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Monday, October 30, 2017
Family History Month: The "M" That Wasn't
My brain was out to lunch the day I found "Maggie" Steiner's marriage to Mr. Sutherland. They were married on November 2, 1884, in Wyandot county, Ohio, where other Steiner relatives lived. Maggie was hubby's great-great aunt, not very close, so I wasn't planning to spend a lot of time researching her and her family.
The transcription/index of their marriage said the groom was "Morris M. Sutherland." A really quick look at the righthand side of the original document* (above) seemed to confirm that, so I typed in Morris and moved along.
That was then, this is now: I've been linking more and more of my husband's Steiner ancestors in Find A Grave, part of my Genealogy Go-Over. But I was stumped about this couple's death dates and burial places. No Morris to be found. Huh?
Retracing my research, I brought up the image of their marriage record. This time, I looked carefully at each instance of his name, which appears three times on the document.
Two of the three times, he's named "Norris M. Sutherland." Only on the right side is he called "Morris." Ooops.
As soon as I changed my search to "Norris M. Sutherland," he and Maggie popped up all over the place. I've submitted edits to Find A Grave, linking her to her parents and to her spouse's real name, Norris.
Lesson learned: Read the original thoroughly the first time, carefully, to save time later. And resolve any conflicts the first time, by double-checking with other records and sources.
*You always look at the original when the image is available, right? Don't trust the transcription or index alone. Here, I looked at the original but only for a moment--so don't make my mistake. Examine the original with care!