By Jeannette Holland Austin
It is always interesting to acquire family stories and details from relatives, however, it is wise to double-check the facts. The reason is that time periods are often confused. Examine the plight of the archaeologist who employ modern methods to determine age. Yet, there are always mistakes. Take the search for physical evidence that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt during the reign of Ramsees II. Most scholars insisted that this was during the reign of Ramsees II who ruled from 1290 to 1224 B. C. (19th dynasty). Yet there is nothing to prove this theory. There are, however, mass graves indicating that some sort of plague struck the land along the Nile (the seven bad years during the time of Joseph) as well as peasant cities in Goshen which helps to centralize the patrioh Joseph in this time period. Such evidence (there is more) suggests that Moses did not remove the Jews around 1300 B.C., rather some 200 years earlier and that Thutmose I or Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the exodus. Thus, placing the exodus 200 years before it occurred would find no physical evidence. We tend to make the same mistakes while remembering family. I use a rule of thumb of 33.3 years per generation and consider the average age to marry (for particular eras), average life span, etc., then assign an "ca" in front of possible dates of births/deaths. It is a rough guide-line but helps to keep me in the same generation. Then, I prepare a family group sheet for each family, while keenly observing duplicate or similar names. The information from relatives is useful in many different ways. I write down their exact words. Then, later on, when I have a fact or two, reconsider the possibilities in that source of information.
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