Watch out for that leaf is a great tool. Their commercials seem to imply that all you have to do is enter a few names and Presto Magico your entire genealogy will unfold with the touch of a leaf. This is as naive as my belief, when I was a wizened sage of 17 and just starting my genealogical pursuits, that all the records were on file, birth certificates, marriage records, death certificates, etc. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Granted there are many researchers of high caliber willing to share. There are, however, significant problems with some of the information that others upload. Information can be inaccurate and is usually unsourced. Unsourced information is actually better for researchers who know enough not to accept everything given to them as fact, just because someone says it is so. The more dangerous error is when sources are attributed to an event that aren’t really about that event.

For example, the Thomas Crawford of McMinn County, Tennessee who married Priscilla Barnett. If I click on the leaf in my FamilyTreeMaker next to the name of Thomas Crawford, born in Virginia, whose wife’s name is not yet known to us, I get a links to trees which suggest that he is the son of Samuel Crawford and Nancy Forgey, some skip the Priscilla Barnett as wife part altogether.  My information and that of other researchers indicates that the Thomas Crawford, who was married to Priscilla Barnett, was born in 1788 in Tennessee or South Carolina and died in McMinn County, Tennessee in 1839. This would make it highly unlikely that he would be alive and enumerated in Itawamba County, MS. Thus, Thomas Crawford of Tennessee could not have been the Thomas Crawford who fathered Meeky Crawford Evans and others.

Which brings up Meeky Crawford Evans. Meekey, possibly Mary Ann, Crawford is presumed to be a daughter of Thomas as she is living near him in the Federal Census for 1850 of Itawamba County, MS. Thus she could not have been the Mary Crawford enumerated in Lowndes County in 1860, with a different husband and different children.

All of this could possibly happened because one person got a leaf, then merged and before checking the facts and the sources. Moral to the story watch out for that leaf.



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