Friday, June 3, 2011

At What Age Does Emmar Become a Primary Source?

I've been reviewing the information Emmar Sargent provides in her 1918 deposition in her pension case. And I am wondering:

  • At what age does Emmar become a primary source?
Emmar indicates a date and place of birth, names of siblings, names of husbands, places of marriage, divorce, residence. Aside from the fact that Emmar's memory could be questionable or she could be selectively be "forgetting things," at what point can we say she's remembering things because she actually remembers them instead of remembers having been told them.

Emmar cannot remember he birth or some of the things that happened when she was a small child. Personally, I do not consider anyone a primary source for their date and place of birth--they "know" it because they were told it or read it, not because they really remember experiencing it. 

But does everyone remember what happened when they were 8? What does a 10 year old remember about their father (aside from what they were told), especially when they last saw him at the age of 10? 

I don't have good answers to these questions and remember that classification of information as primary or secondary is not the same as saying it is true or false. 

When we evaluate the information, we also need to consider other factors--which we'll discuss in the issue of Casefile Clues where we take a look at Emmar's deposition. We'll also find out about her selective memory. 

Subscribe now and join the discovery--in this case the confusion as well. 

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