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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Verify Information/Check Sources/Multiple Sources

In researching my mother's paternal family history in Texas, I have learned that not even the actual source or the information that's on that source is correct.

The Texas Birth Index/Certificates have gotten information wrong in a number of occasions, I have browsed through those records and see how people had to correct their birth information because a parent's name was either wrong, spelled wrong or wasn't completely fully written. The child's name also wasn't spelled out or written on the certificate, and other information was wrong.

I have two aunts whose birth dates were wrong (and for one the wrong person listed as the parent), I obtained their date of births from the Texas Birth Index on and the TBI and Texas Birth Certificates on

For one aunt, her brother, my grandfather, was listed as her FATHER. My grandfather was about 7 years old when this aunt was born, the mother was listed correctly with the exception of the last name, instead of her maiden name it was her married name. Her date of birth was also wrong by one day. This aunt had to get her BC corrected some years ago.

The other aunt, her sister, had the wrong date of birth and her mother's surname was mispelled. The correct DOB was given to me by the granddaughter of the aunt.

Verify the information you are given, even if it's on a record like Census, Marriage, Birth, Death, etc. don't just take what that record says as gospel truth. On a number of occassions I had family members correct the information I had, some knew of the misinformation already so had to explain to it me. And there's joy to know you got information correct to a T without even knowing these people.

Check your sources, who is giving the information and why are they giving the information? People have emotions, and in the heat or excitement or sadness of the moment they will tell you what they want to and what they think you want to or should hear. Also, some people only give what they know or heard or was told. Some are not related at all. So you need to see if you can trust this source or take everything this source says as true, or perhaps it's true, but don't let it be what you go by, match it up with your own information and with other sources. That way you can take out what needs to be taken out, add in what needs to be added, and keep what needs to be kept.

Above all, have Multiple Sources.
I heard someone here in chat talk about having multiple sources, I first thought all I need was one, but I learned not all sources are correct, and even if they all are correct and or agree with one another, it is very wise and smart to have more than one source telling you the same thing or something similiar. Some genealogy softwares ask you if the source is a 'Primary Source', the one you most believe and other family members agree with. That's what's going to be used in reports. Confirmation is important, and having another source confirm the information from a previous source is great, if they disagree, then there's a problem, but you can put both and whoever sees it can always tell you which one is true. One source may have what the other doesn't.

I have seen death indexes where one Index gives Month and Year the person died, and another Index actually gives complete date of death. But I have seen where date of deaths differ. Some death indexes only give death, others give date of birth. I have seen where a State death index/certificate would give one date of birth, but the Soc. Sec. Death index would give another date of birth. I mostly trust the SSDI since the person themselves gave the information on their SSA, someone else is giving the information on the death certificate, and the information on the index is coming from the certificate. Also, on the Social Security Death Index, the reason why a person's information makes it to the death master file is because someone reported it. But I see some of these deaths are reported late, as I have seen a person die in one month, but the Month and even maybe year they died is wrong. Someone died in Feb 2010 but the SSDI says Mar 2010. Or Dec. 2010 but the Index says Jan. 2011. Someone died Apr 14 but the Index says Apr 17.

Don't try and guess and figure it out in your head if you don't have to, go to someone and talk to them and ask. You want to have the correct information, sometimes you do extra research, extra digging, or just compare them and see which makes more sense. It's hard when it comes to burial dates, because some people are buried a day after their death, some one week, I have an uncle who was buried two weeks after his death.
There's always a story, explaination, reason for the information to be the way they are, sometimes we can't always know. Making small notes, explaining why you chose the date/name/place you did is good. Even if you're wrong, telling people why you did it makes for a good researcher.

Messages In This Thread

Verify Information/Check Sources/Multiple Sources
Re: Verify Information/Check Sources/Multiple Sour

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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