Thursday, April 21, 2016

Proving Things for Yourself

When dancing with the ancestors you are going to come across family trees created by other researchers. As I've mentioned before, do not take those trees at face value and trust that the information you're finding is 100% correct. There's a chance it is 100% correct, but there's a greater chance it isn't. PROVE THE FACTS FOR YOURSELF!

Okay, now that I've SHOUTED at you, dear readers, on to this post which is about misinformation in online trees. Yes, it happens. It happens on a regular basis. It happens so often it is not even funny.

Now, in my dance with my ancestors, I've come across this misinformation time and time and time again. I come to expect it, rather than not expect it now.

Case in point: all the trees I've found for my 3 x Great Grandfather William Adcock list his wife as Francis Ballinger, daughter of James Ballinger and Dorcas Dodson. This is 100% correct. William Adcock did marry Francis Ballinger. No mystery there, except . . .

Francis Ballinger was the second wife of William Adcock!


Why is this important, you might be wondering? Well, in all the family trees I've found for William Adcock with Francis Ballinger as his wife, the following children are listed: Joseph Leonard (b. 1806), Jane (b. 1807), David (b. 1814), Francis (b. 1815), Rebecca (b. 1818 - she's my 2 x Great Grandmother), Martha (b. 1821) and Nancy (b. 1827).

For the longest time, I took these facts as presented: William and Francis (Ballinger) Adcock had 7 children. No problem.

Yeah, famous last words: no problem

The problem didn't happen until I discovered the last will and testament of 4 x Great Grandfather James Ballinger which was probated in August 1813. His will listed his wife and all his children, including the married names of his daughters. The kicker: his daughter Francis was referred to as Francis Ballinger and not Francis Adcock. 

The will was written on July 19, 1813, which means . . . Francis was not married at that time, therefore . . .

. . . she cannot be the mother of Joseph Leonard or Jane, and potentially not David because she did not marry William Adcock until sometime after July 19, 1813. AH-HAH!

But, every tree out there lists her as the only wife of William Adcock. This was an easy assumption to make . . . until you take into account the last will and testament of James Ballinger.

Then there is the second problem with trees, and this involves 4 x Great Grandfather James Ballenger: every single tree lists his date of death as 1795. Sons of the American Revolution applications lists his date of death as 1795 . . . and his wife as Dorcas Dodson.

Now, if you've been paying attention, you know that James Ballenger/Ballinger wrote his last will and testament on July 19, 1813. This is 18 years past his published date of death. He mentions his wife Dorcas in his will. So, either his a zombie, a vampire, or faked his own death . . . the misinformation about his date of death was never discovered or . . . lazy genealogists got the date from somewhere and kept on using it. I'm not sure which option applies.

So, when dancing with the ancestors take the time to research all avenues/angles and prove things for yourself. Do not take the easy, i.e., the lazy genealogist, way out and trust that the person before you crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's because there's an excellent chance they didn't!

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