Knowing that We Don’t Know

“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.


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