Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Little Mystery, Solved

After logging in 11.5 hours of viewing microfilm at my local Family History Center this week you can stick a fork in me, 'cause I'm done. I hadn't been to my local FHC in several months so it was nice to be able to see old friends and touch base with everyone. I especially enjoyed seeing my friend Waleria again. But I've had enough viewing and photographing of microfilm for one week.

So far I'm keeping to my project schedule for writing my family history. This was the week that I had designated for viewing films at the FHC. My intention was to fill in the blanks in my LIPA line and photograph the records. By blanks I mean an erroneous birthdate here, a missing death date there... not missing persons. Although I did find a couple of people to add to my database along the way too. :-)

According to my records, my great grandfather, Szymon LIPA, was born October 2, 1842. I already had a photograph of his birth/baptismal record from when I'd previously viewed his film but I needed to retake it because I'd accidently cut off the information at the top of the register page when I took the photo and that's where the year of his birth was listed. The year that I'd entered into my Legacy database didn't make sense because he would have been born a month before his parents married. And it was clear from the register entry that his was a legitimate birth. The word "legitimate" was written out in the proper column and his father's name was listed right next to his mother's. In the case of an illegitimate birth the father's name is always left blank in Polish parish records. At least in all the Galician parish records I've looked at it is.

So imagine my surprise when I looked up his birth/baptismal record and discovered that my date was correct. He was born on October 2, 1842. Hmm. OK, so I must have made a mistake on the date of his parents' marriage then. I didn't have any photo of that record. I must have entered the wrong date for my great great grandparents' marriage into my database.

I'll bet you can guess where this is going, can't you? Yep, when I looked up the marriage record I found that the date I have, November 21, 1842, is correct too. I even double checked it.

Can you figure out how this could happen?

OK, here's my lesson learned for the day. Never trust the priest to have written the correct year at the top of the page! It was only by checking and double checking the pages of the register before and after the one where my 'ole Szymon was listed that I discovered the error. He was really born in 1843 but the year listed at the top of the page was 1842. It was obviously the priest's error because the record definitely appears in the correct order among all the other 1843 records. Mystery solved! :-)