“You don’t know what you don’t know until you know you don’t know it.”
I’ve been using tax records for Bedford County, Pennsylvania, in the 1780-1820 time frame in an attempt to sort out various members of the Chaney family. The records are wonderful, occasionally contain occupational information, and once in a blue moon include an additional unexpected tidbit about an individual.
As I worked back in time, I discovered that there were no lists for the township where one of the families lived. It took me some time to find out what township that township was originally a part of.
During that search, I realized I didn’t have a map that showed the history of the townships in Bedford County. I was aware of the county’s creation, what counties had been made from it, etc.
But I didn’t have a list of the genealogy of the specific townships. I didn’t know which one was formed from which one. I had assumed that the townships were “set” when the county was formed. They weren’t.
It wasn’t a hard concept for me to grasp.
But every so often we have a “gap” in our knowledge that can cause us to be confused.
Every one of us.
It pays to always be asking “is there something about this location and time period that I don’t know?”
Because not finding out will only add to your confusion.