I heard the song on a “retro” show of hits from the 1980s and when it was over the announcer gave the name of it. I had heard the song many times and knew the lyrics by heart.

That’s not the name. The announcer was wrong. My memory was correct. Apparently it was not because a Google search for the song and the band indicated the show’s announcer had the title correct. I had heard it wrong. There are a lot of genealogy lessons in the misheard song title that have nothing to do with the music.

There are errors clerks make in records because they don’t understand what the person is saying. That wrong title reminded me to look at how others have transcribed records because my impression or interpretation could be incorrect. They reminded me that my first impression of something may be wrong and it can be difficult to get that impression out of my head. They also reminded me that it is important to interact with other researchers who may have heard or understood correctly.

They also reminded me that my memory of time can be off. The song was from the 1970s, not the 1980s. Maybe that was a denial on my part of the amount of time that passed.

And there’s the last reminder: people lie about their age.



One response

  1. People do hear things wrong. I have some first cousins once removed who are now long gone. Cousin Frank was the shyest man I ever knew. I literally never knew him to say a word to me, my mother, my grandmother or any other female. He did talk a little with my grandfather & occasionally with my dad & his brothers. He sometimes spoke about his sister Jessie who taught elementary school in Wichita, KS. He thought it was amazing that she had a weeks vacation at Christmas & would come from Wichita to northern Oklahoma. Frank’s English was strongly accented, & he pronounced his sister’s name as a Chessie. Sure enough that is the way it is spelled in the 1st
    census when she was enumerated. After that, the name was spelled correctly but still pronounced with a strong Ch.

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