One area for sure you could have a problem with when doing your family tree is conflicting dates, names, hometowns, events or occupations. First look at all the sources for that one specific conflict – say an ancestor’s birth date. You must have where each listing for a date came from. Was one from the family Bible, one from the county vital records, one from the family church records and one from a cousin who did family research?
Any one of those sources could be wrong. Just because someone has that info on their family tree doesn’t make it accurate. Also look at time periods – the closer to the actual date of the event the more likely it is correct. NOTE – more likely, not 100% always. Even recording of family events in the family Bible can be wrong if done years and decades later.
Another area people get false information would be from just an index rather than the actual or copy of a birth record. Any time data is transferred, such as to an index, mistakes happen.
Next learn who actually filled out or provided the information. We want to believe that obituaries are 100% correct, but remember it is someone else in the family, even a family friend or business partner giving the information on the departed. Mistakes in those cases run real high.
Then there is always the ancestor who ‘out and out lied’ about themselves for a marriage record, pension form, social security application, etc. I had a great grandfather who lied about his age when he applied for a wedding license on his second marriage because the bride was much younger.
When you have two or more different dates, names, locations, don’t wait, try to settle the conflict and learn the truth.
Photo: Traditional family Bible page of recorded births.< Return To Blog