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: Darned Indexes!
An index or other textual derivative may not always represent what a record actually says. Take this example.
Travis Roach married Juanita Hardy on 7 August 1941 in Jackson County, Oklahoma, right? That’s what the index says.1
Wrong! This license was canceled; no marriage took place.2
Should this record be in the index if it will be misunderstood? Absolutely!3
This record might tell the story of two star-crossed 17 year olds whose parents denied them true love (judging from the lack of parental signatures). Or the information may be absolutely critical to someone’s research; no doubt there are records just like this one that are the only source of an illegitimate child’s father.
Yes, records say the darnedest things.
Postscript: Doesn’t your heart go out to young girls named “Pet” who fall in love with young men named “Roach”?!
Not that “Pet Roach” is not a perfectly fine name. Don’t write and complain!
I know some perfectly wonderful people named Roach. (Have I gotten my foot out of my mouth yet?)
And there are perfectly wonderful people who have pet roaches. (Maybe I should just stop talking…)
1. “Oklahoma County Marriages, 1891-1959,” index, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 5 May 2011), Travis Roach, married 1941; citing “originals housed in the clerks’ offices of the district courts in various counties throughout Oklahoma.”
2. “Oklahoma County Marriages, 1891-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 5 May 2011), Travis Roach, married 1941; citing “originals housed in the clerks’ offices of the district courts in various counties throughout Oklahoma.”
3. My thanks to BAMaxwell for bringing this record to my attention. See BAMaxwell [alias], “"Canceled" Oklahoma County Marriage,” forum post, 12 October 2010, FamilySearch Forums Beta (http://forums.familysearch.org : accessed 5 May 2011), FamilySearch Support > FamilySearch Indexing > Indexing Projects > United States and Canada Projects (post 17045).