My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

When a Reader Corrects my Lineage

A reader, Jan, wrote me stating, "You may find this of interest.  There was just one wife named Elizabeth for John Graves, a widow. Of course Donald Lines Jacobus research is the gold standard." This caught my eye two days ago because it pertained to my John Graves line, out of Guilford, Connecticut. I hadn't written anything about this old direct line of mine on my blog, Jan instead found my RootsWeb site and decided to correct a wrong. Fortunately, she provided some information about The American Genealogist (TAG) article written in 1955 by Donald Lines Jacobus.

Immediately, I thought "how did that happen," "where did I get my information," "how many copied it," "darn, I have to change data," and "what is my correct lineage?" What Jan sent me didn't include the next generation, so I was pretty frantic, not knowing if my next person was still in the tree. There was nothing found on google either. Fortunately, a few hours later, I remembered that The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston had the TAG books, so I made plans for a visit in a few days. Then a lightbulb went off, and I recalled many of these periodicals are online through the NEHGS site at Everything was there.

What was my error? Very simple, All old sources had John Graves as being married to two different Elizabeth's. However, there was only one, and she was a widow. Therefore some records had her maiden name, others had her 1st married name. My corrections will be very easy, and I'm lucky. Thank you Jan for taking the time to write.

Before I make my corrections, and prepare to post the lineage for my Surname Saturday entry, I'm sharing two sentences in the last paragraph of what Donald Lines Jacobus wrote.

"It seems a pity that so many compilers of genealogies continue to rely on compilations published half a century or more ago, instead of seeking out the primary sources."

"Once more I find myself harping on the old refrain: the only certain sources of genealogical knowledge are the contemporary documents.


Bill West said...

So true, Barbara. I find myself rechecking information all the time
hat I originally found in those old books. They're right most of the time but it's that 20% or so that's wrong that gets you!

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

I agree. We can't always rely on what's written long ago as the gospel fact every single time. There ARE errors unfortunately. This is a great reminder to us all; so glad you shared!

Barbara Poole said...

Bill and Lisa, I agree, it's a good reminder to constantly check, but sometimes it's hard to remember all your surnames, esp. if you have a lot. But, it's nice when somebody catches an error!

Susan Clark said...

Such readers are a blessing, as are those who broadcast the corrections near and far! Thanks for reinforcing good habits.

Brenda Leyndyke said...

Thanks for sharing, I am sure this has happened to a lot of people. It sounds like Jan handled it politely, which is always a bonus.

Carol said...

Lots of good reminders here and so nice that you "fixed" your lineage. Thank goodness for those that love to share and help and DO!

Nancy said...

I'm not far enough back in my genealogy to have much printed in books. When I do get to that point, I will be very careful. It was good of Jan to contact you and fabulous that you don't have many changes to make. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara Poole said...

Susan, Brenda, Carol and Nancy...Thank you all for responding and sharing your comments. I believe if I found an error on somebody's site, I'd do exactly as Jan did to me. Nancy, I held my breath when I did the merge of the two wives, the correction took less than 2 minutes, I was lucky indeed.

Barbara Poole said...

From Jan, the person who contacted me. "I am glad my intervention in your nice family tree was perceived as "polite." Jacobus had also cleared up another long-standing error in one of my husband's lines. He wrote the correction about 60 years ago but all the downloaded trees keep the error in. I gave up on that one. It seems if it is repeated 22 times on the Internet, that makes it true."