How do the errors grow?
So… there it is, big and bold as brass in The Legal Genealogist‘s database.
Baker, Mary Almira.
Born 2 April 1854 in Iowa to David Davenport Baker and his wife (and half-first-cousin) Mary (Baker) Baker.
Nicely and neatly attributed to a book of family lore that I know darned good and well is chock full of a combination of great information and abymsal errors.1
You’d have thought that perhaps I’d have checked and doublechecked and redoublechecked anything from that book.
You’d have thought that I’d have looked at all the records.
And I thought I had done that before entering that information.
Baker, Mary Almira.
Except that that’s not what the census records say.
In 1860, the family was enumerated in Kickapoo, Leavenworth County, Kansas. Father, mother and seven children. David was shown as a 41-year-old farmer, born in Indiana; Mary was shown as age 51, also born in Indiana. William was shown as age 19, born in Illinois; John as age 18, born in Kansas; and the younger children — Martin, age 16; Susan, age 15; Nancy, age 10; James, age 9; and Martha, age 6 — were shown as born in North Carolina.2
Um… Martha, age 6?
Can’t be right. And, after all, look at all those other mistakes. David and Mary were born in North Carolina where they were married in 1838.3 Most of the kids should have been born in North Carolina or Kentucky, where the family was in 1850.4 They never lived in Indiana or Illinois, weren’t in Kansas in time for John to be born there, and were gone from North Carolina before the youngest were born.
So we’ll just forget that.
In 1865, the Bakers were still in Kansas, enumerated on the state census that year. David age 45, Mary age 59. Children still living at home were John F., 22; Martin A., 21, a soldier in Company A of the 11th Regiment; Nancy, 15; James, 14; and Martha, 11.5
Um… Martha, age 11?
Then in 1870, the family was in Walnut Township, Atchison County, Kansas. David was shown as age 52, a farmer born North Carolina; Mary was 64, born North Carolina. Only two children at home now: James, 18, born Kentucky; and Martha, age 16, born Iowa.6
Um… Martha, age 16?
So… back to the book of family lore to see where in the world the author got the idea that her name was Mary.
And you know what I found, right?
Nicely and neatly recorded with only one tiny little typo?
“Mattha Almira Baker.”7
And we wonder sometimes how these errors creep into family history…
Excuse me, please… I have some database errors to correct.
- Elma W. Baker, The Rugged Trail, Vol. II (Dallas, Texas : Metcalf Printing, 1973). ↩
- 1860 U.S. census, Leavenworth County, Kansas, Kickapoo, population schedule, p. 236 (penned), dwelling 2264, family 1964, David D. Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication M653, roll 350. ↩
- Macon County, North Carolina, Marriage Bond, 1838, David Baker to Mary Baker; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. ↩
- 1850 U.S. census, Pulaski County, Kentucky, population schedule, p. 96 (stamped), dwelling/family 318, David Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication M432, roll 217. ↩
- 1865 Kansas State Census, Leavenworth County, Kansas, 3rd Ward, population schedule, p. 89 (penned), dwelling 407, family 641, David D. Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Apr 2015); citing Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1865 Kansas Territory Census; Roll 5. ↩
- 1870 U.S. census, Atchison County, Kansas, Walnut Twp., population schedule, p. 354(B) (stamped), dwelling/family 29, D D Baker household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Apr 2015); citing National Archive microfilm publication M593, roll 428. ↩
- Baker, The Rugged Trail, Vol. II, at 73. ↩