About Sources

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I try to document the source for every "fact" found in the Hamlet People database.  But these facts will have various levels of source credibility in support of their "truth."  The explosion of genealogical information on the Internet is both boon and bane.  It is certainly much easier to do research -- so much of it can be done in the comfort of one's home. But at the same time there is much more uncertainty about the quality of what is published.  Rarely do the internet sources publish their citations, so it is difficult to judge the carefulness of the researcher.  It is also clear that one person's mistake worms it's way into many published genealogies.  Quantity of agreement is not a good measure of quality of work.

Much of what is presented in the Hamlet People database has been obtain from these derived sources.  While I try to pick from the work of those who appear to be careful -- there are no guarantees.


Sources for the Hawkins family line


Sources for the Sweezey family line 

Even when the source is original -- for example, the census Population Schedules, or firsthand knowledge -- care must be given to it's accuracy.  Anyone who has looked at census tables over time will find great inconsistencies of name spelling and ages. Legal documents are sometime ambiguous, especially if the fact recorded has little relevance to the fundamental purpose of the document.  And even first hand knowledge is sometimes shaky, especially as the years pass and memory grows dim.

 I have the death certificate of my great grandfather which gives his birth date.  The information on the death certificate was apparently obtained from my grandmother, who had a reputation for very carefully maintaining the essential genealogical facts of a large extended family (the death certificate date agrees with the family record she maintained).  One would have thought she would have know her own father's birth year.  Yet she appears to have gotten it wrong.  When one examines the Civil War pension records, which includes forms and affidavits signed by my great grandfather giving his birth date, the death certificate and my grandmother's record is off by a year.  All the censuses in which he appears agrees with the Civil War records.  Who is to be believed?  In this case I went with the Civil War pension and census records -- they were closer to the source, my great grandfather.  But there still is uncertainty.

So, while I present many facts, and I give the source of each, you must judge for yourself their creditability.

Page Revised:  03 September 2012