Genealogists usually look at records decades after the events have taken place. Even when we are fortunate enough to view a document in the location where it was recorded, we are looking at it years after it has been created and with an entirely different perspective from the individual who gave the information for the record. As a result, there are times when it is very easy to fail to view a document in the context in which it was created, in its historical, geographical, political, and cultural setting. To view a document with the appropriate background is not always easy. But failure to maintain a perspective may at the very least cause us to miss cues. At the very worst, it may cause us to make incorrect interpretations.
This perspective was important in my research of Franciska Trautvetter. She died in January of 1888, and her funeral was a few days later. Winter in Illinois can be a mess, and there is no reason to think 1888 was any different.
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