An educated guess in genealogy search can lead to fact

Diana
Diana Tibert
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Dates are a big part of genealogy. Sometimes they are easily found.

Other times, one must really dig before uncovering the date of birth, marriage or death for an individual.

Sometimes, a date may seem impossible to find. This is when you need your detective skills.

When I cant find a date, I make an educated guess. This may be as simple as doing the math for someone who died in 1897 at the age of 63 (born about 1834) or as complicated as using the dates of other events.

For example, if a wife was born in 1850, it is reasonable to guess that her husband would have been born between 1835 and 1850.

If this is a mans sec

Dates are a big part of genealogy. Sometimes they are easily found.

Other times, one must really dig before uncovering the date of birth, marriage or death for an individual.

Sometimes, a date may seem impossible to find. This is when you need your detective skills.

When I cant find a date, I make an educated guess. This may be as simple as doing the math for someone who died in 1897 at the age of 63 (born about 1834) or as complicated as using the dates of other events.

For example, if a wife was born in 1850, it is reasonable to guess that her husband would have been born between 1835 and 1850.

If this is a mans second wife, she might be considerably younger than her husband and he might have been born between 20 and 35 years before her.

Occasionally, the husband was younger than the wife.

For example, in the 1901 Canada Census, NS, Cumberland County, Amherst, house 9, Lavinia M. Lay was 53 years old (born 1847). Her husband, Edward J., was only 49 (born 1851).

This logic works the other way, too. If you know the husbands date of birth, the wife would be on average up to 15 years younger. If nothing is found within these 15 years, expand the search.

Of course, this is not to say that extreme situations didnt exist. A person might be 60 years older than their spouse.

More complex guessing comes into play when I am trying to guess when a child was born, especially if I dont know when the parents were married. If I know the marriage date, it is logical to guess the children would have been born up to 20 years afterward. Remember, it was not uncommon for women to have had children well into their forties.

If I dont know when a couple were married, I guess using the birth dates of their children.

For example, in the 1901 Canada Census, NS, Cumberland County, Amherst, house 3, the children of Fannie Styles (born 1878) and her husband, George (born 1876), were born between 1896 and 1899. Since Fannie was about 18 when the first child was born, it is logical to guess that she and George married between 1893 and 1896.

Be careful when using census records. It is possible that the oldest child had married, died or for some other reason left the household.

Death dates can be the most difficult to guess.

First, I look at census records to see if the individual was counted one year and not ten years later.

Another clue is the youngest childs birth date. The mother was around for the birth, but the father could have died up to nine months beforehand.

Once a logical guess has been made, use it to search for the actual date in church records, newspapers and other documents.

TIP: If a male was born between 1875 and 1900, see if they enlisted to serve in the First World War (Soldiers of the First World War: http://www. collectionscanada.ca/archivianet/cef/).

Researchers File

Seeking descendants of Mary Grant (born c.1785) and Catherine Grant (christened 1788), daughters of Alpin Grant, 84th Royal Highland Emigrants, who had property on Pictou Harbour purchased in 1787.

Both were sisters of Peter (1767), James (1773), Alexander (1778), John (1780) and Elizabeth (1770). Contact Alastair Grant, 442 St. Clair. Avenue East, Toronto, ON M4T 1P5; email: aggrant@rogers.com.



Diana Lynn Tibert is a freelance writer living at Milford, NS. Submit queries to: RR#1 Milford, Hants County, NS B0N 1Y0; email: tibert@ns.sympatico.ca

Organizations: St. Clair

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Amherst, Pictou Harbour Hants County

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