What’s Not Written Is What I Really Want to Know

Genealogists should use every record they can access to paint as accurate a picture of their ancestor’s life as possible.

But often it is not enough. We all want to know more.

The reality is that no matter how many pieces of paper are left behind there are details that are missing. The fight over the estate of an ancestor may explicitly be about money or property, but the reality is that there are often other underlying issues. Those issues are often ones that we will never know. Courts won’t litigate over hurt feelings because there was a slight between two brothers twenty years before their father died.

Courts will allow litigation over money or estate property. But, as many readers are aware, fights over property are not always completely about the property.

But sometimes fights over money are over money.

Which is why it is best to stick to the written facts. Our speculation about what’s unwritten may be incorrect.

And our research and conclusions should stick to details and facts for which we have evidence. Sometimes that’s enough to keep us busy.



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