wrongwayIt’s fine to make assumptions during your genealogical research. In fact, we all do it whether we think we do or not.

However, as we review our sources and uncover evidence, we have to remember our assumptions.  We must be willing to let them go in light of new information.

We need to follow where the evidence leads us, and not what we think or wish it should say. Our assumptions can be stubborn.

This is especially true when it comes to oral history. We sometimes try to make the evidence “fit” the oral history.

Common Assumptions

Here are some common assumptions we make during our research, some of which I have blogged about before:

And the “mother of all assumptions”—assuming that what we read in an original source is accurate without correlating that information with other records.

People can and did misremember, lie, deny, make things up and simply err.

So as you are planning and reviewing your research, be sure to do a mental check of your assumptions. They can lead you astray, and create what I call an artificial brick wall.

Readers, tell me in the comments what erroneous assumptions have you had in the past with your research?

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