#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Oops

I’ve made errors, as we all do at one point or another, while researching my family tree. Most don’t stick with me. I fix them as I realize my mistake, and I move on.

One that I recall was a case of mistaken identity in the newspaper. I found a brief mention of a fire that burned the home of J.W. Stevens in Muscogee. The arson suspect was also charged in another crime in 1928. My great-grandfather was J.W. Stevens and his family lived in Muscogee. My mother doesn’t remember ever hearing about a fire. This was nearly 10 years before she was born, so that’s not definitive proof it’s not the same J.W. Stevens, but I have put that aside for further perusal some other time.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was not making a bigger effort to preserve family videos. We’ve never had central heat and air, and we live in Florida, so I can look through the little windows of the VHS cases and see that they’re not in good shape any longer.

Another error I regret was not writing down the stories and memories of the older folks while I had them around. I sort of remember a few things, but I should have kept notes when I was young and listening to those stories firsthand.

And this one’s just silly: When I first really got into this hobby, the day I discovered FamilySearch and clicked the little arrow to go back and back and back into my family history, I proudly announced to my husband that the reason I’m really into Shakespeare and love tiaras is because I’m descended from royalty.

“Sure,” he said.

Now, every time I’m looking at an ancestor’s profile and there are no sources attached, and I realize that his alleged mother died 15 years before he was born, and his alleged father was born and died in England while my ancestor lived his whole life in the New World, I hear that voice in my head saying, “Sure.”

Auriette reacting to a giant fiberglass dinosaur in Elberta, Alabama.
Once you realize you’ve made a mistake, you wonder how you missed it in the first place.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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