Beware New Brunswick Marriage Records

+10 votes
147 views

I have found two instances of errors in New Brunswick marriage records, in record images from the Provincial Archives.  One is from 1923 and the other from 1945, and in both cases a father's name was recorded as "John" despite being Moses Henry or George Whitfield.  Unfortunately, in both cases the child's marriage record was the only source used to create the parent's profile.  Other errors on these records led to incorrect parents' surnames.

I want to emphasize that these are not transcription errors.  The handwritten records themselves contain the errors.  Besides casting suspicion on these marriage records in general, these cases highlight the dangers of building a profile based on a single source, especially when that source relates to someone other than the profile subject.

Please see:

Alberta (Young) Flemming  and Adrian Llewellyn Ingraham.

in Genealogy Help by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (692k points)

4 Answers

+11 votes
Include Research Notes explaining the differences or someone will try to change things.
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (558k points)
+10 votes
It’s not just New Brunswick and it’s not just marriage records. Records like these are created by clerks given information by others. Census records, too. My mother hated her first name. My paternal grandmother hated her first name. Neither of them can be found in public records using their birth first names. My paternal grandmother’s headstone does not have her birth first name. Let’s not forget the ‘helpful’ immigration officers who, in the 19th and 20th centuries, anglicized names so they coul be pronounced in the US.

Bottom line: verify everything! Don’t trust a source unless you can verify it. Oh, and it’s not just names. A paternal great great grandfather rarely gave the same answer as to his date of birth to census takers.

WikiTree help has given similar advice about sources and which kind are more likely to be reliable. Linda is right. Explain what you’ve done. Others may not change what you’ve done if you’re lucky, but do you really want to send them down a rabbit hole?
by Jerry Regan G2G2 (2.5k points)
+4 votes
It’s not just NB- Every record has the potential to be wrong, no matter what province it comes from. I can’t tell you how many records I have come across that are incorrect.

These clerks are simply inputting information they were told, doesn’t mean it’s correct.
by Elizabeth Godon G2G6 (6.1k points)
+2 votes
Ditto to what the others have said.  I particularly don't like census records.  My vision is some non-high school graduate walking around a town in the rain going door to door to collect information ... yikes.  And the folks they're talking to giving bogus information.  Now, I'm sure there were lots and lots of good census takers but I don't think you can trust the process or the givers of that information.
by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by Bob Jewett

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