I've reached that point in my endless searching for ancestors that every dangling branch end is a darn brick wall. I often get on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org and see if any leaves have shaken loose; and like many times before I get excited when I think someone has made a discovery I had yet to find, only to be sadly disappointed when I started comparing the records they did have and see discrepancies that casts doubt on the research. It's so frustrating.
Let me share with you one of the latest pitfalls I've analyzed and provided the contributor of the tree some feedback. This is why it's so important to put every event detail for every record you think pertains to the ancestor you are looking at into a time and place timeline. This is how you will see when you have facts that put one person in more than one place at the same time. I've seen this pitfall and even done it myself so many times.
I hope she finds this analysis helpful, but I also wanted to share this for my followers to see how easy it is to combine two people and think they are the same. I understand how she did it. Both of these Mattie Smiths lived in the same county at the same time. One with her husband and one with her parents. It would be easy to think these two women were the same, but she missed is described in my analysis below: