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Hijacked – Same Name Issues

In your genealogical research, have you researched people of the same name? Have you found it challenging to separate those individuals of the same name? I know that in my research, I have encountered a lot of ‘same names’.

This experience has helped me look at my current research and question whether I’m working with records for the same person. Yesterday while working Ancestry hints for William Crawford, son of the William Crawford who was in Madison County Kentucky prior to 1800,

Since I didn’t have much information on the son, William, I wasn’t sure the will was for the correct William. Thus, I wanted to see whether the family in the will matched what other researchers had for William Crawford. So, I turned to the tree on FamilySearch.

That’s when it got very confusing! The family for William Crawford matched the family in the will. The death date for William Crawford on the FamilySearch tree matched the death date I had in my file: 1855. However, there were a lot of sources attached that didn’t seem to match. This included a link to a William Crawford on Find a Grave with a death date in 1862 and several sources for Maryland records. Thus, it appears that the FamilySearch William Crawford, son of William Crawford of Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri, was ‘hijacked’ by someone researching a William Crawford of Maryland.

Why do I suspect that two different William Crawford men have been combined?

  • A preponderance of records put the father in Kentucky prior to his move to Missouri
  • No records have been found placing the father in Maryland
  • The date of the will supports a death date in 1855 and not in 1862
  • The will was found in Pope County, Arkansas and not in Maryland
  • The will identifies 5 daughters: Janes (Whitenburg), Nanch (Heneford), Matilda (Willis), Betsy (Logan) and Sally (Logan) which matches the family on FamilySearch
  • No sons are mentioned in the will

To correct the record for William Crawford on FamilySearch, I added the will as a source. I also ‘detached’ the Maryland records. A discussion was added to hopefully prevent future confusion between the William Crawford of Arkansas and the William Crawford of Maryland.
To help me avoid creating such confusion, I decided to review what lessons I could learn from others about researching people of the same name. Thus, I consulted the following articles.

My ‘same name’ battle is not over. Thus, I will have to remain aware that I, myself, might be mixing up records for different people of the same name.