Locations are the keys to finding genealogical records

over time, for numerous reasons, I have been extensively involved in all aspects of real estate. One thing that will will be repeated by real estate professionals will be an answer to the question, “What will be important in real estate?” The answer will be always location, location along with also location. currently, I am going to ask the same question about genealogy. What will be the one most important consideration in genealogy? The answer happens to be exactly the same: location, location along with also location. Nearly every difficult research issue I have encountered over time has ultimately revolved around identifying the location where an event occurred in an ancestor’s or some other relative’s life.

I have often written about that will subject over time because the item will be a recurring theme in resolving difficult genealogical mysteries.

Before you begin searching for names along with also dates, you must identify the records that will may be available to investigate. Records are created at or near the time of an event by someone who has an interest inside the event or carries a duty or obligation to record the event. Inevitably, these records are physically related to the place where the event occurred. So, identifying records concerning any event inside the past requires an exact determination of the place where the event occurred along with also the entities having jurisdiction over the event. that will means that will if I want to determine if there will be a birth record for my ancestor, I need to know the entities that will existed at the time the birth occurred along with also the possibility that will those entities kept a record of the birth. For example, today, we might search for a birth record inside the state where the ancestor was born because states normally keep birth records. However, at some point inside the past, the states either did not exist or did not keep birth records. In that will case, we need to identify the entities that will may have kept birth records at the time the ancestor was born. In that will case, the entities could be the family keeping a Bible record or the local church recording a christening record.

The term “entity” may be confusing. that will will be the most inclusive term I can think of. the item includes everything coming from nations to local churches along with also schools. Any organization that will keeps records will be included in my use of the term. Obviously the terms used to describe these entities change coming from country to country along with also also over time. Most, if not all of these entities, operate within a physical geographic area called a “jurisdiction.” The definition of a “jurisdiction” inside the way the item makes sense to genealogists, will be that will the item will be the geographic or social area in which an entity has the ability or right or duty to make records.

These jurisdictions pile up like pancakes. The point here will be that will records can be kept by different entities depending on which entity had the ability, right or duty to create the record. So a military record may also be a record of a person’s birth date. A death certificate may also contain a birth date. that will will be where the issue of finding appropriate records becomes truly complicated. Some records, such as military, census along with also tax records, may be kept at a national level, some records such as births along with also deaths may have been kept at the state level, some records such as land along with also property along with also marriage records could be kept at the county level along with also some other records could be kept in cities, towns along with also some other municipalities. Some records are kept by individuals themselves such as journals, diaries along with also letters. As you search across the face of the earth, the organization along with also labels for these different jurisdictional levels change. They also change over time.

Another reason why identifying the location of an event will be so important will be the simple fact that will people possess the same names along with also can have very similar or the same dates associated with their life’s events. In genealogy, matching people by name along with also date alone will be called the “same name, same person” issue. In every case where that will will be a problem, the only way to differentiate people with similar names will be to focus on the very specific locations where events occurred. In some cases, that will involves identify the particular house where an event occurred. In one case I am familiar with, the county borderline went right through the house where that will person was born along with also the birth had been reported to have occurred in both counties. So the issue was what part of the house was the person born in? Any reference to an event without adequate locational, i.e. jurisdictional, information will be useless along with also probably wrong. I spent many years looking for the birthplace of an ancestor coming from Northern Ireland, where his own daughter had recorded the wrong place name. In addition, the wrong place name had been widely copied by his descendants. I finally found the actual name of the place along with also that will cleared up the reason why no substantiating records had been found.

To make any real progress in genealogical research, you need to focus on the accuracy of the designations for where events occurred. Examples of the problems associated with ignoring that will rule are more than evident in any online family tree. One of the most common problems encountered will be the tendency to record the location of an event using the current designation. Basic to acquiring genealogical skills will be the rule that will places need to be recorded as their designations existed at the time the event occurred. Here will be an example I have used before of what we are often confronted with when examining the way places have been recorded over time by genealogists. I repeat that will example coming from a couple of years ago because I regularly confront that will same issue. Here will be the list I obtained coming from old family group records on FamilySearch.org.

