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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Virginia: Carroll County

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Problem w/Carroll Co tombstone readings - Joshua SUMNER as example
Posted by: Diana Gale Matthiesen (ID *****0513) Date: March 19, 2009 at 05:02:19
  of 763

I would like to call your attention to an unfortunate situation with regard to the tombstone readings of Carroll County, Virginia, as submitted to the archives of USGenWeb. The problem is that the file in the archive is not a verbatim reading of the stones, but a heavily annotated version of them. The compiler has added parents and spouses to the readings, with no indication that this is added information. The reason it's so unfortunate is that he's made some serious errors. For example, these two stones:

0903 SUMNER, Joshua No Dates
F: William Sumner
M: Catherine (Edwards) Sumner
W: Sarah E (Edwards) Edwards

0904 SUMNER, Sarah E ?Sallie? (Edwards) No Dates
F: Elisha Edwards
M: Agnes A Edwards
H: 1st James Curren Edwards
2nd Joshua Sumner

The 1900 census shows Joshua born in Jan 1822, but the Joshua SUMNER who was son of William SUMNER & Catherine EDWARDS is said to have been born 23 Aug 1821. While it's not uncommon for the census to be in error as to the year of birth, it's usually correct as to the month. So, were these really Joshua's parents?

Joshua married twice, first ca. 1943 to Sarah DAVIS and second ca. 1892 to Mrs. Sarah L. (nee ?) EDWARDS, whose middle intial may be the first letter of her maiden name, not her middle name, so either woman could be "Sarah E."

Joshua is found with his first wife in the 1850 thru 1880 censuses, then appears in the 1900 census with his second wife. Joshua SUMNER is not found in the 1910 census, so he presumably died before 1910. Sarah SUMNER is not found in 1910, either, so either she died, too, or she remarried.

Without dates, there is no obvious way to tell whether the Sarah E. buried next to Joshua is his first wife or his second. It matters which because, if it's his second wife, she cannot be the woman who married James Curren EDWARDS because that woman married last ca. 1908 to Andrew Jackson CARRICO and died after 1910 as Sarah *CARRICO*. So, the Sarah buried next to Joshua has to be either Sarah (DAVIS) SUMNER or Sarah (__?__) SUMNER. She *cannot* be Sarah (EDWARDS) EDWARDS CARRICO.

For more details, please see this family group sheet at my web site:

The bottom line here is the lesson that all original records, including the information recorded on tombstones, should be extracted and reported *verbatim*, with nothing changed an nothing added. Any annotations to the reading of the record should be clearly labeled as such.

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