And yes, this all happened after the census that we have access to.
I'm exploring other options.  But tell me,  how do you handle things that you, despite your best efforts, can't document??  I'd love to hear.


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