The Importance of Context

We can not just take a record at face value. We must always study the context of the information. Never mind this document that seems to say Moses Hornsby married again about 1797. He didn’t. When we put this one-line entry about Moses into the context of all the other entries on this page—their construction and their wording—we’re left with a totally different interpretation of the record.

Clues from a Processioning List: Part Four

This week we've focused on a critical skill for researchers: Taking research notes that do not simply “extract facts” but permits study of the context of those facts. We challenged you to study a “research note” detailing the 1755 processioning of lands. Yesterday, in response to Glenn's and Scott's comments, we addressed clues to landownership vs. leases. Today we tackle the sequence of names and kinship clues.

Analyzing Census Records: Context Matters!

31 January 2015 A census record is a snapshot, a blink of a lens on one day, freezing in time a person or a family. Still, there is much more that we can glean from a census if we make it a habit to always analyze our person-of-interest in community context. To do otherwise, is to snip one negative from a roll of historic film and assume that the other negatives on that roll are totally unrelated subjects. For starters, we should ...