Genealogy Tip: Read All the Clues

Make sure you read every genealogical record carefully, such as this 1830 obituary for Captain Henry Bowne, to find every clue.

An obituary for Henry Bowne, Albany Argus newspaper article 1 January 1830
Albany Argus (Albany, New York), 1 January 1830, page 3

What are the clues in this obituary?

  • Captain Henry Bowne died in Charlton, Saratoga County, New York.
  • He died “on the 25th inst.” – what does that mean? The abbreviation “inst.” means “instantance” – the most recent “25th.” In this case the most recent 25th would be the 25th of December in the previous year. So, he died on 25 December 1829.
  • “Captain” and “He was a patriot of the revolution” – We learn that he had served in the Revolutionary War. He was known by the title “Captain,” perhaps a clue to his military rank in the Revolutionary War.
  • “in the 79th year of his age” – So, he was 79 years old and presumably born about 1750.
  • “formerly a resident of this city” – “This city” refers to the city where the newspaper was published. So, this tells us that he used to live in Albany, New York – another excellent clue.
  • Statements about his achievements and good character.

Armed with all of the clues, you can more effectively search and find additional records for Henry Bowne.

Genealogy Tip: Read every genealogical record carefully. Gather all of the facts and clues so that you can accurately document the life of each of your relatives and the esteem that others had for them.

One thought on “Genealogy Tip: Read All the Clues

  1. I understand “in the 79th year of his age” to mean that he had not yet attained the completion of 79 years and was, thus, still 78. It’s not a big deal considering that there are few birth records at that time, anyway.

    Sorry to have been rude by not telling you what a great tip I think this is. So often we quickly read, seeking just the one item we wish to find (death date or death location, etc.) and then ignore the rest. As you say, we should gather all the facts and clues.

Leave a Reply to Nancy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.