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17 December 2008

Those "Wrong" Places May be Clues

In a 1900 census enumeration, several of my great-grandmother's children indicated that their mother was born in Ohio. This seemed completely off the wall to me. All extant records provided Illinois as her place of birth and that place of birth was consistent with when her parents arrived in Illinois. No other record provided a place of birth of Ohio.

I almost wrote off "Ohio" as a census taker's goof.

It wasn't quite that.

Further research located information that the parents of the ancestor had immigrated from Germany, but actually met and married in Ohio before settling in Illinois. The daughter was born in Illinois, but her parents had lived in Ohio for approximately six months after their marriage and the ancestor was their firstborn child. Perhaps this is why some accidentally thought she was born in Ohio.

Sometimes our ancestors lie, but sometimes incorrect information answers questions we have not even gotten around to asking.

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