Genealogy pitfalls and frustrations.
I have been working on genealogy for a client once again, and even though I have written about mistakes in published records before, I thought it was not a bad thing to bring it up again.
I do use the internet for some of my research but always verify it through primary sources. I had gotten this Button family all done and it seemed to be alright. But when I checked a marriage record in the vital records it made me do some serious thinking about what I had found on the internet. The marriage record in 1755 said that Anne Button was of Voluntown, CT when she married in Stonington, CT in 1755 to Simeon Park, and the actual record is in the Canterbury, CT Vital Records.
So went looking to see if an Anne Button was born in Voluntown and sure enough there was one born in 1733. Now the information I had was that Anne Button was born in Windham, CT in 1727 a daughter of Daniel. That would have made her 3 years older than her husband and 49 years of age at the birth of her last child. I went to see if there was a Button genealogy on-line and I found one. Well, that just added to the puzzle because in that they had that Anne was the daughter of Daniel and born in Windham in 1727 and supposedly married Simeon Park. But later on in the same book they linked Anne born in 1733 to Simeon Park with all their children. And the Anne born in 1727 was not linked to anyone.
At the moment I am giving it a rest and sleeping on it. The Anne born in 1733 makes a lot more sense as it would make her 43 at the birth of her last child. And seeing as Simeon was born in 1730 she is a better fit for him.
I will definitely do some more checking on this before I am comfortable with it. In fact, I am going to see if there are some probate records for these Button men. If that fails, then it is time to look at land records.
I have also been finding that people put dates and places out there on the “net” but they do not list any sources and when I look for those records in the towns, they just don’t exist. In the case of deaths they could be from a gravestone record or even a family record. As I am working mostly with Massachusetts and Connecticut records it is a bit easier to prove as when Massachusetts started publishing their town vital records to 1850 they included family records and gravestone records in the compilation. In Connecticut we have the Hale Collection of Gravestone records and the Barbour Collection of vital records. If I don’t find them in any of those then I have no idea where the person found their information.
Of course, many good articles have been written over the years, and even though I have access to a lot of those, there are still some that I can’t find. And perhaps the information is from some of those articles.
The Bennett family is also giving me fits. Because there were just about no births recorded from the time of the Revolutionary War to about 1850 it leaves a huge gap when trying to find parents for people. This is what is happening with the Bennett family. Usually you can find a land record or two where a father is giving land to children or there is some connection between siblings. But in this case, I have not found any. In the land records I found for Charles Bennett there is no relationship mentioned when another Bennett sold him land. He is the administrator of one Ezra Bennett, and coincidentally that same man was the one who sold him one half of a shingling mill. The other half of the same mill was sold to him by a Sanford Bennett. Were Sanford & Ezra brothers? The only sibling that I can find for Charles was a Hiram who married and died in a year or two. Charles was the administrator on his estate also.
These are the pitfalls of doing genealogy only on the internet, but it also shows that published records can have mistakes in them also. I have always believed that there is an answer to be found for these difficult research problems. Maybe not right away, in fact, it may be years before it all gets solved. But isn’t that the fun of genealogy? The hunting for the answers is what makes it all so much fun. Sitting at home and printing everything off the internet and saying you have done your genealogy is just so boring. Where is the fun in that? Where is the pride in a job well done? It’s exciting to visit libraries and town halls digging up information and when you find that tidbit you have been looking for, for so long, you just want to holler YIPEE and share it with everyone around you.
How many times people come to our research library and at the end of the day they find out that the person that has been sitting across from them all day is actually related to them! That happens more often than you would think. It is indeed a small world.
So, if at all possible, do your research at the source. You will be very glad you did.