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Two Julias

Have you ever looked at your genealogy and wondered, ‘How did I get that?’

That happened to me recently as I was researching the descendants of William Taylor Thompson of Wapello County, Iowa. William had a daughter, Julia. I had found a Wapello County, Iowa marriage record for Julia S Thompson to Edward Bates in 1868. Thus, I was following shaky leaf hints for Julia Thompson Bates.

In the process, I found the Find a Grave memorial for Julia A. Thompson Bates – who died in 1922. But wait, I have Julia Thompson dying before 1887.

So, where did I get the death information? And, is it correct? If so, does this mean I’ve mixed up two different Julia Thompsons?

I got the death date from the biography of W. T. Thompson in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Wapello County, Iowa. That biography lists the nine children of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. This list of children includes ‘Julia is deceased’. Since the book was published in 1887, I concluded that Julia died before 1887. What also is telling from the biography is what it didn’t say about Julia. The name of the spouse is listed for the other daughters – but not for Julia.

After reviewing the biography in relation to the marriage record and Find a Grave record, I concluded that there were TWO Julia Thompsons of approximately the same age living in Wapello County at the same time.

Assuming I did mix-up two Julia Thompsons, I looked for a second Julia Thompson in the 1860 census for Wapello County, Iowa. I found a Juliann Thompson. age 8, in the household of Samuel and Eliza Thompson.

In other words, I likely had mixed up two different people!

Thus, I unlinked Julia Thompson, wife of Edward Bates, from the family of William and Polly (Evans) Thompson. I then added a daughter Julia to the family of William and Polly (Evans) Thompson with a death date prior to 1887. I also added an Identity fact linking the two Julia Thompsons. I use this fact when I have two individuals of the same name that could be the same person – but also might not be.