18 April 2009

Prompt #15 Records Anomolies

He was born when? That's not right. What is that last name? Wow no wonder I could not find them. Oh my God he's lying through his teeth. If you've been doing research for long you see documents that make you say this all the time. I'll share a couple of my head-scratchers with you today.

first is a document I knew about but just got a copy of it yesterday. It's the application of William M Riddle for his Mississippi Choctaw rights. I believe it's very likely that he was Choctaw as he is trying to claim but the problem was in reality his family did not comply with the treaty of 1830. which made him ineligible for annuities.He has trouble keeping his story straight. Not only that I have found the family in TN, KY, and IN but not in MS. I think with this and his lack of proof that this family complies to the treaty ended in his being denied. It looks like he kept at it for about two more years and never got it.

My next anomaly was that of my husbands grandmother's birth certificate she had told us that even the state of Oklahoma could never find her birth certificate when she applied for social security. So they used her school records to establish her birth date, but even they didn't match. So I contacted a dear genealogy friend, Jeanette Coaly (she is actually a distant cousin) but she also runs the museum in Harmon County, Oklahoma where I knew grandma was born. Here is what she found.

I'm not going to show the whole certificate as she is still living, but here is the area of problem. There is a serious mix up of names. Had grandma not been born as a twin we may have never found that, but as a result Jeanette was able to look for twins born during that year and narrow her search to only a few in that county. However, only one had names similar to Grandma's parents. I say similar because their first names were correct, but not the last. Here in lied the problem. Her parents were Ernest "Joe" Conner (not Manning) and Flora Mae Manning (not Master). So the person recording the record I think may have been off by a line or something because they gave Joe his wife's maiden name as his surname and Flora, well I don't know where her name came from.

Now we could see why Grandma was unable to find her birth certificate because the state was looking for a girl born on the date she said and to her correct parents. But in fact not only was their name wrong on the record, but I think her father's memory failed him and he registered her for school with the birth date that was acutely her mother's death date, but the right years. It's no wonder they couldn't find her certificate. However, the family lore was that Joe took the kids, ran to Arizona, changed the spelling of the last name to Connor instead of Conner and also mixed up the kids birth dates to hide them because he was afraid that the orphanage would come take them away from him again. You can read more about her story in my previous post.

There are so many more I could share, but the point is when you look at or for documents keep in mind that people lied, memories fails, facts were recorded wrong, and illiteracy and foreign accents made getting the facts difficult. So when you know a record should exist in a place, spell names wrong, keep dates and time frames open and even search surrounding counties. Sometimes it's a case of changing borders. But never give up. It's there. Also use siblings and other relatives to find your ancestors. It's like a puzzle. Sometimes you need to assemble the surrounding pieces before you can find the one you want.


Kiril said...

Headscratchers are all I have to work with these days. ;-D

I just recently discovered confirmation of who the parents of one of my Great-Grannies were, except that the people on Ancestry who have those 2 people in their records only show them as having a son. ;-D

There can't be more than 1 married couple, from the same area, with the same names, during the same period, so I know I'm on the right trail. ;-D

The problem arises from the fact that her death certificate gives the spelling of her maiden name, and her Fathers last name, different from what it was listed for him in earlier records.

He, his wife, and son, appear in the 1870 census, but I've yet to find these people in 1880. ;-D

I hope the ancestry.com researchers will contact me. ;-D

amyrebba said...


That's not uncommon when you find other peoples work. Often times I have found that they haven't devoted any time and energy to that family group because that couple is not a direct line ancestor. They may have been a Great Aunt or Uncle and therefor they just put in information they quickly came across or that the family could remember. So they may not be able to give you much information anyway.

Have you tried using other sites like Footnote, Rootsweb, LDS, or UsGenWeb to find informaiton? There is also GenForum and Genealogy Trails. Cindy's list is also a fabulous website to help you find other website that might have the genealogy information you are looking for.

If you need help just give me a ring. I'd be glad to see what I can try and find as well. Good luck

Kiril said...

Thank U for the encouragement! ;-D