#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Mistake

A lot of my ancestors made mistakes. Or rather, they made the same mistake. They didn’t leave behind clear and accurate information about who they are.

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFH6-LRL : 20 December 2020), Mrs Silcox, Santa Rosa, Florida, United States; citing family , NARA microfilm publication  (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
In 1850, enumerator George Fisher didn’t record the first names of female heads-of-household. This page includes Mrs. Chestnut, Mrs. Ard, and Mrs. Silcox.

Would it have been so difficult to make sure the census taker wrote down their full names? Could they not have provided a consistent age and birthplace to each enumerator? If they weren’t home, I’m sure they could have tracked down the census taker and verified that the information given by the child/neighbor/farmhand was correct.

County clerks in Alabama and Georgia, just to name a few, made some pretty big mistakes, too. I mean, come on, would it have been so difficult to add a couple of extra lines to the marriage license and include the happy couple’s birthdates and parents’ names?

State leaders should have been on the ball as well, and started collecting birth and death data way earlier than they did. It would have been helpful information to have, to keep track of population growth and shift over the years.

And did anyone at any level even consider fireproof vaults for important records?!

If only sheer force of will could get this message back in time. We could all turn on our computers tomorrow and find a nice surprise of dozens of new and more complete resources for our genealogy.

My mam-ma always said, if wishes were horses, beggers would ride, but that never stopped me from begging for a horse!


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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2 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Mistake

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    Yeah, all that would be wonderful!

  2. Barb LaFara says:

    Your thoughts would make a good plot for a science fiction time-travel story that only genealogists would understand. Thanks for sharing.

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