Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Thin Line of Assumptions

I grew up in New Jersey. When I was 8 years old we moved onto a 46 acre farm that was at the end of a mile long driveway. Yes, New Jersey is not all Atlantic City, Newark, and turnpikes. There is a very pretty part that is rural and filled with farms.

Anyway, on this mile long driveway were three other houses with separate driveways branching off of it. In one house lived a lovely elder German couple with a sign at the beginning of their driveway that said, "WARE DO." One day I asked my parents what it meant. Their response was that it must be some German saying. Keep in mind none of us spoke German, but I accepted the answer. Eventually we asked the couple what "WARE DO" meant. It turns out that over time some letters had fallen off the sign. The sign originally said, "BEWARE OF DOG."

We all make assumptions everyday about any number of things, like people or places. Genealogy research is filled with assumptions that we hope to prove or disprove. For example, my ggg grandfather Hugh Luttrell moved from Knoxville, Tennessee to Missouri as an older teenager. His parents and most of his siblings stayed in Knoxville. I make the assumption that Hugh moved to Missouri with a family member, possibly his older brother that also disappears off the Knoxville tax rolls at the same time. As of yet, I have no proof to back up this assumption but I'm working on it.

Assumptions are a part of life and a part of research. It's walking a thin line between truth and fiction. Just remember to keep an open mind and that there could be an alternate possibility.

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