2006-01-05

Check all sources

It pays to check sources of information that you receive from others, even if you are sure that it is likely to be accurate. I’ve come to the belief that if you haven’t sought the source of the information yourself, it quite probably isn’t true!

Information from other people’s research is still very useful of course. It provides leads, names and dates to research that can give you new information. And even if you can’t confirm things it makes good information as a ‘may be true’ within your genealogy research.

One example I came across recently was looking for the date of birth of Frederick Rowland Williams. I did not know his birth date of location but did know that he was married to Elvina Imogene Clark. Getting the marriage certificate gave me an age which gave me an approximate date of birth and the location as London, England.

Usually I’d search through the birth, death and marriage indexes over a date range to find the date of birth details but ‘Williams’ is a common name and there were many entrys.

Talking to family members I got a date of birth as ‘2 Jun 1923’ but nothing in the UK indexes had an entry. Another family tree from an aunt who researched some of that side of the family had the date as ‘2 Jan 1922’ and that was a dead end when looking in the indexes as well. Finally I ‘bit the bullet’ and worked through the indexes from 1925 down. I finally found an entry for ‘Frederick Rowland Williams’ in the 3rd quarter of 1922, born in West Hampshire.

I still do not know if this is my F.R Williams, but the entry did show the mothers maiden name as ‘Mayers’ which matches so am reasonably confident. I’ll order the birth certificate and check the details to confirm but I’m reasonably confident.

But that shows there were three different sources for the date - so it was worthwhile crosschecking the information.

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