While building the Jeffrey Ferris lineage, I see a wide variety of other people’s work. Most are excellent but I do see a number of easily avoidable errors.
That’s not my pa!
One common error that I see the the placement of a child or children with a mother and father where one or both cannot possibly be their parent. A child with a birth date that is two or three years after the date of death for their father is an error of some sort. Either the death date is wrong, the birth date is wrong or that child does not belong with that parent.
Carved in stone
I give a lot of credence to the dates on tombstones. I figure that the family members who know the deceased best would get it right. I do see some misreading of tombstones, 5s mistaken for 6s, etc. In most cases, the author has not visited the stone but is relying on a photo that someone else took. The photo may be imperfect, or, at times, the author’s read of the photo is wrong.
How old was your ma?
I sometimes see children assigned to mothers or fathers that were far too young to have given birth. It is very unlikely that mom or dad was ten when the child was born.
What an old fart!
One persistent error in the Ferris lineage has an individual living to over 110 years of age. Pretty sure that is wrong. I have treated it as two men with the same name, father and son. There are a very few centenarians in the lineage but none over 101 years of age or so.
They called him Sue!
Lots of times, we find a person with a first name and a middle initial. In an effort to be complete, and to differentiate the person from others with the same name, a complete middle name is needed. There are a vast number of William H. Ferrises.
The problem is guessing. When I do, I first look at mom’s maiden name. In the 18th and 19th century, men often adopted mom’s maiden name as a middle name. It is likely that, if mom was a Holt, that William Holt is correct and William Hubert is not. I can be wrong with this kind of guess but the odds favor me.
I married my cousin
Yes, there are Ferris men who married Ferris women. The problem is that many of the wives listed as Ferris are not… The tombstone reads Mary Ferris, her married name. Or, adding the wife through census records results in her being identified as Mary Ferris. She’s not.
There are a number of sets of twins in the lineage. They have the same birth date. There are no siblings that are born four months apart, ever. One or both of the dates are wrong or one child is with the wrong parents.
Use Common Sense
All of the above problems can be avoided using a little common sense. Check your dates and ages and names. One of the reasons that we build these family trees is to tell the story, the accurate story.