Making Assumptions…

Hi, all! I’m still “on the shelf” with my weird vision, but can manage to do a little typing if I look at the screen sideways, so here I am! Today I’d like to bring up the subject of assumptions, and just how misleading they can be. I often visit the cemetery where my husband is buried and on one of my walks through came upon a rather sad stone shared by two children, both age 3. They died in 1842, with one date given. Each child had different parents. So, what might be the cause of their mutual demise? Were they related or just close friends? We are very fortunate in our town to have a deputy clerk who has a particular interest in genealogy, and I presented the scenario to her. Well, according to the accepted town history, the children were cousins. The real surprise was that they died 3 weeks apart, and did not share the date I had found. The stone is partially buried, but I assumed that I was seeing everything. Also of interest is the spelling of one child’s last name: on the stone it’s clearly “Crain”, when it could be “Crane”; BUT the town history states it’s “Cram”. There is also a baby in the family who died between the two, but he has his own tiny stone. One would naturally think that siblings would share a stone before cousins…hmmm. Cause of death? According to my friend the clerk, it was probably influenza, considering the time of year. We’re making a leap, but in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I’m willing to accept it. My point here is that one can make educated guesses; however, the facts may not bear out our assumptions. It pays to dig up the truth, in all cases! Got a similar chapter in your family history research to share? Please do! Until next time!

Emily Schroeder

About Emily Schroeder

Greetings to everyone who’s into genealogy! I’m Emily Schroeder, and I’ve been at Maine State Library since 1980. My latest incarnation has transformed me into the genealogy specialist, which means I get to visit other libraries and do genealogy workshops, have classes onsite, teach adult ed., write newsletters, join genealogy groups, and generally try to keep myself “in the know”. I’m hoping that through this blog we can share ideas, review resources and databases, and maybe introduce something new to readers in the genealogy field. You can always e-mail me at: emily.schroeder@maine.gov.