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“But it says right here in this record…”
HomeThoughts and Musings“But it says right here in this record…”


“But it says right here in this record…” — 4 Comments

  1. This one hits close to home. My grandfather lied about his age on several official documents, going so far as to alter his birth certificate. He told his children exactly what he had done and why. They, in turn, have told me. I’m still debating how to handle this. Privately, I suppose. At least for the moment.

  2. Interesting post, and it’s the same in Scotland, Chris – the bride and groom lied about their ages if there was a big age difference, if they were illegitimate they invented fathers (or gave their mother’s current husband as their father) and no written proof was required. Death certificates are even more likely to contain dubious information – an acquaintance of mine who is a retired Registrar was moaning about the wrong information that people gave him when registering deaths. He later checked the death certificates of his parents, both of which he had registered. There were mistakes in each, much to his shame 🙂 At times of stress, we don’t always think straight – grandsons or sons-in-law may have given the Other Granny’s maiden name, but we need to evaluate the details found and explain our train of thought. Just because the information is there, in black and white, doesn’t mean it is correct 🙂

  3. One of my father’s cousins even lied on her SS-5 application for a social security number — listing her grandparents as her parents — to avoid having to admit she was illegitimate. LOTS of lies in LOTS of documents! (And yeah, the other researcher will disagree no matter what!)

  4. Well said, Chris. Between the lies, guesses, honest mistakes, and plain old misinformation, the only way to determine the truth is to correlate every bit of evidence we can find. My g-g-grandfather’s death record, filed by the doctor, shows he died 5 October 1891. Good thing I looked further. Turns out the doc didn’t file his report at the courthouse until 7 months later. Three other records-including the cemetery’s burial file-show he died 19 October. But it’s the erroneous one that’s on FamilySearch.