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I know this is old news to anyone conducting genealogical research; the trouble with transcribing names written in elaborate handwriting in a census or other source, or even worse—-relying on a printed index based on someone else’s transcriptions! But in my family, there is one specific ancestor who was a victim of mis-transcription so frequently, I thought it was worth a post. Maybe even a laugh, now that the frustration has worn off.

The ancestor is George Thornton Golden, and the “T” is the culprit.

1850 Census: appears in household of Jesse Golden as “Thornton” (note this record is indexed as “Goldon”

1850auglaize.jpg

1851 Marriage license of Geo “T” to Julia

georgemarriage.jpg

1860 Census: listed as George “T” (or is that a “P”? It’s indexed as “P” on Ancestry.com)

1860_auglaize.jpg

1870 Census: listed as “Thonton”

1870auglaize.jpg

1880 Census: listed as “Geo”

1880auglaize.jpg

1900 Census: listed as George “T” (looks a lot like an “F”?)1900auglaize.jpg

Death record listed as George “L”

georgedeath.jpg

Obituary listed as George “F” (but luckily indexed as George “T” by the library). The obituary brings us back to his father, Jesse.

georgeobit.jpg

His tombstone, next to that of Jesse, says “Geo T”, with “Julie” on the other side. Unfortunately I don’t have a better picture of this stone—I will need to try to get one.

georgegrave.jpg

He is named as “G.T.” in his father’s obituary, not named in his mother’s.  So, we don’t have a single source that states his full name as George Thornton! His full name has to be inferred from the various sources. Luckily, he and Julia had 8 children, which helps in aligning the census records, in addition to the fact that there are no other George Goldens in Ohio of his age, and no other George Goldens in Auglaize County.

The moral of the story—don’t trust everything you read!

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Here is an amazing experience, one I wouldn’t believe if it hadn’t happened to me. Two years ago I traveled to a small town in Ohio, hoping to find the grave of my GGGG-Grandfather and those of other ancestors. The area is still rural and very beautiful, with slight rolling hills of green fields. I had a map with tiny graveyards marked by squares, but one of them was not visible from the road, and I couldn’t figure out if I was lost, or if it was actually behind someone’s house or in a field. We stopped to ask a woman out working in her yard if she had heard of the graveyard we were searching for, and she said she didn’t know, but to ask the people across the street because they had lived in the area for many years. I walked over and knocked at the door. The woman was home, and though she looked a little suspiciously at this stranger asking about graveyards, she asked me who I was looking for. “Burkes and Goldens” I replied, and she said-“you are from my husband’s family”. (more…)

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