Search for content in message boards

Determining source accuracy

Determining source accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2012 2:23PM GMT
Classification: Census
Surnames: Dehler
When researching established, legitimate documents, such as the U.S. Census, and the record doesn't match what one believes to be true --- either from family lore or other historical documents --- how does one determine whether the original record-keeper made a mistake or if one just has it all wrong in one's head?
For example, I'm trying to research the Dehler family of Brooklyn, New York, circa 1880s-1960s. Father Lawrence (possibly Lorenz?), mother Rose, eldest daughter Rose, and younger daughter Antonia. There's a US census that's places this family of four with the right ages, right area, right ethnicity --- but "Antonia" is showing as son "Anthony." Do I have the wrong family, or did the census-taker not understand the German accents of the household?

Re: Determining source accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2012 2:51PM GMT
Classification: Query
If there is more right than wrong, I would accept it, especially when the error has such a good explanation. Antonia and Anthony are so close it seems to be a reasonable mistake. I have a Mary that is sometimes seen as Marie, and a David that is sometimes referred to as Davis, but everything else fits.

Re: Determining source accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2012 3:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you for the reassurance and vote of confidence in deductive reasoning. I'm finding it challenging to keep track of the various German, Polish and French names and their interpretations over the decades, although it's an interesting reflection on the unnamed documenter's own inclinations.

Re: Determining source accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2012 5:13PM GMT
Classification: Query
You not only have to worry about the variations in spelling by the census takers, but penmanship as well. And then there are the transcription errors that come from some of the sloppier records. Decorum prevents me from saying outright what some of my Tucker ancestors were transcribed as, but with a little imagination, I'm sure you can figure it out.

When you DO find errors, you have the opportunity to correct them, which will help future researchers. Look on the left side of the transcription under Page Tools and there is a link to provide alternate information.

Re: Determining source accuracy

Posted: 6 May 2012 9:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
I will avail myself of this tool; thank you for suggesting it!
per page

Find a board about a specific topic

  • Visit our other sites:

© 1997-2014 Ancestry.com | Corporate Information | New Privacy | New Terms and Conditions