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Showing posts from January, 2019

Calculating Birth Date Ranges

In my last post, Visualizing Birth Evidence , I used date ranges calculated from an age on a particular date. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around this but now that I understand how it works, I find it much more useful than just subtracting an age from a year and it isn't that much harder to do. Let's use Frank M. Smith as an example. On 2 July 1885, he stated, under oath, that he was forty-eight years old. [1] Subtracting 48 from 1885, I get 1837. (To easily do this in my head, I subtract 40 from 1885 and get 1845. Then, because I can't take 8 from 5, I take 8 from 15 and get 7 and just reduce the 10s by 1 to get 38 instead of 48. And, I try to remember to add things back up to double-check my mental math.) So, if 2 July 1885 happened to be Frank's birthday, he would have been born on 2 July 1837. And, in fact, if he had been born any time between 1 January 1837 and 2 July 1837, he would have already turn 48 by 2 July 1885. But what if he happened t

Visualizing Birth Evidence

So, prompted by some work I've been doing on trying to figure out birth, marriage, and death dates for a number of my husband's Chicago relatives, I've come up with a way to visually compare the evidence. It isn't a ground breaking approach--I'm sure a lot of you do something similar--but it's pretty simple and I'm finding it really helpful so I thought I'd share. First of all, in the three years that I've been working on learning to "do it right," I've fallen into a routine of gathering evidence into a table to help me wrap my mind around it. Each line includes a year for sorting purposes, a citation, the information, and quick notation to help me consider the quality of the source, the information, and the evidence. The table is for my own use and it looks something like this: Birth Date Evidence for Frank M. Smith 0 Source Information Source O/D/A Info P/S/I Evidence D/I/N 1850 1850 U. S. census, Cook County, Illi