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February 18, 2011

I'm Almost Sad that I'm Right!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post called Who's Your Dadddy It was about my ancestor Betsey Norman who was born circa 1822 in Brixham Devon. An online source (in fact 2 online trees) showed different parents for her than I had. And the online information did have pretty good sourcing for all the material and info on the family.

On checking my genealogy program I saw that I'd never obtained Betsey's marriage certificate to William Henry Williams. So I really couldn't be sure I had the right parents at all! I'd found a baptism record in the Brixham Church records and made the terrible error of assuming it was for MY Betsey!

Baptisms Brixham Devon: Betsy Norman, d/o William & Elizabeth (labourer) 13 Oct 1822

I have not yet found Betsey in the 1841 census but the online tree had her in Barnstaple (I'd have expected to see her in Brixham) as an 18 year old with father Nicholas Norman age 55

I began to doubt myself.  I do have Betsey in the 1851 census:

1851 Census Brixham, Devon. Lower Brixham:
161 Pinkey's Row:
Williams, Betsey, 28, fisherman's wife, b. Brixham
Mary A. dau, 2, b. Brixham
Hannah A. dau. 11 mos. b. Brixham
Jane Weysmouth, 15, visitor, b. Brixham

So I sent for the certificate of marriage from GRO. I'd also noted that the same source who had a different set of parents for Betsey had a different father for her husband, also my ancestor, William Williams.

I was doubting myself big time. But I consoled myself with the thought "Hey, It would be kind of fun to have two entirely new lines to research!"

Well, the certificate came today. And guess what? I was right. Both Betsey and William have the fathers I originally found for them. Betsey's father's name is given as William Norman, not Nicholas Norman as the online Family Tree has. William's father is noted as William Williams, not Richard Williams as given in the same online tree.

Here are the details the marriage record provides:

1847. Marriage solemnized at the Church in the Parish of Brixham in the County of Devon. June 13th. 

William Henry Williams, full age, bachelor, Mariner residing Brixham. Father's name William Williams, Mariner

Betsy Norman, full age, spinster, dressmaker, residing Brixham, Father's name William Norman, Labourer. Married in the Parish Church. 

Witnesses: Sarah Bennett & Sarah Edwards Narramore. William signed an "X" for his mark.

Now to search for Sarah Bennett and Sarah Edwards Narramore and see if I can figure out if they were friends or family!

And I'll have to go and post comments (Corrections) on the two online Family Trees on We'll see how that goes, in the past I've found people reluctant to give up their own ideas even when presented with a definitive source.


Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

This would never make me sad. It would only give me a great sense of satisfaction of a job done right. Post your comments and you are done. Great post!

Kathy Reed said...

Nice to have your research verified. Congratulations.

Carol said...

I'm with Lisa, sense of satisfaction of job well done and completed. YA!!!

Kristin said...

i'm with all of the above. job well done!

Anonymous said...

Love it when things come together to verify a relationship. I see so many trees on Ancestry that just use each other as sources, I'm often hesitant to even look at them. If I can't source it, it didn't happen. Great work!

Greta Koehl said...

Ha - I think I actually understand your sadness - having a whole new line to research is so much fun! But - it is also great to have your research and conclusions confirmed.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Greta, you got it! I was almost sad because I would have liked the thrill of searching new lines! But at the same time, I was pleased that I was right originally and that I was able to find the proof. Because in the end it is the truth that's important - it doesn't matter if we are right or wrong as we make the journey. We just need to keep striving for the truth.

twigdust said...

Ancestry is great, but it is disconcerting to find your own records quoted as the sole source of many other users records. It is also disconcerting to follow a hint and find that there is no factual or cited basis for the hint.
All Ancestry trees can and should be is a guide for research. More than 90% of users fail to document their sources but it doesn't follow that they are wrong. Use this information, verify it with your own research and like the author of this blog you will have the satisfaction of KNOWING you are right.

Anonymous said...

That's why I like WeRelate. In a wiki environment, you can collaborate and come up with the best research, not have to rely upon someone being willing to correct something. ~~ Amy

Anonymous said...

I was so sad that i was wrong but after going back and verifing information i found that she was right.
My great great grandfathr had a brother they each had a daughter born the same year, they gave them both the same name and both moved to the same town in Texas One of the girls died after giving birth to her daughter, the daughter was given to an aunt to raise as the father already had several young boys to take care of. The daughter never appeared on any of the census with the family. So I assumed her mother was my grandmothers sister instead of her cousin, until i was contacted by a reseacher on Ancestry who had different information. After verifing it, I changed my tree and now know it has correct information for any of my distant releatives that are looking for sources. We have to be willing to change as verified information is presented.