Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this question in meta. We are all working to figure out the equation for converting good queries into great SE questions.
I thought there was a structural problem with the question; made some comments here.
For the short answer.
ColeValleyGirl suggested "reworded either to ask 'How can I discover more information about Jacob Fisher and Sarah Hodges' perhaps tying it to the specific sources and techniques useful for researching in Massachusetts in the period in question."
I would prefer to see you fix the structural problems. I think that fix would change the question and naturally narrow its scope; it would make that work to answer the new question more meaningful.
As part of the fix, whether or how you consider the answers that are already posted is a separate complication. (The quicker the fix, the less likely there are complications.)
Consider asking the question as "if/then," ala:
How to learn about the ancestry of Jacob Fisher, d. 1820 at XXXX, Mass.?
My ancestor, Jacob Fisher died 1820 at XXX, Mass.[Reference] He earlier married
at XXXX to XXXX on MM YYYY. [Reference] He and his wife had children born at
XXX, Mass. [Reference]
There was a Jacob Fisher born XXXX at Sharon, Mass., [Reference] son of Jacob
Fisher and Sarah [Hodges]. [Reference]
- How can I learn if my Jacob Fisher (d. 1820 at XXX, Mass.) is the same person born earlier at Sharon, Mass?
- If my ancestor is the same man who was born 1776 at Sharon, then what more information is available about those parents and their family?
References not linked above:
I agree with the comment you added to ColeValleyGirl's answer, "my understanding is that questions that need improvement should get comments on how to improve or even edits with the improvements themselves. One of the most important aspects of a beta is what is on-topic and what is off-topic and closing to get focus on what is on topic."
Comments were made and still more explanation was provided in answers that were posted, but the question didn't change. Consider also that
- A few people have expressed some well reasoned thoughts that others should not edit questions when the intent is to change the meaning of the question. (I like the idea of discussing questions in meta. May we continue this?)
- There is another side to a problem question that I hope you will consider--folks will down vote and/or criticize an ANSWER that doesn't fully/directly address the question (even when they don't down vote and/or criticize the QUESTION).
Without belaboring the point, I had identified the conflict in the Sharon vital records probably within minutes. I could be reasonably sure the far more extended research and documentation about Sarah and Jacob (all their children, all sets of parents) would be extraneous/would not at this point contribute anything meaningful.
Other than vote to close, what should we do when comments are made (even answers contributed) specifying the a problem (with the question), but the question still isn't fixed?