Memory is a funny thing. Science still does not fully understand why we start to forget childhood memories why we’re still kids, or why walking through doors makes us forget our purpose for walking through that door.
According to the Innocence Project, 73% of 239 convictions were overturned after DNA disproved eyewitness testimony in the 1990s.
The human brain processes a lot of data everyday and not everything can be kept with all the details intact. Family lore has an element of truth to it, the story started somewhere.
Genealogy is the best way to find those bits of truth. It is difficult to argue with birth, marriage, and death certificates.
Use Family Search to Find the People in the Story
The Mormon Church believes that baptizing ancestors (some many decades after their deaths) and genealogy helps them complete this work. There are entries associated with Family Search that include hundreds of millions of people and is available to everyone and is free of charge.
The United States National Archives are another free resource which are geared more toward seasoned academics than a newbie family historian. However, the Census records from 1790 would be located there, along with immigration records, passenger lists, and property leases. Putting together the facts that you can verify will help you for a clearer picture of what exactly was happening at the time when the story took place.
Is There Any Proof to Verify These Details?
A family legend does not have to be true to be important, but the search for the truth might provide more interesting and close to a relative that lived and died many decades before you.
The details that can be proven will offer connective clues like the dates and locations of the evidence. For example, tales of remarkable bravery and courage during a war could be proven via the National Archives or the National Land Registry. Don’t forget to look for military records which include the awarding of Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, and other recognitions.
Use DNA Tests
DNA and genetic tests have come a long way from just being used in criminal cases or to prove paternity.
Genetic tests can provide a deep dive into a person’s ancestry to find Native American, African, Asian, or any roots mentioned in the family legend that is being investigated.
Proving a claim of a particular nationality or ethnicity of the legend’s characters can help establish other clues which will lead to other genealogical evidence. Lots of North Americans claim Native American ancestry but only a verifiable and objective DNA test can actually prove whether the claims are accurate or not.
Deep Dives into DNA
DNA evidence is another tool in a family historians’ wheelhouse to piece together what remnants of facts remain and put together a plausible picture of the event or legend that is being passed throughout the family.
DNA tests are extremely helpful tools that may potentially provide irrefutable evidence that the legendary claim actually took place, a version of the event took place and was warped through time and miscommunication, or it is a family story passed between family members as a tale of mortality, humor, or spiritual lesson.
Don’t leave a DNA test to any company because there are many laboratories and test manufacturers who claim to offer genuine results when in reality they are only licensed as an ‘entertainment business.’ DNAWeekly provide objective reviews and allows real customers to leave accurate comments about tests and the accuracy and process of the results.