Recently, I was digging a bit deeper into my family tree, trying to determine just how strong my Irish roots are. I know that they come from my maternal side of the family; both of my maternal grandfather's grandmothers, my 2nd great-grandmothers (2xGGM), were from Ireland and married native-born US citizens. One generation back from them finds six of my eight maternal ancestors, my 3xGGP, are from Ireland. Starting with the 4th great-grandparent level, my maternal family line comes exclusively from Ireland.
It is in the maternal 5xGGP level of my family tree, around 1800, that I discovered an unusual, confusing, and not-easily resolved conflict.
First, many of the birth certificates of my Roman Catholic Irish ancestors in that age are actually written in Latin; for example, my 5xGGF is identified as Patricium Ross. His parents are Alexandri Ross and Rosae Flynn. They are later identified as Patrick, Alexander, and Rose in other documents. That would be enough to make a novice stop and start doing research into name conventions in Ireland at the beginning of the 19th Century, but that is not the most challenging factor.
Patericium Ross was born in Athlone, County Roscommon, in Ireland, and according to three different documents was baptized in three different locations, on the same day, 19th March 1800, with the same two parents, Alexandri Ross and Rosae Flynn Ross:
- Baptism Place: Roscommon, St Peter's Church, Athlone, Ireland;
- Baptism Place: Drum, Roscommon, Ireland;
- Baptism Place: Bishops Caundle, Dorset, England
The documents are all Church documents and are legible. How one verifies what information, if any, on them is valid and why they differ with such exact, precise information is the 'brick wall' I have encountered today. The locations are not close to each other; if jurisdictions merge, that might be a partial explanation, and I cannot think of any logical explanation. More study into the history of Ireland and England in 1800 is warranted.
For beginners and for those of us who are a bit more advanced, this is one reason why merely adding information to a tree without thoroughly validating its accuracy can result in an error-filled tree. My work here has not ended!