Sunday, June 25, 2017
Getting Things Right
It took only a few minutes of playing with that Ooh-Shiny genealogical divertissement I found yesterday, when I realized what I really needed to do was attend to my genealogical duty. That, in case you've forgotten, is to rectify the error I discovered while doing some spring cleaning on my mother-in-law's oft-intermarried family line.
Just to recap, I was scrolling through the list of all persons in that tree, searching for duplicate entries, when I spotted one which seemed to qualify. It was for a Mary Frances Gordon, born in Ohio in 1885, and passed away in the same state in 1963. One of my two entries for this person said she was married to John Patrick Hennessey, the other claiming her husband was John P. Hennessy.
All seems well at this point—until I check her parents' information. In one record, she is daughter of Thomas Gordon and Elizabeth McCann. In the other record, she is daughter of Thomas Gordon and Elizabeth McCabe.
There seems to be a problem here.
I can't simply assume these two Mary Franceses are duplicate entries with that discrepancy, now can I?
This calls for digging in further to check out the rest of the details. Admittedly, this was probably a Gordon line I had worked on nearly twenty years ago, given the amount of shaky-leaf hints generated by a fresh click on that entry now. And there are certainly other details that don't quite mirror each other.
For instance, the Mary Frances whose mother was Elizabeth McCabe was one of only two children. Her mother died soon after giving birth to Mary Frances' sister, Blanche. Within three years, her father, Thomas Gordon, married once again, to Mary Alice Cull.
The other mother—the one for the Mary Frances Gordon whose mother was Elizabeth McCann—married her Thomas Gordon in 1862, and had many children before Mary Frances' arrival in 1885.
This required going back through all the documentation I had saved for each of these "duplicate" people, checking for discrepancies. It was clear to see, from the headstone photographs posted on Find A Grave for each of the Elizabeths, that they were certainly different individuals.
But as I went, document by document, to double check each entry for accuracy, I began to realize that perhaps I wasn't the first to have gotten confused by Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Gordon. A clerk in the Perry County Probate Court may have made a similar mistake, himself.