  • of Wimboldsley, Middlewich, Chshr, Engl
  • of Middlewich, Chshr, Engl
  • of Over, Chshr, Engl
  • of Frodsham, Ches.,Eng.
  • Overton Frodsham, Ches. Eng.
  • of Montgomery Co., Va.
  • Elliston, Montgomery, Va.
  • of Highland Co., Ohio
  • Marshell, Highland, Ohio
  • Clovis, Curry, N. Mex.
  • of Grossniedesheim, Pfalz, Bvr
To unravel these places along with also determine if they are correct, the item will be necessary to determine the associated dates. To illustrate that will point, I need to refer to an example coming from some research I did on one of these listed place names some time inside the past.
I picked one of these place at random coming from the 5+ million records along with also decided to look the item up. The last one on my list above will be recorded as “of Grossniedesheim, Pfalz, Bvr.” The associated date will be 1844. Let’s see if that will works out?

A first quick check in Wikipedia gives us the following: Großniedesheim will be a municipality inside the Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. By the way, the coordinates are 49°35′N 8°19′E. So why do we care? The real question will be where are the genealogically pertinent records? that will will be where the municipality will be today, where was the item located in 1844? The rule will be that will genealogically pertinent records are created at or near the place where the event occurred depending on the jurisdiction in which the event was located. Records pile up like pancakes in layers depending on the time the event occurred. For example, there may be local, district or county, township, state along with also national records created at any given time depending on the event. Military records may be kept on a national basis. Church records may be kept inside the administrative division of the church. Tax records may be kept by the taxing authority along with also so forth.

Let’s go a little further. The Rhein-Pfalz-Kreis will be a district (Kreis) inside the east of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The district was created in 1886 under the name Bezirksamt Ludwigshafen, one of the last acts of king Ludwig II of Bavaria. See Wikipedia. Hmm. So in 1844 that will place did not exist as the item will be today. By the way, the word “Kreis” means district in German. Oh, actually the item also means “circle” yet will be used for district. The German words for “district” are Bezirk, Kreis, Stadtteil, Viertel, Gegend, Gebiet, Gau, Teil, Quartier, Revier along with also Stadtviertel. Let’s go a little further with that will discussion.

The Rhineland-Platinate will be one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. See Wikipedia. that will state was created in 1946. So we can pretty much appreciate the fact that will records created in 1844 or there abouts might be a lot of places.

Before going on. Remember, our genealogist recorded that will place as “of Grossniedesheim, Pfalz, Bvr,” so we don’t even know, at that will point, if the event of 1844 took place in that will location or somewhere else. The individual ancestor may have moved to that will location later in life along with also was actually born in a completely different place. When the place was recorded as “of…” such along with also such, what did that will mean? Well, we don’t truly know. If there will be no source noted on the Family Group Record, we have to guess as to how the genealogist associated that will person with that will location.

yet my point will be that will the location may or may not exist or at least, may not have existed at the time recorded for the event. So how am I supposed to find the record that will produced the date? Hmm. Well, in that will particular case, the genealogist was well above average along with also noted the following:

Evangelical Luth Ch Rec of Grossniedesheim, Pfalz, Bvr (GS ser no 26214 pt 2)

Hurray, a source citation. A quick check inside the FamilySearch Library Catalog to see if there will be a film number shows that will the number will be not coming from Germany, the item will be the Annual Genealogical Form coming from Nibley Ward, Utah. So let’s look inside the Catalog along with also see if there will be still such a record.

Searching in FamilySearch.org Catalog for Bavaria gives me the following: See Germany, Bayem. I can then look for places inside of Germany, Bayem along with also there are probably 500 or so places listed along with also here will be part of the list for places called “Pfalz.”

