Day 1: Research Question
Day 2: Objective
I took a look at my tree on FamilySearch and decided to see if I could find a death date and place for Nicholas Connolly, my great-great grandfather. In the forty years that I’ve been “doing genealogy,” it never occurred to me that I might be able to find that information.
Day 3: Timeline
Day 4: Analyze Sources
I took a careful look at what I knew about Nicholas Connolly. I learned that he was enumerated in a place called “Northowram” in 1891, that he had a daughter born c. 1898, and that his wife was enumerated in the same place as a widow in 1901.
Day 5: Locality Research
Day 6: Locality Guide
I found “Northowram” on a map and learned that it is northeast of Halifax in an area called “Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England.” I also learned that the area was known for mills in the 1800s. Thank you, Google. And I identified some sources for searching for death information in the area–a nation-wide index at the General Register Office website and a burial Index for Yorkshire that’s mentioned on Find My Past with digital images available on a website called “deceased online.”
Day 7: Hypothesis.
And that brings us to today’s challenge: the hypothesis. Looking at the information that I have, it’s pretty clear that unless something strange was up, Nicholas probably died in Northowram between 1897 and 1901.
Being able to say that makes the search seem so easy. Why, then, didn’t I take care of it years ago?
The answer is simple. It wasn’t until I started to work hard at learning to apply solid genealogical research principles that I came to understand the power of evidence analysis–looking at known information in terms of a research question and working from there.
And the cool thing? My growing understanding of how to research methodically and apply the genealogical proof standard is giving me the confidence to tackle research problems that I never imagined I might solve. I’m loving this little burst of learning and growth. It’s great for the aging soul!