There are all sorts of silly pranks that are done on April 1st. And it got me to thinking, have any of my ancestor’s played practical jokes on me? You know, left clues in strange places. Or falsified documents. Or anything that made you sigh and start talking aloud to yourself when you found it?
My 3rd great grandfather was Charlton Wallace and his wife was Martha Jane Cash. Now I know that Martha Jane Cash was the daughter of Ready Cash. (Yes, really, that was the name he went by.) But who was Charlton’s father? Now I searched and searched and finally dug up a marriage record where William Wallace signed for him.
It didn’t state the relationship between Charlton and Wallace, but it seems like a pretty good clue. But that document took me a few years to find. And that name was right under my nose all along if I had just bothered to look for it!
When I searched for records of Ready, I found him in 1840. Right where I expected him.
Do you think I took the time to look at the next page? I did not. Do I even have to tell you who was on the top of that next page and probably a neighbor of Ready? You know it was William Wallace.
And if I had looked right away, I would have had a really good candidate for Charlton’s father! I felt pretty foolish when I found that a few years later. Lesson learned: Always look at the preceding page and the next page on a census!
All right, which ancestor made a fool out of you? Time to fess up!
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.