St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Can I Use the Evidence as Proof?

It's a beautiful fall morning and my voice has gone still.  While the weather outside is delightful, I am, well, I am wordless.  Am I quiet after spending a day shouting "Happy Constitution Day" yesterday, or am I just plain stuck?

I have to write a paper to try and prove that my beloved ancestor is who I think he is.  All was well in the world until someone tried to use my dearly departed's information as their own.  To be fair, the imposter descendant of my beloved didn't realize that she was only a cousin to my ancestor.  You think she would have noticed that the odds of him serving in the American Revolution in Connecticut while living in New Jersey was a stretch.  However, in this great world of folks just cutting, pasting and claiming on the internet, my ancestor is now torn in his roots.

I know who he was.  I have followed the evidence.  Now I have to prove it as best I can.

To try and accomplish this, I had to learn how to find all evidence from the Revolutionary War time that exists in New Jersey.  That in itself was enlightening.  After spending a few weeks digging through the web, I also sent off to New Jersey for other information which is not currently found online.  Ah, ha.  I am now thoroughly convinced I have my man.  His was the only family name living in that county at the time, and we have successfully been able to follow the lines from there with primary evidence or very sound secondary evidence.  All except for one generation, but that generation is not the one for which I am trying to prove at the moment.

There is a ton of secondary information to be found and now, I have to try and make sense of it all in writing for a genealogist to review.  I have the sources, the websites, the history book pages, the oaths of allegiance for his dad and uncle, payroll information from the state of NJ for the American Revolution, etc.  I just don't have the date of death, although I know where he was living when he died.  I don't have his final resting place, although one source would lead me to believe it could be in the same family location as his older brother who still has a headstone back in that one county where they were the only family name living there.  Why, oh why, didn't he have the wisdom to apply for a pension so I could find the definitive proof?

What I don't have are the words to put it all down in an understandable format.  What I don't have is a thorough understanding of how to write a genealogical proof standard.

Many of the elements found in the GPS are now in my possession.  I performed a reasonably exhaustive search, found the citations, resolved the conflict of evidence and arrived at a soundly reasoned conclusion.  I just can't seem to get it down on paper.  It is still swirling around in my head. 

Perhaps the first step is just what I have done now.  Put my frustrations down on paper- will that be enough to eliminate this wordless Wednesday?  Words.  I need words.

Ahh, genealogy.  How much indirect evidence can I use?  It's clear as mud.

©AS Eldredge 2013

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Writing it all down and analzing it will surprise you. Use an example of a proof standard such as this one:

Document everything and see how it all comes together. You might also ask for local help in the state - here: