My two general questions are:
- At what point can one say that, yes, the adult you have identified as your ancestor is the same person as the child you think might be your ancestor, and that you have therefore identified that person’s parents?
- What are some good strategies for recording your degree of confidence (or lack of confidence) in that identification, and therefore in the link back to the previous generation?
The specific case that inspired the question is the following:
- I can show that my great-great-great grandmother was Elizabeth Butcher, who married James Vallins in Swanscombe, Kent, England on 8 December 1827 (familysearch.org reference).
- I can show that there was an Elizabeth Butcher born to John Butcher and Artilian (Jackson) Butcher and christened in October 1803 in Swanscombe, Kent. This is around the right time for it to be the same person, based on later Census and death records indicating Elizabeth's age. (familysearch.org reference)
- People didn't move much, so they are likely to have stayed in this village or the next one (I have several generations of other branches of this family that stayed in Swanscombe or neighbouring Greenhithe their whole lives; we're talking about farm laborers with no means to move elsewhere). According to FreeBMD, Artilian (or Artillion) died in the Deptford district of Kent in 1850, which includes Swanscombe.
- I have other christening records of other children of John and Artilian also from Swanscombe, dated after Elizabeth would have been born, so the family stayed there.
- But I don't have any direct evidence that they are the same person (e.g. witnesses to the marriage including her parents or brother, or a death certificate with parents' names included), and I can't prove that there wasn't another Elizabeth Butcher born in that village around the same time (although I can't find one), or that this wasn't a case where the local lad married someone from two villages over. After all, John and Artilian were married in Horton Kirby, seven miles away.
Is this enough to say that this is the right Elizabeth Butcher, and if not, how should I represent this uncertainty? Is it enough to notate my record for Elizabeth with a comment?