Monday, April 8, 2013

Say it ain't so

I was startled to find the probate records and will for Isaac Snow of Rochester, MA indicating he died in 1789. I had him in my database as dying in August 19, 1812 at about 93 years old. I clicked my source footnote only to discover the DAR ancestor database was the source. I checked to see if their listing had any caveats posted, but there weren't any. The birthdate, wife's name and two child names were the same. A quick check at found one public trees with the 1812 date, but most of the records pointed to the 1789 death. I popped over to find-a-grave and found a photo of a tombstone in Rochester, MA for an Isaac Snow who died August 19, 1812. The catch? The tombstone was inscribed with his age of 23. 

In my opinion, that's a pretty bad mistake. I admit I have the advantage of the internet to help me find strong sources, but I thought the whole point of the application process for lineage societies was to screen for things like this. I mean really, I'm just an amateur and not trying to apply for any lineage societies (yet). Now I wonder what the point would be.

Alas, is there no one I can trust? 


  1. It's so difficult to know what's accurate and what's not when it comes to online family trees and the internet in general. Thank goodness for vital records, cemetery records, court records, and more!

  2. Exactly!

    I feel lucky I got started after so many documents have been digitized and put online. Not quite the same as looking at the originals, but a great option since I have limited ability to travel to see source docs.