22 January 2015

Cousins Are Not Ancestors

UPDATED after another error was found.

There was a statement made on this week's episode of Genealogy Roadshow that made me do a double take. But first, a statement that probably had historians yelling at their television sets.
The opening of each episode contains some history of the city they are filming in. The Saint Louis episode included this "fact":
 Narrator: "Named for the French Monarch, Louis the Fourteenth..."
According to the city's official site, Saint Louis was named for Louis IX.
The quote that made me do a double take was in the Laura Ingalls Wilder segment [starts at 44:25]. The entire segment, most of this episode in fact, was filled with "may be" and "might be." There was no definitive answer on whether the family was related to Laura Ingalls Wilder, just a huge leap of faith based on proximity. That was bad enough but then there was this:
 Kenyatta Barry: "You've been reading the books written by your pioneering ancestor."
Aunts, uncles, and cousins, no matter how distant, are not ancestors. If these families are connected, and that's still a pretty big if, Laura Ingalls Wilder would be a distant cousin. They are definitely not the author's descendants which means she is definitely not their ancestor.

Starting at 38:35 in the episode linked above you see James Whaley (b. 1921-). He is the grandfather of the young man Josh Taylor has at his table. Dass Whaley (1883-1967) is the young man's great-grandfather.

Josh Taylor: "He married a woman named Chanch Leopold and we were able to trace the Leopold family back..."

While it is never stated that Chanch Leopold is the mother of James Whaley the on-screen chart shows they are linked and reads, "Great Grandmother: 1931 - ??."
Dass made quite the catch finding a woman willing to marry a man almost 50 years her senior. And giving birth to James 10 years before she herself was born? That miracle should've been the highlight of the show.

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  1. Well the show is sponsored by Ancestry and their shaking leaf "hints", so anything is possible...

    Great catches. Online public trees, sadly, have many of these same mistakes.

  2. You are sharp! I didn't notice the last instance, for they were panning the chart a bit too quickly for me.

  3. I would've thought that someone hit a wrong key when entering it on the tree except neither 1831 nor 1913 would work. She would either be 50 years older than her husband or give birth at the age of 8.

  4. I liked the father d.1915 with the kid b.1931 - that's quite the trick !

    http://video.pbs.org/video/2365401745/ if you want to rewatch the silliness starting about the 39:00 mark. Just shameless pandering pseudo-research fiction.

    There 'is' a Dass Whaley b.1883 d.1967 who appears in the 1930 census as married to a Caroline (not Chanch) and with a b.1921 child Jane (not James - big difference).

    Personally I think the guy made the whole thing up. Just awful.

  5. This is why I never write anything in stone unless I have records to prove the facts myself.

  6. Saw this episode on YouTube...thought they were stretching things!