24 March 2014

Original Sources With Primary Information Are Not Always Correct

Other than the fact that someone born in 1750 is dead, there are no "always" rules in genealogy.

One would think that an 1868 letter using the phrase "our daughter" and an 1860 census enumeration showing a person with that name living with the "parents" in the same location as 1868 would be sufficient evidence of a parent-child relationship.

Not necessarily. 
Letter of consent from Conrad and Barbara Haase
contained in the marriage license of
John Trautvetter and Franciska Haase,
Hancock County, Illinois marriage licenses,
Carthage, Illinois

Franciska Haase is stated as being the daughter of Conrad and Barbara Haase in an 1868 letter giving their permission for her to marry. The original letter appears in her marriage license. It's an original source containing primary information. 

The 1860 census enumeration, which does not directly state relationship, is consistent with the 1868 letter--all three people are in the same household and the stated father is the head of the household.

Seems pretty cut and dried.

Except that sources with secondary information listed a maiden name of Bieger/Biegert for Franciska. One can't always take what children list for their mother's maiden name on their death certificates as being correct, can they? After all those certificates provide secondary information. 

Turns out they were correct--when more research was done. Research that was suggested by the death certificates of her children. Those two records providing evidence Franciska was Conrad and Barbara's daughter does not mean that an exhaustive search was conducted. It was just the start.

Sources with secondary information are not always incorrect. Sometimes they are, but not always. 

If you are not including secondary information and are writing it off as "incorrect," there needs to be a reason other than your gut.

After all, you can't cite your gut.


You can learn more about Barbara's life in this presentation which discusses her marrriages, her children, and the records she left behind.

Barbara's Beaus and Gesche's Girls--Case study of two German immigrants to the American Midwest in the mid-19th century. Discusses Barbara (mother of Franciska Trautvetter) along with another German immigrant with an "issue." You can purchase this webinar for $5.00 -add to cart

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