Friday, March 16, 2012

Step Away . . . When You Are Too Close to be Objective

I LOVE puzzling through all of the mysteries in finding relatives in a mass of records and photos and matching up photos to identities, etc.  But in doing so, there is obviously a bias towards finding a match, because that's what you want.

I found myself doing that recently.  Specifically, there is this wedding photo. We've not yet identified the bride or the groom.  That sucks!  So, I'm running through a million different theories of who it could be.

I don't recognize them.  There is no date on the photo.  My dad had a theory around the time he was gathering up these photos a while back based on a superficial resemblance to another identified photo.  Others who knew that woman said it wasn't a match. And, indeed upon closer examination, it wasn't.

Recently, I DID match some "unknowns" from photographs to my tree -- which is REALLY satisfying. In doing so, I got to thinking whether there was any connection between these newly identified people and this woman above.  I think my bias has gotten the better of me because I was entertaining the theory that this wedding description would provide corroboration for the identity:

I was pretty excited because the description of the dress was close to what you see in the photo -- namely, ". . . white satin fitted bodice, square neckline edged in lace and long sleeves."  Not bad, eh?  Until you consider how that description matches up with a TON of wedding dresses.  To give myself some kind of a break, I do notice that a lot more women took the "wearing white at the wedding" thing "seriously" back then and there were no shortage of women married in far less formal attire, but still.  I think I need to take the weekend off.

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