Thursday, January 31, 2019

Because Someone Says It Doesn't Make It So

How many times have you seen on some one's family tree where a child was born when the mother was five years old or younger? Or maybe a man fathered a child when he was over 100 years old.  Ok, Ok, maybe these are extremes, but you get the idea. If something doesn't look right, it probably isn't right.

If a man seems to be chasing himself - living first in one place and then in another and then back to the first place - maybe you are chasing two different men with the same name. That happened with my ancestor, John E. Wilson,  who lived  in Livingston County, Kentucky until 1842. After 1842, he was found in Crittenden County. A man by that same name, including the middle initial, was a merchant in Livingston County at the same time.  Both had wives named Nancy. Were they one and the same or two different men?  By comparing deeds and other records for the two men, it was determined that my ancestor was the man living on Crooked Creek in what became Crittenden County. He was buried in Crooked Creek Cemetery, Crittenden County.  The other man of that name lived in Smithland in Livingston County and had to be the man buried in Smithland Cemetery.  It may take a little time to separate the records for the two men, but it works.

If names, dates and events seem beyond the realm of possibility, don't be afraid to question the sources and, by all means, don't accept it just because someone else says it is so, especially if you are depending on those online family trees.

 Published 31 Jan 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Unknown said...

Boy, I have been down that road! It really IS detective work when it comes to figuring out who your ancestors were. I had such a mess with my Granny's long lost sister that when I finally did find out who she was, she turned out to be living in the same neighborhood as Granny and her mother, but under a married name. She had married at an early age, and died without much details. The previous first wife had died between censuses, but nearly all of her information suggested that she was the lost sister. Even now, after finding the correct data, I tend to get them mixed up.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

We all make this mistake, especially when we are novice genealogists. The important thing is that we learn and correct our mistakes. Thanks for responding!