Ancestry Errata – Drat the Rats

titleonlywidgetYum-yum CROW! We here, must admit to publishing two doses of bad data. They have been corrected on their respective posts “Our Anecdotal Jewishness” and “Alexander Ancestry: The Great Wall of Margaret”

We can be acutely aware of an underlying hazard that might lead to reading an item incorrectly and go on to perceive it wrongly anyway. The case in point was Norway’s record of emigration for our grandfather and his sister: in pen, 8/11, 1887.1 They sailed in November. We had set their sail in August. North American bias. On checking now, we seemed to have limited this twist, to this particular data point.

The writer caught this one, albeit, after the fact. The source had been re-visited to confirm and structure the citation. Nothing registered. A little after the post was submitted, when in mindless relaxation, the muse came “how come the find was at the end of the file?” The red-face hit: nitwit! The event had happened at the end of the year.

Dear cousin Matt caught this next one. It was a simple typo that said 1976, whereas our Granny died in 1979. September 30, to be exact, and an indelibly sad day.2 We want to remember every moment she gave us.  

We must keep aware that even our re-proofing eyes can betray us, once our mind has declared truth to an inconsistency and also suspend our proofing efforts when we find ourselves in gazing-haze.

The issue then becomes how best to disclose the blunder and separately, an assessment of how the story line may have been impacted.


We have preserved errors in all their glory in the long precedent of print publishing.  We sent the fix later, in the form of “Errata”. At least there was a notice that something had changed.

Now we can freely change our posts and hit “update”. Our changes show internally, but we should post Errata, when we correct erroneous electronic elements and also identify the posts of shame.  


Luckily here, the story line of neither post was impacted. The first post was not about Granddad or his sister, rather, about their mother. The second was not about Granny, instead, about those who came before her.

Obviously though, errors impact those who pick up a bad sector and use it. We must always be skeptical, think about what makes sense and seek additional proof.


Many a truth is outed upon failure, sometimes in the form of another story.  In Grandfather’s case, “Dear Granddad: If Only November were August” will answer “why were children ticketed alone, for the fierce Atlantic in the dread of winter”? It will soon follow this “Errata” admission.

Will apology to readers, doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness. 

Articles published by Double Genealogy: the Adoption Witness on this site are © 2018-2019 Marilee Wein

Notes and Sources

1 The National Archives of Norway, the Digital Archives Trondheim politikammer: Emigrantprotokoll VII 03.07-22.03, 1885-1888// SAT/A-1887/1/32/L007 (1887 for Henriette and Mathias Olsen)

2 Royal BC Museum:  BC Div. Vital Statistics Death Registrations (1872-1997) Registration 1979-09-014656 for Margaret N Hemmingsen.

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