Dear members of the list,
This is a very fresh story from last week which I think you should know.
I have a client from US, who ordered a research in a place in Austria, near Graz. The surname actually was slavic.
The client already visited this place but could not find any reference to his ancestor, nor a house.
Unfortunately, there were three places in Austria with this same place name. I spent the whole day in the Graz archive and found nothing. This ancestor later changed his name to a german name and there were several families with this name there all right, but not my John.
Towards the end of my research the whole thing became fishy to me,and I began to think with my own brain, away from what the client told me. I took an old gazeteer of Austria -Hungary and looked for this place name. It was there, but only once and it said, it was in Slovenia, almost in Italy.I changed my traveling plans and went to Slovenia and visited this parish office during a day, that was very busy. There I found the whole family and yesterday evening I was already chatting with the slovenian relatives. All found! I also located their cousins in the States, which they were not aware of. It's gonna be a big party now.
What was the expensive mistake of my client?
- they took the name as it was written in the naturalization papers and found the place on the current map of Austria. They did not take into account, that back then, there may have been also other places in other lands of the Empire, who had the same name, but would be more probable with regard to the slavic name.
When back in my office, I took a closer look at all german place names of slovenian places back then, and found out, that there were also three of them in Slovenia as well! I was very lucky to bet on the right one right away.
I strongly suggest not to underestimate the geographical issues. A mistake can be expensive and frustrating.
I can also tell you, that this is not my first case, that followed exactly the same pattern.
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