Contradictions and discrepancies

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 03:27, 14 November 2008 by DiltsGD (talk | contribs) (add content)

Jump to: navigation, search
Contradictory evidence and discrepancies are normal in genealogical research. How a researcher deals with them usually indicates his or her level of experience. A novice researcher tends to ignore discrepancies. An experienced researcher tends to embrace them.

Names are spelled in unexpected ways, the birth date in the parish register may differ by seven months from the birth date on the tombstone, the censuses may list a birthplace in two different states, there may be too many or two few children listed, a child may have been born before the parents were married, or an event may be listed in a place that did not exist at the time. These are just a few of the typical contradictions and discrepancies a genealogist faces.

Any contradictory evidence must be resolved.[1]  The solution is to openly acknowledge, analyze, and attempt to explain discrepancies.








  1. The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual (Orem, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2000), 1-2, and Thomas W. Jones, "Proved?: Five Ways to Prove Who Your Ancestor Was" (printed handout for a lecture presented to library staff, 23 October 2003, Family History Library, Salt Lake City), 1.