Monday, May 25, 2015

Mystery Monday - Beware of those bible pages!

As genealogists, we are often overjoyed to find a bible record, because now all of our questions will be answered on a particular family. SO overjoyed we read things that aren't there or worse take the information that is there at face value. Sometimes simple math should tell us something is a miss.

"What did I find?" you ask, well it's a child who wasn't really a child! WHAT????

Okay here goes.

Years ago, I found the bible record of my great-great grandparents, William Easton Shofner and Margret Belle Wright. Among the water stained pages of this bible is a listing titled "children of W E & Marget B Shofner below". Down the left side of the list are the numbers 1 through 10. Starting with number 8 the children are:

Edy E Shofner born october ? 1886
loyd E Shofner born may 27 1888
Charly W Shofner born January 10 1887

The first time I looked at this page, I remember thinking the water damage sure had taken its toll on the dates, but I tried reading them to the best of my ability. So in my genealogy program I put the above 1886, 1888 and 1887 dates. Now I know you're thinking, "but Deb they are out of order!" Yeah, I "see"! Hindsight being 20/20, that should have been my 1st red-flag.

But I still put Charly in my database as a child of William and Margret because I believed the bible.

So then as we always do, I went looking for more information. I sent off for his Civil War pension file to see what goodies IT would show me.

William E Shofner Civil War pension file page dated 1898

Among other goodies in his pension was this page dated May 4 1898 and "signed by William E Shofner him Self"

As it clearly shows William and Margret have 8 living children. #8 being Charley W Shofner.....same as the above bible

William E Shofner Civil War pension file page dated 1915
Then another page from the same pension file dated 1915:

When I first received the pension file I just went blowing through the pages and took this as another listing of their children.

But NOW of course if we count the children we find....Mariah 1...William H 2.....John H 3....Mary E 4.....Robert W 5.....Crisey B 6.....Miney W 7......Edy E 8......Louyed? E 9.....

Wait...what? ONLY 9 children...... What about good ole Charley W where did he go? Aw how sad OBVIOUSLY his father forgot to list him....Hey you know with sooo many children surely one or two will get lost in the woodwork a time or two.

Now once I actually NOTICED the difference I went relooking at all of the other documents I have on him.....

Most of them did not help with this questions, but this is the one that made the light bulb go off - the 1900 Campbellsville, Taylor County Kentucky census:
William and Margret Shofner in 1900 Taylor County Kentucky
OH YEAH NOW I see Margret has 9 children born to her with 7 of them living!

Of course this is the census record that also sent me off on the search to find out something about the Charles W Greenwell listed as a grandchild which resulted in this posting.

Well, I will not admit how many YEARS it took me to see that the birth date of Charly W Shofner (from the bible record) and the birth date of Charles W Greenwell (as listed on WWI Draft registration card and his tombstone) were the same....Jan 10 1887....thus making me realize that the Charly W listed in the bible record is not in actuality a child.


Ok so the questions have to be asked.....Why put Charles/Charly in the bible record as a child in the first place if he is a grandchild? Why then tell the pension bureau in 1898 that he is a child but in 1900 tell the census taker that he is a grandchild? Then in 1915 tell the pension bureau the true list of children?

I know all of these questions will probably never get answered but one can always hope.

Lastly, beware of the bible pages. Sometimes they are too good to be true!

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again ;)

1 comment:

  1. I did enjoy it! And I learned from it. Thank you for sharing it. I've included your post in my Noteworthy Reads post for this week:



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