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Thomas and Ann Morgan in Herefordshire page 12

Observations on family history research

Family history research is more of an art than a science. The old records are incomplete, sometimes illegible, and often confusing. For example, Polly found at least four Thomas Morgan's serving in the 1st regiment of foot of the English army between 1803 and 1815. The challenge was not so much locating Thomas Morgan's army records as determining which one was our Thomas Morgan. The same is true for records in Herefordshire where multiple persons of the same name can be found in any period of history. Family history research must be pursued with diligence, persistence, and knowledge of the culture from which the records are drawn. And all family history records must be viewed with the understanding that they are sketchy, leaving much we can never know for sure.

However, we sincerely believe the information about Thomas Morgan and his family presented here is the best and most accurate ever compiled. This is because of better technology, improved research tools, increased record availability, and more experienced researchers. Polly Rubery, a resident of Herefordshire with extensive knowledge of both Herefordshire and Mormon Emigrant history, is highly qualified for this specific study. She, in turn, has access to many other local family history researchers in Herefordshire who have specialized knowledge of Herefordshire history. Leon Pitman is a retired college professor who has personally visited Herefordshire and done many years of research on Thomas Morgan and his families. James Morgan, who has also visited Herefordshire and personally worked with Polly Rubery, is an ex-college professor with several years of experience collecting and cataloging pictures of Thomas Morgan and his families. And, finally, more Herefordshire records are becoming available all the time as the old reluctance to share the records fades and interest in family history research grows. It is easy to wish that one had perfect family history records but, in practice, a combination of dedication, skill, knowledge and experience must be used to piece together a reasonably defensible story from sketchy records. I would be foolhardy to claim the information here as the final word on Thomas Morgan. But I do believe that we now have answered the major questions and dispelled the major myths of Thomas Morgan's life.

As recently as spring, 2003, an article about Thomas Morgan was published in a newspaper in the Rigby/Rexburg area that repeated some of the erroneous information that has accumulated in Thomas Morgan's history. An honest and well meaning descendent looked through some of the old Thomas Morgan histories his mother had collected and, using this information, put together a story for the paper, repeating once again information we now know to be erroneous. Two things come to mind. First, we really do appreciate all the people who help with family history. There is much to be done and far too few people with the time or inclination to do the work. So we are grateful for anyone who helps in any way. We are not in any way criticizing those who try to contribute. But the second thing that comes to mind is that it is going to be difficult to curtail the perpetuation of the old Thomas Morgan myths. There are all sorts of tall tales embedded in the old Thomas Morgan life sketches, not to mention the just plain wrong facts about his age. Some of the old tall tales are great yarns and we enjoy them as much as anyone. But we must be careful not to present them as known fact. It is our sincere hope that, by widely disseminating the better researched histories for Thomas and Ann Morgan that we have presented on the morganclan.com website, we can bring order, accuracy and hard facts to Thomas Morgan's history. To this end we are offering Thomas Morgan histories on this website, by email in pdf format, or by regular mail in printed form for the benefit of anyone who is interested. I you want copies of these histories you should be able to print them directly from this website. If not, contact us by emailing "jamesmorgan@morganclan.com" and we will find a way to get these materials to you.

Thomas and Ann Morgan pictures and history

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