13 February 2013

But She's My Grandma Sir!

Sometimes unsuspecting genealogists encounter phrases such as this one and wonder what on earth was going on:

"Antje Albers, the grand-mother or mother of Cornelia.."

Can legal documents really be that vague?

Yes they can particularly when the relationship is not relevant to the case at hand.

This statement comes from a filing in a homestead case. The specific biological relationship between Anje[Antje] Albers and Cornelia was not relevant. The matter at hand was the validity of Cornelia's 1883 homestead claim. Antje was involved in the claim, but the official hearing this case really didn't care whether Antje was her mother, grandmother, aunt, etc.

It was not the relationship between those two that was being determined. Heirship was not involved.

Think about the kind of court case you are using in your genealogical research and what the purpose of that case really was. Hint: it's not your research. Because of that minor details might not be correct if they are not germane to the case being heard.