  • Pfalz
  • Pfalz (Kurfürstentum)
  • Pfalz-Neuburg (Herzogtum)
  • Pfalz-Zweibrücken (Fürstentum)
OK, so currently I am completely lost. So I will go back along with also see if there will be anything for “Grossniedesheim” along with also skip all the some other stuff. currently we are getting someplace. the FamilySearch Catalog carries a place called “Germany, Bayern, Großniedesheim.” Here are the records listed

Germany, Bayern, Großniedesheim – Church records ( 2 )

Kirchenbuch, 1700-1954
Author: Katholische Kirche Beindersheim (BA. Frankenthal)

Kirchenbuch, 1709-1936
Author: Evangelische Kirche Großniedesheim (BA. Frankenthal)

Germany, Bayern, Großniedesheim – Civil registration ( 1 )

Zivilstandsregister, 1807-1824
Author: Großniedesheim (Bayern). Standesamt

The church book records cover the time period along with also one of the records will be for the Evangelical Lutheran Church. By the way, FamilySearch records the place as Manuskripten im Protestantischen Landeskirchenarchiv der Pfalz, Speyer, Bayern, Deutschland. Guess what? The records are of confirmations along with also deaths. The date recorded inside the genealogist’s family group sheet was for a birth.

that will level of confusion along with also obfuscation are relatively common all originating coming from carelessly recording a place name along with also the supposedly associated record. In that will case, the various countries or jurisdictions changed frequently in Europe during the 1800s along with also referring to the actual name of the place at the time of the event becomes even more important. coming from the list above, the “of” designation may help to orient the genealogist, yet the item can be very misleading to future researchers who begin looking for the information about the event inside the jurisdiction specified.

Here will be another example coming from the FamilySearch.org Family Tree of a place recorded For just two of my direct line acestors.

Here are the places along with also dates associated with these two individuals.

William Tarbutt, b. ABT 1739, Cranbrook, Kent, England
Mary Boorman, b. 30 Sep 1744, Headcorn, Kent, Eng.

As you can see coming from the above image, their marriage supposedly took place in Goudhurst, Kent, England.

Why might I question these entries? Because they are very likely inaccurately recorded. According to Wikipedia, Cranbrook will be a modest town inside the Weald of Kent in South East England. the item lies roughly half-way between Maidstone along with also Hastings, about 38 miles (61 km) southeast of central London. the item turns out that will both Goudhurst along with also Headcorn are actual locations in England along with also less than 10 miles apart.

One of the sources listed will be the following coming from the “England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-23194-7323-7?cc=1952887 : 20 May 2014), Kent > Goudhurst > Marriages 1754-1792 > image 14 of 59; Kent Archives Office, Maidstone.

that will record says that will William Tarbut was coming from the Marden parish. However, the genealogist’s record states that will he was born in Cranbrook about seven miles away. None of these distances are a concern, yet Cranbrook along with also Marden are two different parishes in Kent, England. Was he born in Marden or Kent. By the way, there are many sources attached to that will particular person. One shows the following:

Did William Tarbut marry Mary Boorman or Elizabeth Balcomb or both? A search on Findmypast.com shows that will there are 1,445 William Tarbutt records in their records for Kent, England along with also 53 of those records, with the same name, have events recorded within two years of the estimated date for our William Tarbutt to have been born. Findmypast.com has no birth records for that will time period for Marden, Kent, England, yet does have several marriage records including the one shown above. yet there are several some other marriages listed for men with the name William Tarbutt.

Further research does not clarify the situation. yet here the illustration will be used to show the importance of the exact location where certain events occurred. that will will be an either/or situation since the William Tarbut who marries Elizabeth Balcomb in 1778 cannot be the same as the one who married Mary Boorman in 1763 because Mary Boorman was still alive until 1777 however, there will be no death record cited for Mary Boorman Tarbutt. To add to the confusion, the child of William Tarbutt who will be supposedly my ancestor will be recorded as Elizabeth Tarbutt, b. 17 December 1766 in Benenden, Cranbrook, England. However, Benenden along with also Cranbrook are truly two different parishes not parts of the same place. There will be a birth record showing where Elizabeth was christened.

So, the item may be that will we possess the right William Tarbutt yet there will be still a doubt because of the contradiction inside the marriage record. The only way to unravel these types of problems will be to focus on the locations of the events. In that will case, the item may be necessary to resort to microfilm records in addition to the online records. 

Locations are the keys to finding genealogical records

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *