The final standard of the Genealogical Proof Standard states:
• A soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion
One of the things I’ve learned through the years, is writing a report clarifies your research. As I started doing client work, I would research for nine hours of a ten hour assignment, and then spend five hours (or more) writing the client report. Not a very profitable way to do business. But it was in writing the report that I would find missed research and clues. It took a while, but I finally learned to write as I went along.
After extracting the information from the record, I would write an analysis of my findings, and make a list of next steps. This made finalizing a report for my client much easier. With my own research I do the same thing but put my report in the “notes” field on my genealogy software. Here’s a copy of the report on the death certificate of Patrick Moughty.
Patrick J. Moughty
Patrick J. Moughty died 8 May 1973 at his home on 34 Hassake Road, Old Greenwich, Fairfield, Connecticut. He was married to Beatrice Moughty, and born in Ireland [no location given] on 26 Oct 1889 to Bernard Moughty and Mary [maiden name unobtainable]. His Social Security Number was 043-03-2720 and he was a retired chauffeur for Electrolux Corporation. He was not a veteran. He was a US citizen. The informant on the death certificate was Mrs. Christine Dennis of the same address [his daughter].
According to his death certificate, the cause of death was “Myocardial Insufficiency, 1 wk.” This information was given by the assistant medical examiner (J. Colman Kelly, MD) who certified the death at 8:30 a.m. on 8 May 1973.
The undertaker was Leo F. Gallagher & Sons, Inc., 31 Arch Street, Greenwich, Connecticut. Patrick was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Greenwich, Connecticut on 10 May 1973.
Most of the information provided on the death certificate was known with the following discrepancies to be researched:
Middle initial “J” not seen on any other document. What does it stand for?
Wife was always known as “Bridget.” Where did Beatrice come from?
Birth Certificate/Baptismal information
Census Records (both US and Irish)
WWI and WWII Draft Registrations
Social Security Records (SS-5)
“Patrick J. Moughty,” Certificate of Death, Connecticut State Department of Health, 8 May 1973, Greenwich, CT, State File Number 211 (1973), Certified Copy.
An analysis of each document under “next Steps” could provide additional (or conflicting) information and might suggest additional Next Steps. Patrick’s obituary, for example, mentioned he was born in Westmeath [one step closer to the information needed for Irish research], and that he had a sibling, Mrs. Ann Ledwith of Westmeath, still living at the time of his death (information not already known). His Naturalization gave his birth date as 18 Oct 1889, however his birth certificate recorded the date as 20 Oct 1888, and also provided his mother’s maiden name, Mary Lynn, and the townland of birth, Aughnaboy. His baptismal record showed his birth as 16 Oct 1888 and his baptism as 17 Oct 1888.
I guess next week I’ll write about resolving conflicting information.
If you follow this strategy of analyzing documents and working back one generation at a time, you’ll be more successful with your genealogical research.