One thing about genealogy is that you usually do it in small, bite size chunks as life allows. After all, this is a hobby which requires time and funds if you want to go very deep. As a result, some errors can be assumed correct for a very long time before they are corrected.
On that note, I spent some quality time the other night looking for records to back up "What I already know" about my 2nd great grandmother Palma Lena Peterson Smith. As always, I was reminded why the original records are so important. The only death date for Palma listed in the online family trees (and the one I was using) was 27 December 1934. Wrong! The sudden passing of this dear Christian woman happened a full 11 months earlier on 27 JANUARY 1934! I found this out by tracking down original newspaper notices about her death – the first of which was published 28 Jan 1934 (only one day after her death) in the Sioux City Sunday Journal.
I was perplexed at first. It wasn't just my mistake (which happens). Everybody had this incorrect date. How was everybody wrong? I looked up my original source, The Story of J. M. & P. L. Smith and their Kin and Kith by Palma's daughter Leora Swanson, and the death date was correct in two places both in and near the copied obituary from an unknown date and newspaper. By the way, I am looking for this information in case anyone knows where to find it; the obituary is full of information, and I would like to use it as evidence.
What was unfortunate is that the typo was held in the genealogy summary in the back of the book and was apparently the page that was being copied by me and my fellow Smith Family researchers. Oh well. It happens!
Also, the obituary was very clear that she died in a hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, not closer to home in Sloan or Albaton. So, two mistakes in my family tree disposed of. On to the next!