Details, details, details. They really are what can sink a ship, blow a fuse, light a fire or just play havoc with a genealogist life!
Case in point. Recently I was able to get a copy of my grandmother’s death certificate. For past needs, I was able to use the funeral records, birth certificate and marriage license for any ancestral proof, but I wanted her death certificate too in my file on her. She was born & raised in NC, lived in MD and on her way home from a family visit died in a car accident in VA.
As they handed me the certified copy and I glanced over it to make sure it was the correct Lenore Rouse Burgess. I noticed the first mistake. Her mother’s maiden name is misspelled. Then I look to her father’s name and see he is listed as a John and not George. My heart sank as I thought 10, 20 or 50 years ahead as the next generation tries to prove a line or think they stumbled across a wrong Lenore or question information.
I am told the funeral home who supplied the information to the state has to be the one to file for a correction. The funeral home listed is A) out of business B) was only used to transport body to NC. So now I am compiling proof of her her parents names and sending to the state to request a corrected document on my own.
Here is another example of incorrect information, can you spot it?
Now, how old was she exactly??
I have a file full of these inconsistencies because someone did not know, did not care or did not follow-up. While it may not make the world a better place, solve a crime or heal a wound, it is the details of our lives that we consider our own public history and the story of who we are and we should at least get that right.
So, lesson is, if you are called to give information, for whatever reason, please make sure that the details you give are correct and if you are unsure WAIT and give the correct information at a later date.