Getting it wrong

Years pass and guesswork becomes accepted fact.

About a year ago (so 2013 for future readers) Dad forwarded an email he’d received from another researcher that basically said “Erm, are you sure about this Robert being born in Windlesham?”. I was indignant; of course I was sure, why shouldn’t I be? I had forgotten how tenuous the original link had been and the pencilling had slowly turned to ink.

His reasoning was clear and unimpeachable. “It’s just that there’s this other Robert, born in Kent, son of Philip (another one!) and Charlotte Erith”. Boom.

A few hours on Medway Cityark (to be fair, this resource was not available online when we started) and there was everything confirmed. There was no doubt that this was the real Robert, with a bunch of siblings and provably cousin to James Erith as previously established. The line became Philip – Robert – Philip – Philip – Philip Joseph – Phillip Benjamin …

I changed the tree and told my contacts. However, the wrong information is still out there; the trouble with the Internet is that while it opens up new opportunities for research, it also propagates blind faith. We are all too ready to accept others’ research if it saves us the trouble of doing it ourselves. People had seen my efforts and accepted them. The wrong information had been copied across the world.

This first seismic shift was soon followed by another.

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