Your Quick Tips

Beware of Given Names that Look Alike
I worked for a long many months trying to track a David French in southern Indiana in the early 1800s without much luck. Nothing would fit until I discovered, by really examining the handwriting on old documents, that the handwritten David French looks almost exactly like Daniel French in some cases. It fooled me for quite a long time, and I’m sure it could fool an indexer. Daniel and David French lived in the same area, during the same time period. What a job to sort them out.

Laurie Smith

Do the Math
In browsing family trees on various sites I am amazed at how many people haven’t done the math. When the father is born in, say, 1758 and the first child in 1760, something is definitely wrong. I have seen this type of error in several family trees. In doing my own research, I always check the math to see if everything is probable–or even possible. 
Thank you,
Pam Medlin

Dating an Old Business Card
I have a “business card” (it’s about 5 1/2 by 8 inches) with a photograph of my (young looking) great-grandfather and a message about the brands of patent medicines he was selling, but there is no date on the card.

I googled the medicine company and learned that it was founded in the early 1880s, just before the year of my grandfather’s birth. These two facts helped me pinpoint the date of the card.

Anne Slater
Ardmore, Pennsylvania

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