Genealogy messes with my mind…

So I am chasing down this rabbit hole, and I hit the end of a chain connections to find a person with a totally unrelated name being referred to as the expected name. It would be bad enough if this kind thing were rare or unusual, but it is very nearly the norm in my research. Every frigging document I find about a person says “Benjamin”, except one, which says Murphy Benjamin, and Murphy is the only name used by the passel of genealogists working this branch of family tree.

And then there are the weird things. Couple marry, have a bunch of kids, almost all of whom die in early childhood, except a couple daughters who naturally marry early and move on. So in late middle age the couple foster a boy who they apparently adopt and who cares for them through their old age. Kind a cool. Except the only place I find his birth name is a single census when he is 7 years old, while a bunch of other people have all kinds of conflated people with his birthname, like his widow.

Basically I distrust all amateur genealogists, including the person who works on my GEDs. I keep finding spots where I assumed some data from someone was accurate without verifying the sources, and it was not. I also find original contemporary documents with errors. A typo in a form from 1942 that somehow appears in an obituary forty years later, and nowhere else.

And names change. A baptismal document shows a name spelt one way, the Vital Records shows an Americanized spelling. A first appearance in the census has a diminutive which never appears again – a family nickname the child outgrew?

Time to take a break and go blow up virtual things.