Quick tip – Mind the Gap

One of my clients hired me to help solve his brick wall. The marriage record indicated the ancestor was born in the same village as where he married. The client found two people by that name who were baptized there, but both married other people and could not be the person he was looking for. He was wondering if the ancestor could have come from elsewhere but had no idea where to look.

When I analyzed the information, I found that several records that the client had already found mentioned friends, associates and neighbors. When I researched who these people were, it indicated that the ancestor was from that village after all, as all these people were locals.

When I checked the baptismal records, there was a five-year-gap, just around the period when the person was born. This explains why the client had not found the ancestor’s baptism.

By focusing on indirect evidence including knowledge of local traditions regarding naming patterns and baptismal witnesses, we were able to identify the probable parental family in that village. The next phase will focus on researching that family in more detail.

When you can’t find who you are looking for, do you check to see if the records are complete? A gap in the records could easily explain why you are not finding your ancestor.

Pole leaping

Pole leaping. Credits: unknown photographer, collection Nationaal Archief (CC-BY)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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