Grand­fa­ther’s tricky her­itage

Reminisce - - Spotlight - BY DEB­BIE KYSER • EN­TER­PRISE, AL

My fam­ily tree now in­cludes more than

14,000 names, but I al­ways got stuck on my fa­ther’s an­ces­tors. Dad, who died

20 years ago, told me that his fa­ther, whom we called Lit­tle Daddy, didn’t know his pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents.

How­ever, he thought their names were James and Hen­ri­etta Her­ring, so I en­tered them into that branch of my fam­ily tree.

Mean­while, other fam­ily mem­bers had used cen­sus records in er­ror to add other house­hold mem­bers. Af­ter re­search­ing for years, I still couldn’t match the names from their tree to what my fa­ther had told me.

Then one day, I found the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate of James and Hen­ri­etta Her­ring from an­other con­trib­u­tor on An­ces­try.com. That tree con­tin­ues in a dif­fer­ent direc­tion, but the tid­bit of in­for­ma­tion cleared up a lot of ques­tions and pointed me to the source of con­fu­sion.

I be­lieve my grand­fa­ther’s grand­fa­ther ac­tu­ally lived with his older brother. But in­stead of be­ing iden­ti­fied as sib­lings, the two men were as­sumed to be fa­ther and son, an easy mis­take given they were far apart in age and had the same sur­name.

My take­away from that ex­pe­ri­ence: A cen­sus record that shows an older and a younger per­son with the same last name in the same house­hold isn’t a guar­an­tee the two are par­ent and child. In­stead of pre­sum­ing, look for other ver­i­fi­ca­tion to prove the re­la­tion­ship.

FRANKLIN PORTER HER­RING,Deb­bie’s grand­fa­ther, was also known as Lit­tle Daddy.

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