Monday, June 11, 2012

Other People's Trees

I have a big issue with family history researchers who cited other people's family trees that are posted on the web as a source of information for their work.  That information is not reliable.  Any researcher should strive to use records that were created by the person they're researching.  These are commonly called primary records.  I have a very good example why.

I am still trying to find the parents of my great-great-grandfather Albert Galatine Gatton.  Because of his middle name and that he enlisted to serve in the Civil War at the same place on the same day as Isaac Gatton, I think he may be related to the family of William Benjamin Gatton and Sarah Murffey.   Someone suggested that I look at the sons for whom no one has found children.   I thought that was a good idea.  There are two, Benjamin Gatton who married Isabel and Greenberry Gatton who married Sarah Robinson.

Several people have written that Greenberry Gatton married Sarah Robinson 8 July 1811 in Muskingum County, Ohio.  Those same people give Greenberry's birth year as 1801.  Problem No. 1 is that he would be ten years old at the time of the marriage.  Since I'm unemployed and living in upstate New York, for an original marriage record the best thing I could do was look for a Sarah in the marriage records for that time period provided online by the Latterday Saints.  I found a Sary LAWISON who married Greenberry CATON on that day.  Problem No. 2 is that Greenberry Caton was a completely different person and his parents are given as Theophilus and Catherine Caton.  At this point I'm not sure of Greenberry Gatton's birth year or location and his wife's name.

A researcher should also try to read the original record instead of the transcription.  This research also provides a good example of that.  The last name of Greenberry Caton's wife was LARISON, not Lawison.  Someone had difficulty reading the last name on the original record when transcribing it.


I've been looking for this woman's father and his father since 1995, seventeen years. This is Margaret Gatton, Albert's daughter.  He died serving in the Union Army during the Civil War, so there was no death certificate.  There were no parents listed on the marriage record.  I'm still not very close.

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