Reminder: Always Check the Original Source!

As I research various families, I always seek out the original source. That’s not always possible – originals are sometimes lost, repositories not cited, etc. – but often, the original source is extant, can be found and definitely should be viewed before accepting details as accurate.

Here is an excellent example from my husband’s Larrison family.

Revolutionary War pensioner John Stufflebean married Elsee (Larrison) Ketchum in Estill County, Kentucky in the summer of 1795.

Without a doubt, Elsee is part of the colonial New Jersey Larrison family, but connecting the dots from Elsee to parents and grandparents is problematical.

George Larrison, also in Estill County, Kentucky in the 1790s, is almost certainly Elsee’s brother.

Therefore, I have been collecting Larrison clues in the great expanse of land between New Jersey and Kentucky.

Here is a tidbit I found in a book online:

Note that the bottom line of this abstract mentions the Larison Brothers. The patent is dated 1784 and would prove that at least two Larrison/Larison family members had land in Kentucky and were possibly already living in what was then Fayette County.

I’ve tried to find this land patent, but haven’t been successful. However, recently, a new Larrison cousin, who lives in Kentucky AND works as a land surveyor, had no problem finding this patent and kindly shared an image of it with me.

Here is a crop of the pertinent portion:

This is beautifully legible handwriting for the time period. Look at the last line:

to a Hickory Corner of Terrason & Brothers & John Carnan thence

I have no idea who thought this entry said Larison Brothers, but it absolutely does NOT!

How many hours could I have wasted tracing people and places mentioned in the original abstraction see above? Answer: Too many!

Many thanks to my husband’s distant cousin who got to the bottom of it very quickly!


3 thoughts on “Reminder: Always Check the Original Source!”

  1. Wow – that’s a great example of how viewing transcriptions can be very misleading. Glad you were able to get access to an original image and save yourself a whole lot of time!

  2. Thank you for sharing this reminder and the wonder example. Abstracts are great clues, but go look at the original. You may find even more great clues, or not!

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