Genealogy #5: Wrong Information

Wrong Information

It’s everywhere.

Names aren’t spelled correctly…or even close.
The birth date is wrong….
The death date is wrong….
The parents are incorrect…or the children are…some are missing…or added….

Stay Flexible

We all run into these situations from time to time…mistakes will happen, and you will find them!
So roll with it.

You never know…sometimes the truly incorrect information is what you started with!

On census sheets, sometimes the actual family members weren’t the ones who were supplying the information.
Or, Grandma was from Tennessee, but born in Virginia.
Or, who is this child named Tommy? Elijah and Dinah didn’t have a child named Tommy. Except they did, and he died before the next census.

This actually came up in my own family: on the 1850 Maine census Cyrus, Sarah, and George were listed. On the 1860 Illinois census Sarah, Lewis and Henry were listed.

What happened?

Well, between 1850 and 1860 two more children were born to Cyrus and Sarah, who then decided to move from Maine to Illinois.
Shortly before the next census, Cyrus and son George died.
Suddenly the whole nucleus had changed, little resembling the same family just ten years prior.

On death certificates, sometimes people supply information that they know was correct…just not the whole story.
Such as…Grandpa’s name was Al. But his legal name was George Alvin.

With my own grandfather, his grave marker was held up for months because of a mistake in information provided.
My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and years ago had made arrangements (with my grandmother) to have a Navy Veteran emblem placed on his tombstone.
Years later, my grandmother had died, and my grandfather remarried. Within months of the 2nd marriage, he died.
When he died, the paperwork was put in motion to process his emblem for the marker.
But his 2nd wife (who understandably did not know him that well) stated on his paperwork that he was not a veteran.

Suddenly all processing came to a halt.

His paperwork wasn’t denied, the processing just stopped.
I don’t know where his emblem and paperwork were during the hold-up…I strongly suspect it was languishing in a military warehouse someplace, right next to the Ark of the Covenant.
But in any case, once I learned of the mix-up I submitted his DD-214 paperwork stating his Honorable Discharge, and things were able to move forward once again.

Mistakes will happen. Just be aware.

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4 thoughts on “Genealogy #5: Wrong Information

  1. This kind of research can be frustrating at best! But perseverance will pay off. My family oral history was that my uncle died at 3 years old, it even states that in the obituary I found at the library. His State Death record proves he was 6 years old. We were always told our grandparents were married on Valentines Day. I found their Marriage Certificate; Married on November 20, 1919! I have found the Census material to be helpful for guidance but other resources have given me hard factual documents. Also, I am very fortunate that my grandparents stayed in one place! All American Documentation is right here in town.
    If you’re interested check out my blog, I have some postings about my research.

    1. Yes, mistakes, even grievously huge ones, abound. You’re right, it is much more helpful to research when your family has stayed put! I will definitely check out your blog. Thanks for the comment.

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