There are a few reasons that I chose to highlight this tombstone. In all my hijinks into my family history, I have stumbled onto learning how to do certain things. One of the first things I realized is that even official records can be wrong. I’ve also learned that spelling doesn’t matter in the early and late 1800s.
An important thing to remember about tombstones is that they aren’t always accurate. Take the example above. The names are mostly right, spelling mistakes aside. I also need to state that the death years are all correct (hard to get that wrong, right?)
- Ralph (1924-1952): Everything here is correct.
- John (1853-1927): His death certificate states his birth year as 1842. Since John is living in the 1850 census and listed as age 5, either date could be wrong but 1853 is more wrong then 1842.
- Cecilia (1842-1914): I’ve only seen her referred to as Celia or Cela. That could be a shortened nickname but I might never know unless I find her birth record. Her death record also lists her birth date differently. I have 1840 and her age in censuses always matches that.
- Harmon (1872-1952): Everything here is correct too!
- Ivah (1897-1949): Iva’s name has been spelled a million different ways and that’s not including her maiden name (Moyer/Meyer/Myers). Once again I have her death certificate and her birth date is listed as 1894 and not 1897. The 1900 census actually gives her birth date as Sep 1894 too, which is spot on with her death certificate!
So basically what I’m saying is don’t always trust the tombstone. You never know who was giving the information at the time of your ancestor’s burial. In fact, it’s usually the same person giving the information for the death certificate. That’s why I’m so surprised the death certificates and tombstone varies so much here.
In fact, even newer tombstones can be a bit wrong. This is my grandmother’s tombstone inscription. Everything is spot on except the fact that she was actually born on April 13 and not April 15. Oops! Be sure your family knows that they can come to you for correct dates!
Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging theme used by many GeneaBloggers.