Monday, June 16, 2008

Errors in original documents

I find it fascinating that Mary Curtis' primary biographer, Charlotta Julina Markham Crow, got so many of the ages and other details wrong in her account. Naively, I expected better data considering Mary was her mother.
It appears that even Mary was willing to fudge some of the deatails of her life. When she went through the temple for her own endowments she listed her birthdate as one year earlier. Was there some requirement that she be at least 14? But other records where her birthdate is listed next to her husband also uses the 1831 date instead of 1832. Only when she is listed by herself does the correct 1832 date get used. I have to wonder if she was embarrased at her youth and perhaps even lied to her husband.
This being my first foray into historic research to verify existing family biographies, I'm curious how frequently these errors are made and how many more I have missed.

How do professional researchers (and I know you are out there) deal with this issue?

1 comment:

TomonPar said...

Hello, Bruce! Tom Weeks here (Wong Jeunglouh), remember me? Found your site through a comment you made at Mormanity about serving your mission in Hong Kong. Anyway, would love to get in touch, you can email me at tomonpar (at) gmail (dot) com.