Separating truth from fact when reading old documents
A matter of focusing on your goals
When deciphering journals, diaries, or even census records, it’s very important to keep in mind that someone’s family story is their truth, which will be repeated as such. This does not mean it is factual. Perhaps a story or fact can be proved or disproved; nonetheless, we must decide as researchers whether we want the truth or the facts to help us learn about our past.
In the following article, Susan shares a family story, as well as the facts. You decide.
I believe a combination of history, facts, stories, and emotion as Susan suggests may be the best strategy when learning about and profiling our ancestors. We may never be able to distinguish truth from fact; yet, if we don’t pass down our stories, they will forever be mysteries.