Short answer – not always.
As I was working on my latest project – inputting all of my sources and claims into Evidentia – I ran across a “transcription” of Louis P. Lanctot’s (my paternal great grandfather) obituary that was done by my great aunt, who was viewed as the family historian until her death in 2009. Fortunately, I had also obtained a copy of the obituary from the South Dakota State Archives.
As I read through her “transcribed” version of the obituary, I noted a glaring discrepancy. Here is her version:
Here is the original:
Now – I’ve never heard of a brother named William. He never appears with the family in a census or on any other record that I have found (there was a brother named Leo, but he died about 10 years earlier). Apparently, my great aunt noticed the same thing because she just decided to leave that part out.
There are two lessons to be learned here:
First, if you can get your hands on the original (or as close to the original as you can get), DO IT!
Second – and most importantly – we cannot change the evidence to fit what we believe – we have to follow the evidence where it leads us, and resolve any conflicts along the way. Clearly, this is conflicting information and it must be either confirmed or refuted. Either way, I have to deal with it somehow. I think “negative evidence” and I are going to become BFFs in the near future.Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com
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