Genealogy is a lot like working puzzles. We only get the full picture when everything fits together. Citing sources is our proof that the pieces fit, it helps us remember where we got the information and it is the proof that the information is correct. Tonight, as I was doing a little more research on my Leader line, I came across this, on not one, but two different trees on Ancestry.com. Since Elizabeth Leader is in my family line, this interested me.
This is the page from a family tree that references Elizabeth.
Notice the death information. She died in 1872. That is verifiable. Her source citation references the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedule. Those accompanied census data, and we all know that U.S. census’ were taken every ten years, and not in years ending in 2′s.
Second and third mistakes in this citation would be her name and where she died. If she married Oliver McCullough in 1828, her surname was no longer Leader, right? and if she died in North East, Maryland, why would she appear on the Mortality schedule for Bedford County, Pennsylvania? Bedford, Pennsylvania is 200 miles from North East, via the interstate today and takes almost 4 hours to travel.
These puzzle pieces really belonged in two different boxes. The owners of the trees have their puzzles all mixed up!