I have warned you in the past about accepting uploaded family trees and compiled genealogies as gospel. I have encouraged you to look at the information critically. I did say that you can use the information as clues to help you with further research. Yesterday I came across a perfect example of how this works.
My person of interest's obituary dated 1904 stated that the named surviving wife was actually his second wife. This was new information to me. I didn't know anything about a first wife. If he had been married before she must had died shortly after they married. I did a search on Ancestry.com’s public and private member trees. I always do this as part of an initial survey. I’ve told you before not to ignore compiled genealogies but don’t rely on them. You need to do your own research. However, seeing what other people have can give you some direction on where to search for your answers.
Someone on Ancestry.com had my person of interest in the 1860 census. Up until this point I had been unable to locate him in the 1860 census. I was able to pull up the page that this person had cited. My person of interest was listed just by his initials and in Bulloch County, Georgia, not where I would have thought he would be. However, he was listed as an overseer so maybe that is where he found a job. The man’s apparent wife's name was Jane. I wasn't 100% convinced that this man with just initials was my guy though this guy was born in NC as my guy was. The person on Ancestry.com had the wife's full name and exact date of marriage but no location and no source. That was my clue.
I checked the marriage books for Bulloch County and there was nothing. I then went to my person of interest's home county of Richmond. I wasn't expecting to find anything because I have searched those books many times for this surname, however, I was now armed with an exact date and a wife's name. Well guess what, I found the marriage! The reason I didn't see it before is that my guy's name in the handwritten index at the front of the marriage book was buried in the crack of the book and unreadable but what was readable was the wife's name and the page number. I looked at the page and on the marriage license/certificate it showed my guy's full name. The couple on the 1860 census now appears to be the correct couple. I now have him in the 1860 census and I have his first wife’s full name. Oh happy day!
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis