Professional Genealogists’ Use Of Indirect Evidence
Professional genealogists must use indirect evidence when genealogy sources such as vital records and census information are limited, non-existent, or not providing the direct evidence you need. This is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of professional genealogy. The use of probate records such as tax lists for personal property and land, deed books, grantor and grantee indexes, surveyor’s books, signed petitions, abstracts, revolutionary war affidavits, early census records, cemetery records, local history, militia lists, and available vital records provides the names of those who lived in close proximity to your ancestors and relatives. Therefore, this genealogy information is essential to building a compelling family history. Land records provide the grantors and grantees, origins of land patents or treasury warrants, number of acres, adjacent property owners, physical descriptions of some land features, joint ownerships, etc. By following the stream of your ancestor’s land acquisitions and where they show up on tax lists you will create a family history of close neighbors, friends, spouses, relatives and professional relationships. If you are working with common names with many in a given area you can use the genealogical information in these records to create profiles of each individual by using the names of those listed with each individual in these various genealogy records. This allows you to begin to see the differences and commonalities and start to group people into family units. Using a timeline to list all of your genealogy findings is the best way to organize and analyze all of your genealogical information and reach your conclusions based on this indirect evidence. No piece of genealogy evidence is insignifant and this hard work will pay off and be very rewarding!
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