The chronicle of this woman's perpetual game of hide-and-seek with her ancestors
After entering all the claims made by the marriage record and attached each claim to a subject and a claim type (see previous post), it was time to analyze my data.
Because I only had one document, and absolutely no other information about the people identified in the marriage record, this was surprisingly difficult for me. Since I had no conflicting evidence, analysis of the data would essentially consist of believing what the record told me.
First, I opened my Analyze Evidence screen and selected my subject and claim type:
On the left are the claims I entered previously. The center area is where I choose the quality of the evidence. In this case, I chose “Direct” because each claim answers the question “When and where was William Warren wed?” (Wow, that’s a lot of Ws).
In the right column is where I type my analysis of each claim, being sure to take into account the reliability of the information and the quality of the evidence.
Once I have entered my analysis of each claim, the dialog box will unlock so I can type my “soundly reasoned, clearly written conclusion.”
Now I’m ready to print my proof report. I select “Reports” from the toolbar, then select the Marriage of William Warren from the drop-down menu:
I choose the font I’d like to use for my report, then click “Generate Report.” Evidentia creates an HTML document incorporating all the steps I took to reach my conclusion. Please note that I have copied and pasted my report into Word to edit some of the verbiage to conform with GPS, as Randy Seaver noted in the comments on Russ Worthington’s blog post here.
Clearly, I would continue to research this couple, the family, and the community in order to obtain more sources that could confirm or refute (or clarify) the claims made by the source I already have.
Now, to answer the bonus questions Myrt posed in her challenge:
1. What can we infer about Sarah solely using information provided in this document?
The one thing we can infer is that she could neither read nor write. She signed the marriage record with an X, identified as her “mark.”
2. What other questions about William are raised by this document?
Is he a bachelor? What is his occupation? How old is he (and how old is Sarah)?
3. What other record groups might we search for additional information about this members of this family unit?
I would consider starting with birth records and death records to try to put the family relationships in some perspective (census records aren’t available online earlier than 1841), and maybe more marriage records.
4. How can we determine we’re making a “reasonably exhaustive search”?
Because I am completely unfamiliar with English records, in order to do a reasonably exhaustive search, I would have to do some serious research on the geography, customs, and laws of the area, determine what records are available, determine whether William Warren or Sarah Bickle might have left a paper trail within those available records (including their “FAN club”), and then see if their records exist. This would likely require quite a bit of offline research.
But wait! There’s more to come …Do we share any ancestors?