The case of the mystery "Aunt"
(1) An Unknown Aunt
My Mom (M), her sister (MS) and I were looking through an old photoalbum. The album belonged to my granddad (GD), the father of M and MS. He took most of the pictures himself.
There was one picture of an old lady in front of a car. When I asked who she was, M and MS told me it had to be "Aunt Bertha" (AB). They remembered her surname as "J.". They told me that we were related to her, but they were not sure about how. One daughter of AB was a godparent to MS. They lived quite a distance away.
(2) A Similar Name
So I tried to look for hints about the relationship of AB to the rest of our family. I looked through my papers and photographs, and found a photo of a gravestone in GD's home village. It read
- Teacher Friedrich H *1835 +1875
- Luise H née N *1836 +1923
- Widow Teacher Wilhelm N, Elisabeth née K *1806 +1879
- Bertha H *1867 +1954
(3) An Interpretation
"Bertha" wasn't a common name in this branch of our family, so the "Bertha" on the gravestone warranted a closer inspection.
The death date of this Bertha might fit with the estimated date of the photo, I thought.
From the gravestone's other inscriptions I inferred that
- Bertha H was the daughter of teacher Friedrich H and Luise H née N.
- Luise's parents were teacher Wilhelm N and Elisabeth N, née K
I knew that Elisabeth N, née K is connected to the rest of my tree.
(4) An Unsure Connection
So I asked M and MS if they thought it possible that these two Berthas were the same. They weren't sure, but thought it not very likely. They told me there was often an "H Aunt" at the farm of GD's dad, and they thought she might be the Bertha H in the grave. After a bit of thinking, we also thought it would be strange to have a married woman buried with her maiden name only on the gravestone.
(5) A Final Repudiation
I've since found out that the picture of AB in front of the car must have been taken after 1954, probably in 1956. So this would definitely prove that my initial guess was wrong.
(MS still wants to ask another relative about this, to see if they know how AB is connected to the rest of us.)
Now – how could a genealogy program record this case, with the evidence and the first assumptions and the thinking and reasoning for the latest conclusion?
How would you do it in the program you're using now?
How would it look in GEDCOM?
How might it look in a BG?
Say I didn't know about (5) yet, and wanted to give a snapshot of my train of thought to someone else – could BG do this?