It’s important to remember that all of the documents we see are subject to human error! Everybody is doing their very best but we all make mistakes and some may not have been corrected. Church records were predominantly used by the clergy and the people whose data was being recorded might not even have seen them.
Take these two Siddal records, for example:
Records vs Census?
Records are only as good as the memories of the people who gave the details. Especially with records of death: the person’s child would often give the information. You might not know your parent’s exact age in days when dates of birth were not used so often as they are now. Where there is a conflict between death records and census returns I have taken more notice of the census.
John Ward Jnr gave me some hours of indecision and fruitless searching:
Weighing up the evidence
Occasionally there could be a major mistake that has gone uncorrected: this I believe is what happened in the case of Ann Forkes‘ daughter Mary Raven. The record of her baptism says that Samuel Raven was her father, but this is the only reference to him that I have been able to find.
I have found, however, a John Raven married to Ann Forkes and I believe they are Mary’s parents. The evidence is circumstantial, but these other records have convinced me that she is the sister of Rebecca and Harriet, John’s daughters:
· In 1831 Rebecca Raven witnessed Mary’s marriage – the Rebecca born to John and Ann in 1812?
· In 1833 James Ward, Mary’s husband, witnessed Rebecca’s marriage
· In the 1841 census, James and Mary Ward (nee Raven) have a Harriet Raven with them. She is the right age to be John and Ann’s daughter.
I could, of course, be totally wrong. They may be cousins and I’ve missed the point completely – but we’re all subject to human error!