Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Nitty Gritty of Genealogy
The answer to that question is found in an interesting article by Diane Rapaport called "A Matter of Extreme Regret": Josiah Witter's Pension Plight" which can be found in her Tales from the Courthouse column in the current issue American Ancestors (Vol. 12, no. 4, Fall 2011, page 51). If you are a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) [members receive the publication automatically] or have access to a genealogy library please be sure to read this article.
Not only is Josiah Witter the backdrop to a fascinating story but his example provides a lesson in the true nitty gritty of genealogical research. If Witter was approved for a pension why didn't he get it? Therein lies the lesson of going beyond a basic genealogical search. The answer to this story lies in understanding contemporary politics and law. Without understanding those two factors it would be impossible to understand the full story of Josiah Witter.
Unfortunately, I can't give away the story plot or the details of how the mystery was unraveled. It will be much more fun for you to read it yourself. But I strongly encourage everyone to read this article as an example of the kind of approach you should be taking with all your genealogical challenges and brick walls.