I have told you many times don't believe everything you see but I wanted to show you an example:
Here is a snippet of a census page. This would be the 1920 in Purvis, Lamar County, Mississippi. You can click on the image to make it a little bigger.
This census page clearly says that Houston Simmons is the son of W. Isaac Simmons. This one actually gives you a clue that something is amiss. If Isaac and Mary were Houston's parents, they would have been age 53 and 55 respectfully. 55 is a bit old for a woman to give birth. There are many census pages that wouldn't have been so nice to give you such a clue.
In this case Houston is actually Isaac's nephew. Houston's mother died in childbirth and his father was not in a position to take care of a newborn. If I was seeing this for the first time I would have been inclined to think that Houston was a grandson. I would have used that as my working hypothesis and then I would have conducted a thorough search for additional evidence. I would have found that my hypothesis was incorrect but I would have uncovered the truth if my methods were sound. You should never use one piece of evidence in isolation of all of the other clues out there.
Copyright © 2012 Michele Simmons Lewis