Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When records "lie"

In my research this week I have been researching  Annabell Meredith.

Annabell is my husband's first cousin thrice removed.  I have located only 3 source records so far for Annabell, and taken alone, two of them would give very misleading information.

Her birth record doesn't list her first name at all, just that she was "illegitimate" and listed her mother as Gladys Meredith. Gladys would have been 18 years old at the time.

The 1901 census record indicates that Annabell was the daughter of James Meredith and his wife Margaret, but really she was their granddaughter.  Did the census taker assume she was the daughter, or did the person giving the information to the census taker lie?  A genealogy researcher could easily have been led astray if they had taken just the one source for Annabell's parents!

At the time of her marriage, Annabell's parents are listed as Robert Meredith and Gladys (maiden name unknown).  Did Annabell give the person false information? Or maybe her father was named Robert and she said her mother was Gladys Meredith and her father was Robert and they assumed it was a married couple? Again, a genealogist could easily have been led astray if they had taken the marriage record only to determine the parents of Annabell!

I'd love to learn more about Annabell, and maybe I will be able to find her in the 1921 census.  Wills from this family could prove interesting as well.

Looking at the records, especially the marriage record, I wonder, was her wedding day marred a little bit by being reminded of the circumstances of her birth.   In 1919, being a child of an unmarried women was a cause of embarrassment and shame.  Was her mother not at her wedding? Did her husband know the truth? Did she ever meet, or even know the name of her father?  What was recorded on her death record?

Be sure when researching that you have as many sources as you can find for a person, because one may be incorrect.