Grandfather’s tricky heritage
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.