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Question #91248 posted on 05/17/2018 5:48 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I want to do family history but it seems like everyone who tries to explain what to do is assuming I have a traditional, simple family tree. My ancestors were largely drunks and deadbeats. Many were born out of wedlock and even the couples who were together for life didn't always get married. I'm not even convinced they all got birth certificates.

Can I seal couples if they never actually got married? Can kids be sealed to parents who were never married? What if family search is asking for birth dates and there aren't any birth records? What if a woman had lots of children and no one knew who the fathers were? What do I do if there are 5 different sources that all have different birth years and name variations for a person??

Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated.

-Haaalp

A:

Dear Halpless,

No one has the perfectly nice family tree that's complete with all the proper documentation. However, if that documentation wasn't required, then there would be no way to verify any inputted information's validity; people could just create family trees that had no bearing on reality.

I would suggest getting in contact professional family history services, such as the LDS Church History Library, or BYU's Family History Library. These places will be able to help answer your more specific questions.

~Anathema

posted on 05/18/2018 3:03 p.m.
Log onto FamilySearch and you'll see the article that indicates the policy of sealing couples that were never married, plus sealing their children:

https://www.familysearch.org/ask/salesforce/viewArticle?urlname=Can-a-Couple-Be-Sealed-Who-Never-Married-or-Whose-Marriage-Date-I-Cannot-Find-1381812085539&lang=en_US

What if family search is asking for birth dates and there aren't any birth records?

Looking at location in the Wiki under the Search bar, it's common for government birth records not to be made until the late 1800s, you could find baptism records that may include their birth date in church records.

What if a woman had lots of children and no one knew who the fathers were?

You are more than welcome to add a child with an unknown father. Google certain things such as "Finding the father of an illegitimate child, genealogy" will pull up several good articles to help with your search. Starting with court records may indicate who the father was. The sealing will not be available, but you can do the other ordinances.

What do I do if there are 5 different sources that all have different birth years and name variations for a person??
Name variations are very common due to people having accents that may be misunderstood while they say their name. Plus education wasn't as common back then so not everyone could spell, let alone write. Choose the one that shows up the most in the records.
The closer you are to the birth date, the more likely the birth year is correct. People may forget what exact year they were born, and it is not always themselves who is giving the information. An 'approximate birth' is appropriate to add to their FamilyTree profile.

-A genealogy major