Don’t believe FamilySearch if …

Recently, I received an email from FamilySearch saying they created a special memorial page for my family where I could, as they say, “view your ancestors’ headstones and celebrate the lives of your loved ones.”

Family Search 'Special Memorial' Page Email

Family Search ‘Special Memorial’ Page Email

Since William James Townsend is my Civil War ancestor that I have completed a One Name Study on, I was intrigued.

I clicked on “See My Ancestors’ Headstones” and saw this welcome page.

FamilySearch Campaign Ancestors Headstones

There is William and a man named Edward Bangs.

WAIT, WHAT!?!? Who is Edward? How is he related to me?

If the FamilySearch tree is to be believed, then Edward is a grandfather of mine 14 generations back.

FamilySearch Campaign Ancestors Headstones

Portion of relationship from myself to Edward Bangs

There’s just one problem.

  • I have established and documented the relationships between myself and Sarah Burr Sherwood (b. 1880 in Connecticut).
  • I have established the relationship with her mother Deborah Burr. Sadly, the family connections break down a bit.
  • The documentation seems sketchy regarding the relationship of Deborah to the father Capt. George Burr.
  • Why is there suddenly is a last name change from George Burr to his father David Crosby?

I can not fully establish the relationship of Deborah Burr (FS id LH5F-LZH) to a potential father Capt. George Burr and mother Mabel Wakeman.

George would have been 47 at Deborah’s birth with Mabel being 41. Those ages are not entirely unheard of. However, I’m focused on folks in Columbus, Ohio and I am not ready to explore New England research in the 1700s. So, I let it be.

A quick review of Capt. George Burr (FS id L434-54Q) shows, as of this printing, that he has two sets of parents:

  • Andrew Burr and Sarah Sturges and
  • David Crosby and an unnamed wife.

David Crosby (FS id LZ63-GKR) has 16 children of which, George is the only one with the last name of Burr.

David has 6 marriage relationships, many with unknown spouses. He also has multiple parental links.

Under the alternate names section, Crosby is spelled numerous ways and David became Lemuel!

Do you want to talk about HEADACHE?

The problems from that point backward to Capt Edward Bangs continue to make my head spin.

I’m not touching this tree segment with a 3 foot pole (or a longer one). I won’t begin to believe it either.

This David lives during the 1700-1760s in the New England area, with few records available to review.

At the bottom of the Ancestor Headstone memorial page, I’m asked “Did you enjoy discovering these headstones?”

Honestly? No.

  1.  No other stones were corralled onto this. There are other stones online. Why have these not been pulled to the memorial page?
  2. The inaccuracies of the ‘junk’ on FamilySearch (and elsewhere for that matter) hurt my head and makes me want to scream. How easy it is for inexperienced FamilySearch users to think, “Oh, I have an early American ancestor” when in actuality, the validity of the relationship from me to this supposed ancestor is full of gigantic errors.
  3. The whole memorial campaign doesn’t make any sense to me. Why was this created? Why have FamilySearch engineers spent time developing this if more information (compliant #1) doesn’t populate and the overall purpose of this kind of page is unclear?

I hope someday someone can help me understand the origins of Sarah Burr Sherwood and her mother Deborah from Connecticut who are documented early settlers of Richland County, Ohio. Until I’m much older and let my gray start showing, I’m going to leave this branch alone.

If I attempted to tackle the problem now, I would speed up the graying and aging process while I still have my five children in the home.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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