When a Usually Reliable Record is “Wrong”

The early 1900s will of an ancestor named a granddaughter Katherine to whom a significant amount of money was left. The will was determined to be valid and was admitted to probate. The family had been extensively researched and no granddaughter with this name had been located. The executor of the will (a son of the will’s writer) in his initial report indicated he knew of no granddaughter Katherine. In the final report the executor stated that there was a granddaughter whose middle name was Katherine and, since she was not named in the will by her first name and her siblings were all named, it was concluded that this was the individual to whom the will writer was referring.

Civil birth and church baptismal records of this individual did not refer to her by the name of Katherine. She’s also been extensively researched and the estate settlement for her grandmother is the only place where she is referred to by Katherine. There’s a few lessons here:

  • any record can be wrong;
  • what appears to be wrong might not be wrong;
  • read the entire file or set of records;
  • not everyone knows the names of their nieces and nephews.