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Finding the correct birth record.

The people used here as examples are made up and can not be found in any family tree.

For example, Hamish Cameron and Morag Cumming get married in March 22 1798. The birth of their children is nicely documented by a string of baptism records. Pre 1850 there are few records giving the date of birth, as so many babies died most parents were very anxious that their baby should be baptised ASAP once born, least they die un-baptised. In view of this it is reasonable to infer a date of birth within a few days of the child's baptism, however occasionally this can be spectacularly wrong. Back to Hamish and Morag, having been married in 1798 with a following wind there is a good chance that at least one of them will be alive in 1841 for the first census, This is a huge help as it will state his age. If they live to 1850 then there will be a proper death certificate, especially in Scotland this will give loads of useful information, including crucially who the dead person's Mother and Father had been.

So after their marriage Hamish and Morag have nice well documented lives, should be no problem making them Verified.   BUT.... there is a problem, when and where were they born. If one is lucky and the Minister had been diligent, the OPR for their marriage may help here.  A Full entry would be along there lines of. " Hamish son of Hamish Cameron farmer in Granish and Morag Cumming daughter of Peter Cumming in Lethendryveole were married after Banns on March 22n 1798.  This tells you what you need to know. Once you know where someone's family home was, then with a bit of scrabbling around the records will produce the OPR for their births. Job done mark as verified.  The problem however is when the Minister was less diligent and the OPR just says March 22 1798 Hamish Cameron and spouse Morag were married. Totally effing useless or what !!

One can be certain that when records are poor, there will be another problem. Clearly to continue back to their parent's generation more information is needed. The OPR for their births is the next place to look. If we have a date of Birth for Hamish, even an approximate one, then searching the OPR on His DOB plus or minus 3-5 years should turn up the OPR for his birth. If his DOB is unknown then you just have to widen the date range and plod through hundreds of records.  The problem is that just to be helpful you will find that there were three Hamish Camerons, all born in the same district within a year or two of each other. This may sound unlikely but believe me with the limited number of names that were used this happens a lot.  Looking at the three records of birth they will of course be three different families and only one of them or none of them is the correct family.  At this point how do you work out which birth or baptism is the correct Hamish and therefor the correct parents to follow back.  One has to hope that one 0f  the baptism records says something that  connects to the subsequent life. Sometimes one can look at a sibling who for some reason has a better record but sometimes you end up stuck with two possible births and parents either of which would fit.

The way I have dealt with this situation is first explain it in the Family tree record so it is clear what I have done and then usually go with whichever looks the best bet. On a few occasions I have put both possibles into the tree either as alternative facts within the record or as two separate people giving Morag two husbands Hamish Cameron 1 & Hamish Cameron 2 and then following both sets of parents for a few generations, one or other may fizzle out but if not then this may be as far as one can go with an accurate tree.

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