43 - Editorial

05:49PM BST - Saturday, 14 May 2011

Contributed by: Alan Bunting

Genealogical research can never be an exact science. One invariably encounters conflicting evidence which is difficult to resolve, and such inconsistencies are more likely to occur in any efforts to delve back more than two or three centuries. As Judith Ray, author of the article on page 2 of this issue of Gone A-Hunting  found when she began her investigations into her distant 17th Century Bunting ancestors in Derbyshire, it is all too easy to be led astray by translations from Latin which introduce 'lineage ambiguities'.

Other pitfalls await the researcher, for instance the habit, in those days of high infant mortality, of naming a child after a sibling that had died in infancy only a year or two before. The other tradition of naming a boy after his father - with William standing out as a favourite right through the 18th and 19th Centuries —causes a further potential diversion for the unwary

The best advice to anyone seeking after ancestral verities is to endeavour to consult original records wherever possible, rather than later works of reference, typically compiled by possibly well-intentioned individuals who inevitably are less focussed on one-name eg Bunting investigations.

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