What is Evidence?

Sources, documents, records, data, facts, information, evidence. They’re similar terms and we family historians sometimes use them more loosely than we should. Of all these terms, the most vital, and perhaps the least well understood, is evidence. We all have implicit notions of what constitutes evidence, but it has a precise meaning in genealogy which […]

The Woman Who Fell From The Skies – Part 4

So you’ve found a strong candidate for your missing ancestor, but have you gone the extra distance to prove that they are the person you’ve been looking for? Have you considered tracing forward all the possible candidates to eliminate all bar one? Have you examined contradictory evidence and tried to resolve it? In the final […]

The Woman Who Fell From The Skies – Part 3

It is one thing to show there is a likely link between a person or family across two locations, but it is quite another to eliminate all the other possibilities. In this part of Seeing the Wood for the Trees I look at how to build partial evidence into a compelling case. Previously – I […]

The Woman Who Fell From The Skies – Part 2

Previously – In part 1 I introduced you to Mary Jane Hyland, my great-great grandmother. She married John Bowers in Warrington, Lancashire in 1894. I could find no prior record for her which constituted a convincing match and the 1901 census simply said she was born in ‘Ireland’. My objective was to find a birth […]

The Woman Who Fell From The Skies

This has happened to every family history researcher at one time or another. While researching a branch of the family in a census, one consults the Place of Birth column to see the unhelpfully imprecise, yet definitive statement: “Ireland.” My first thought was, “Terrific, I have some Irish heritage!” My second thought was, “Is that […]

We Build Our Own Brick Walls

“A Brick Wall” It happens to us all. We’re merrily researching a branch of our tree when we encounter a halt in progress. At first we think it’s temporary, then after a period of searching, failing, thinking and more failed searches we label it as “A Brick Wall”. It’s a metaphor that is much (over) […]

A new blog – well, who do I think I am?

Hi, my name is Phil. I’m a genealogist and I’ve started this little blog to share some of my findings and the things that I find interesting as I go through my journey of familial self-discovery. But Phil, I hear you say, there are hundreds, no thousands, of genealogy blogs out there. What have you […]

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