This is why we all need Trained Genealogists. To keep us hobists in line.
This would be why my posting came with a Disclaimer notice that I had no documentation.
How should we handle hypothetical trees? Those "what if" tangents that should be explored, if for no other reason than to rule them out as possibilities?
Sometimes, there are family issues that aren't properly documented, that are nonetheless true. Two of my own grandfathers couldn't seem to keep their names straight, changing the order of first and middle names or using first name on some documents and middle name on others to the point where I don't really know what was their "first" and what was their "middle" name. My mother, aunts, father-in-law, and several aunt-in-laws didn't use the "first" names on their birth certificates. Some of them "went by" names that were not even close to what was documented. From listening to my Mother and every one of her living relatives pronounce the name, I would have sworn that it was Magarr, and never would have guessed to spell it McGarrah. And, by the way, I didn't know my McGarrah Grandmother's "first" name either until I was at her funeral (there was no birth certificate when she was born, she applied for it when she was going to get Social Security).
How often did men leave a wife (still married) and go off with another wife to start a new life "out West" or "Back East"? I do know for a fact that one of my great-grand-fathers (a Hine/Hines) did just that about 1880. We're still trying to find out where he came from and where he went to. Was his name even Hine to begin with? Did he keep it when he married the new wife? How many cousins do I have out there that I've never met? And besides that, my father and his sister (the ninth and tenth children of a family) are frequently left out of their family tree because a geneaology book was published during the year after the eighth child's birth. How do I correct that kind of lack of documentation? I've always got people trying to correct my tree. But, I know for a fact that those last two children were just as much a part of the family as the first eight.
Not to say that there aren't "family stories" that are completely fabricated fiction. Has anyone straighted out the "Rebecca-the-indian" that married Ellis Graham in the Martin family tree? I've had a heck of a time finding out anything either way, and had pretty much discarded it. (I could insert lots of stories here to prove both sides, both ways.)
The point is, we are searching, in our own admittedly amateurish fashion, in the best way we know how.
Yes, maybe we should hire a professional. What is the cost of that compared to an online site subscription? And where's the fun in that? My intent is to collect as much information as I can, and then go out into the world, as time and money permits, to track down those documents in person.
Please forgive us where we go astray.
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