We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about our pasts.
Yet sometimes records have anomalies.
Some are amusing or humorous.
Some are interesting or weird.
Some are peculiar or suspicious.
Some are infuriating, even downright laughable.
Yes, “Records Say the Darnedest Things.”
Records Say the Darnedest Things: Sometimes They Lie
The National Archives recently revealed that a noted Lincoln scholar jump-started his career by changing the date on a pardon signed by Abraham Lincoln.
Thomas Lowry changed the date from April 14, 1864 to April 14, 1865. The new date suggested that Lowry had discovered the last document Lincoln ever signed previous to his assassination.
We don’t like to think that anyone can be dishonest. But sometimes original records are tampered with. You must follow genealogical best practices: Always find multiple sources evidencing a conclusion. Always investigate dissenting evidence. Because sometimes records say the darnedest things.
For more information, see:
“National Archives Discovers Date Change on Lincoln Record,” National Archives(www.archives.gov : dated 24 January 2011), The Press > Press Releases.
Matthew Barakat, “Virginia Historian Denies Tampering with Lincoln Pardon,” pjstar.com : Powered by the Journal Star (www.pjstar.com : posted 25 January 2011, accessed 2 February 2011).
Lisa Rein, “Lincoln Pardon to be Pulled,” The Washington Post, website (www.washingtonpost.com : dated 27 January 2011, accessed 2 February 2011).