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Discovering Female Ancestors > 4 Methods for Determining Maiden Names and Parents (Nov 5-11)

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message 1: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments This is the thread where you can post comments on Chapter 4. The reading schedule is only a suggestion. It is a slow read allowing folks to apply the reading to their research. You do not need to be reading the book to make comments.


message 2: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Several strategies were listed to identify maiden and parents' names of your ancestors. Which strategies have you found most useful?


message 3: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments In this book, the author suggests selecting the most likely potential father and then trying to 'prove' or strengthen the argument. I like to take a page from scientific method and try to 'disprove' him as the father. It is all about the attitude. Often in trying to disprove him, I find the direct evidence of the relationship.


message 4: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments As I read through Carmack's case studies, I couldn't help but be impressed by her clear indirect proof arguments. An indirect proof is one in which there is no document that clearly states the relationship.

But, that brings up another question. At what point do you stop doing additional research and settle for an indirect proof? Why does it matter?


message 5: by Velvetink (new)

Velvetink | 7 comments Liz wrote: "Several strategies were listed to identify maiden and parents' names of your ancestors. Which strategies have you found most useful?"

I don't have the book, would it be possible to briefly list those strategies? thanks so much


message 6: by Liz (new)

Liz (straea) | 25 comments I like to take a page from scientific method and try to 'disprove' him as the father. It is all about the attitude.

I don't try to prove or disprove the relationship, though I agree that trying to prove the most likely father (or other relationship) might bias the person doing the research. Personally I just follow the clues where they lead, and see what seems most likely.


message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz (straea) | 25 comments But, that brings up another question. At what point do you stop doing additional research and settle for an indirect proof? Why does it matter?

I frequently stop actively researching a family for a period of time, but I never fully stop looking for records or challenging my own assumptions/research/etc. The majority of family historians I know are the same way...


message 8: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Velvetink wrote: "I don't have the book, would it be possible to br..."

Since many modern records include the maiden name, I've omitted those common sources and have pulled suggestions from Carmack's book for earlier ancestors.

Search for records in the 'Old Country' for immigrants. Many of these will record the woman by her maiden name - passenger lists and emigration papers.

Reconstruct the lives of all the males associated with the woman - husbands, sons, brothers, and their relatives, classmates, business partners, military buddies, etc.

Identify the problem (origin, identity, disappearance) then fix the woman in time and place with a known fact closest to the problem. Begin your search at that time and locality.

Research everyone associated with the woman of interest.

It goes without saying that the original records should be located as they have much more information than indexes, abstracts and even transcriptions.

These are the examples from A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors : Special Strategies for Uncovering Hard-To-Find Information About Your Female Lineage.

There are many case studies involving identifying female ancestors in professional journals that provide additional approaches.


message 9: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Liz wrote: "Several strategies were listed to identify maiden and parents' names of your ancestors. Which strategies have you found most useful?"

I hate to admit it but the most useful strategy that I have found is searching on all the males associated with the female. I begin with those who have the closest tie to the female in question and then work outward.


message 10: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Liz wrote: "At what point do you stop doing additional research and settle for an indirect proof? Why does it matter? "

Indirect evidence can often lead to the wrong line and then there is a great deal of wasted effort that must be removed from your line. A thorough search should be conducted before resorting to an indirect argument. In your indirect argument, site all the places where you looked for answers as well. I couldn't help but wonder in the indirect arguments in the text if other records suggested by the data had been searched.

I also realized that concept of a 'reasonably exhaustive search' has changed over time. At the time Carmack wrote this book, many of the records were not readily available. Now these same records are only the click of a search button away.


message 11: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Direct, Indirect, Primary, Secondary Sources Links

The following link is to websites that discuss the direct, indirect, primary and secondary sources. (A Google search will yield many more discussions. Please post any you find particularly helpful.) Evaluating the credibility of your sources is a important part of the research process.

http://genealogy.about.com/cs/citing/... - a great and brief discussion of source analysis

Reasonably Exhaustive Search
http://dallasgenealogy.com/docs/newsl...

http://www.midwestroots.net/?p=871

Technically a 'reasonably exhaustive search' should not be different now than it was 10 or even 100 years ago. But, with increased knowledge of and availability of sources, I think a 'reasonably exhaustive search' today would be broader than in the past.

For a detailed discussion of source analysis, see Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills


message 12: by Liz (new)

Liz (straea) | 25 comments Indirect evidence can often lead to the wrong line and then there is a great deal of wasted effort that must be removed from your line. A thorough search should be conducted before resorting to an indirect argument.

But as you seem to be aware from your later post, "indirect evidence" and "indirect argument" are very different things. Direct evidence directly answers the question; whether the answer is correct or not is irrelevant to the terminology. Indirect evidence indicates a likely answer to the question but does not explicitly provide the answer, and depending where/when the person is researching, it is quite possible that several pieces of indirect evidence are all they will be able to find. In my genealogical research program earlier this year, we studied an article from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly where the direct and indirect evidence conflicted and the latter turned out to be correct. I'm sure that's not the only time that has happened.


message 13: by Liz (new)

Liz | 379 comments Liz wrote: "But as you seem to be aware from your later post, "indirect evidence" and "indirect argument" are very different things. "

Definitely! A little to hasty in my informal post. The terminology can get a little convoluted especially since different people work under slightly different definitions.

You are right that 'indirect evidence' often takes the day. I have several lines that are proved by using deeds that do not directly state the relationship but taken together with estate and historical accounts (letters, etc.) provide conclusive evidence of the names of the children alive at the time of the father's death.


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