Monday, May 6, 2013

If the facts don't fit, just make them!

I have been "doing" genealogical research since long before the internet ever came into being. I tramped cemeteries, knocked on doors of total strangers, plowed through unfiled papers in courthouses, copied countless records, and looked at miles of microfilm. What I know, I know. What is on the internet--not so much.

My great-great-grandmother was a Leatherwood before she married my great-great-grandfather by the same name. In the picture I have of them, they look like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum--not unusual considering that cousins often married back in the "old days". I can trace back at least two generations of my great-great-grandfather's heritage with reasonable certainly that it's correct. Beyond that, it's probably correct, but I'd need more records to be absolutely sure.

Julia Ann, on the other hand, seems to have sprung from the cabbage patch somewhere between SC and AL. However, on many posted family trees, she is listed as the daughter of two people who lived, died, and are buried in SC. They did indeed have a daughter named Julia Ann, with the third name Frances, born the same year as MY Julia Ann. She is NOT my Julia Ann. She married a man named Elias Corder and produced offspring--that much is documented in marriage and census records.

But nobody cares. Her name was Julia Ann, the birthdate is right, so by golly, she's the one! Please. I would LOVE for her to be their daughter. I have been looking so long, oh Lord, so long! But she's not.

I posted, then took down my own family tree from this site because people who saw it wanted to offer me "suggestions" for including more information. Not. If I can't prove it--or at least be reasonably certain based on the facts--I won't put it down. I didn't have time to read their "suggestions" and reply to them, usually with some degree of snark: e.g. I know where my father died, thank you very much. (And it's not where you say!)

Genealogy is much like working a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes the piece appears to fit. Sometimes it actually does. Yet, on closer inspection, the picture is skewed, so it's back to the drawing board.

My subscription to this site expires in July, and I'm not renewing. I can access it through two local libraries, and that's sufficient for my research. In addition, I'm heading back out to Alabama and Mississippi in September and will visit local courthouses as well as research in the states' archives. And then, I'll keep my information to myself. Why not? Nobody cares so long as they can plug in names and dates on that blessed family tree!

The difference is--though I may have some blank spaces, what is there will be correct.

That's all!

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