Monday, August 19, 2013

Do your own research


The above screenshot is from Ancestry,com’s Public Member trees.  The reason there are 28 people with the wrong information is because it is common for people to just copy what they find on someone else’s tree into their own file without doing any checking at all.  I know exactly where this information comes from.  On the 1880 census Rouja is listed as the son of Ebenezer Grantham and the implied son of Celia but the 1880 census is wrong.1  Rouja is actually their grandson.  Here is the funny part.  You can pretty much discount Celia as Rouja’s mother with no work at all.  Celia would have been 53 when Rouja was born.  Not impossible these days with fertility treatments but virtually impossible in 1877.  At the very least, it should give you cause for suspicion that something isn’t right.  One census record does not constitute proof.  Remember when we talked about “a reasonably exhaustive search?”

You should do a survey of what is available in online trees and compiled genealogies in published books but you can’t just accept that information as gospel even if there are sources for the information listed (but in most cases there are no sources listed).  You must do your own research using the things that you find as clues to help you find original documentation. 

1 1880 U.S. census, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, 5th Ward, enumeration district (ED) 176, p. 401 [stamped], dwelling 52, family 57, Ebenezer Grantham household; digital images,  ( : accessed 23 Oct 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 471. 

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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