Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Elements of Research -- Part Twenty-three: Am I related to Daniel Boone?

One of my family's persistent traditions is an alleged relationship to the famous American, Daniel Boone. Year's ago, I disproved that tradition with some brief research in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Now the tradition has emerged again in the form of entries in the Family Tree. Since I have been writing this seemingly endless series on research, I have become more focused on my "Morgan line" of research. I have decided that it is time to use this family to illustrate some of the basic concepts I am trying to convey with this series.

The very first examination I would make is the extent to which this particular line has been "sourced." As I go back on this line on the Family Tree, I find some documentation for several of my ancestors, but as the generations fade back into the past, the source citations diminish rapidly and finally disappear. As I go further back through the entries in the Family Tree, I ask the following questions:
  • Is the name of the ancestor accurately recorded with a supporting source?
  • Are the dates and places accurately recorded and supported by sources? 
  • Did the towns, cities, counties or even countries exist at the time of the event? 
  • Do the dates and places need to be standardized? 
  • Are the dates recorded consistent with reality? 
  • Where was each child born? 
  • Do the birth dates of each child make sense and are they realistic? 
  • Are there any sources? 
If there is any question about the answers to any of these questions, it is time to take the next step; identify documents or records that might answer the questions. Depending on your degree of experience and comfort, you may wish to do a physical checklist of issues. Here is the ancestor I started examining:

There are, at least, six immediately evident issues with the information here in the program. My next step after conducting this review is to compare this information in the Family Tree with what I have already recorded about this ancestor, assuming, of course, that I have already done some research about this particular person. In this case, these appear to be the issues:

1. I need to check whether or not the city and county were in existence at the time of the ancestor's birth. My records record the birthplace as "near Carlisle, Nicholas, Kentucky, United States." The source for the birth information is apparently taken from the following book:

Richardson, Arthur M, and Nicholas G Morgan. The Life and Ministry of John Morgan: For a Wise and Glorious Purpose. [Place of publication not identified]: N.G. Morgan, 1965.
Unfortunately, the book provides few sources and none for the information concerning Garrard Morgan III. 

2. Both the place and the date need to be verified. You must take the time to verify each individual, particularly before moving on to the next generation. The fact that this information "came from a book" carries no weight at all. 

3. If there is a burial date, there should also be a burial place. 

4. This "extra" Birth Name is extraneous. 

5. Same problem with extra, extraneous information. 

6. The marriage date is obviously wrong since it is many years after the birth of the children and when the mother was 68 years old. 

These are just a few of the initial problems and questions those problems create. With all these issues, there is no way that any information concerning subsequent generations is believable at this point. Even it this record has sources, it is apparent that the sources are not sufficient to establish the the dates and places in the information provided so far. 

I will continue the analysis of this entry in my next post and discuss how to determine what kinds of records would assist in correcting and expanding the information about this person. At this point the question in the title to this post about a relationship to Daniel Boone cannot be answered. Obviously, the basic information in the file would not allow such a conclusion to be reached.

Previous installments of this series include:

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