When It’s Mandatory That Changes My Understanding of the Records

Reading record descriptions and learning about the records being used is an integral part of the research process. Even if one has no interest in the Ostfriesian fire insurance records on Ancestry.com, the description of those records served to remind me that it’s always necessary to know what one is researching and how that record was created.

mandatoryinsuranceThe description of the “East Frisia, Germany, Fire Insurance Registration, 1768-1937″ indicates that fire insurance was mandatory. This changes how I use and how I understand the records. My home owning ancestors and relatives who lived in the area during this time period should be listed in these records. My ancestors who were tenants or renters will not be.

Failing to know about the records being used is one of the biggest genealogical “brick wall” creators there is.

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