I thought I was onto something new tonight in my genealogy. A record was suggested for one of my ancestors -- the 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes. I clicked on it, and it all looked promising. The name was right, the county was right, the economic status fit.
I almost decided that my ancestor was totally blind due to an
accident with gunpowder and was only partly self-supporting. It was
plausible. I was so close to merging the document into my family
tree. It would have been careless family history, but I almost did it.
Instead, I decided to double check two inconspicuous numbers -- the page
and line number the individual appeared on the regular 1880 census. I
checked, and the blind man's numbers didn't match my ancestor's numbers.
I went ahead and looked for the blind man on the regular census to
double check that there were indeed two men of the same name in the same
county. Yes, there were, and the two men were even of a similar age.
Yet, they are not the same person. I almost didn't take that "extra
step" but by taking a few additional minutes, I avoided adding incorrect
information to my ancestor's biography. So, I am glad there is nothing
new to report (for that ancestor) tonight.