Ordinary Mistakes to Avoid



There is so much to be careful of when doing the research and then compiling your findings on your ancestral tree. Here are a a few examples of ordinary errors to avoid.

At first, you might think you have found a surname spelling mistake. Instead, it is more likely Alternate Spellings for given and surnames. Over a generation or moving to another location, families prefer another spelling of the family name or even a person’s given name. An example is a female given name of ‘Nannie’ could be changed to ‘Nan’.

Do not accept even the best sources as the info being 100% accurate. Good example is ‘widowhood’ and ‘widower-hood’. Just because someone claims to be a widow or widower, even on official records, it isn’t always the case. In reality a divorce, separation or even bigamy, a spouse might be recorded as widowed on an official record, really a common practice. This may be to handle a delicate issue, or simply to accommodate a census form that didn’t have other options.” Therefore, keep an eye out for those widows and widowers and their missing spouses who may be alive and well under their original, or new married name.

Individual’s date of births or their age at a certain time can be wrong. People lied about their actual age or birth date on many official forms, especially marriage records. In researching it can be either way, making the person younger or older. Then there is the problem that there were no official birth records, common over a hundred years ago. If not written in the family Bible, people could be truly unsure when they were born. So just beware and get as many sources with correct birth dates. 

Learn what various abbreviations mean. Record keeping has changed through time, and changes even from location to location. Consequently, not all abbreviations, even if they look the same, mean the same thing. An example is ‘NA’ might mean non-applicable, naturalized, Native American or even Navy. Double check the meaning of the abbreviations for a certain time frame and for your ancestors. 

Photos: Mistakes are a puzzle; lying about your age; mistakes on records and always search.

Related Familytree.com Blogs:

Human Errors

Severe Errors

Getting the Name Correct

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