A compiled lineage usually follows a specific format. The lineage starts with an individual and traces his/her ancestry forward (descending) or backward (ascending) for a predetermined number of generations. Background information for the local and regional area is usually included to add detail to the ancestor’s life. His/her life is described in as much detail as records allow. This life story is followed by a list of children born to the ancestor. One of these children becomes the subject of the next generation when coming forward in time. When going backward, one of the ancestor’s parents is selected and his/her life is the subject of the previous generation.
Charles Weed, a Revolutionary War veteran who fought at Bunker Hill, was born in Massachusetts. Early in the 19th century he and his family moved to Vermont, a state which experienced an influx of settlers after the war. The lineage below starts with his son Isaac and comes forward three additional generations.
|Isaac Weed of Topsham, Vermont (Part I)|
|Isaac Weed of Topsham, Vermont (Part II)|
|Isaac Weed of Topsham, Vermont (Part III)|
Complex Evidence Case
Sometimes there is no direct evidence that states an event (birth, marriage, or death) happened, or if a relationship (parent, child, sibling, etc.) exists between two persons. In either situation, you may have to build a case using indirect (circumstantial) evidence. If you acquire enough evidence that points in one direction (and properly handle any conflicting evidence), then you can form a conclusion based on the indirect evidence. The conclusion can stand until any new conflicting evidence surfaces. This is one use of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Some complex evidence cases require extensive research to gather enough evidence to form a conclusion.
In November of 1872, Boston experienced a devastating fire, one which rivaled the great Chicago fire of the previous year. There is a story about a fire truck traveling the roads from Manchester, New Hampshire, to Boston to help put out the fire. This project began as a simple verification – find proof that this historical event (about the fire truck journey) actually occurred. Record after record failed to provide evidence of this remarkable trip. So, using GPS, a case was built using negative evidence (the lack of any evidence) to show the “road trip” probably did not occur.
|The Great Boston Fire and the Steamer Vesuvius I|
How many records did your ancestor generate? How much of a paper trail was created? If enough documentation exists and sufficient time is used in searching the records, a fairly detailed picture of a person’s life can be reconstructed. Frank Munroe Ingalls, draftsman and photographer, left such a trail for us to follow.
Have a complex evidence case? firstname.lastname@example.org