I turned my attention to the Markham/Collins families of Union County, Kentucky this week and in doing so, found an error repeated throughout many public trees on Ancestry, and in my own tree as well.
William Davis Collins and Elizabeth Young were the parents of Juliette Ann Collins, known as “Julia”, born in Union County, Kentucky in December of 1863. She married Isaac David James there in July of 1880. In 1900, Julia and Isaac were living in the adjoining county of Webster with three sons: Arthur, Ira and Charia. Then it appears the couple divorced and everyone went their separate ways; the sons to Missouri and Arkansas, Isaac back to Tennessee where he was born, and Julia disappeared before turning up living with son Arthur in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she died in 1946 as Julia McDade.
Ira Davis James, Julia and Isaac’s 2nd son, married Anna Jackson in Illinois in 1907 and then moved to Mississippi County, Missouri where the couple had 3 children: two sons and a daughter: Crafton Davis, born in 1908, Carroll Lee, born in 1913, and daughter Charnelsa, born in 1921.
Crafton married and became a physician, delivering babies in Oklahoma, where he died in 1997. Carroll Lee is the issue. There were many hints for Carroll, all having him born in 1921-22, and dying in the Korean War in 1951. This didn’t make sense as the Carroll Lee James I was researching was born 12 Aug 1913. Census records of the Ira and Anna James family all had Carroll born “abt 1914” or “abt 1912”. Luckily for me, the wrong Carroll Lee James died while in service, so I knew there would have to be newspaper accounts of his passing, and sure enough, there are. Not only that, but he was documented in newspapers before he died.
The wonderful thing about this article is that it gives the names of some of his immediate family members; his wife, Anna, who was living with his parents, and a brother, Robert E James, who was also serving in the service.
Then in 1951, Carroll James, a pilot, crashed his plane in Korea.
While the first article gave clues to the family of this Carroll James, this 2nd one gave the name of his mother, Verda James. Using these clues, I was able to find a family in Missouri that matched. Carroll’s father was buried in Springfield, Missouri in 1947, but I couldn’t find a death certificate for him there, and if he’d died in Missouri that year, I’d have found it. Back to newspapers where I found this:
It turns out my Carroll Lee James also served in the military, but he died in Killarney, Eastern Cape, South Africa in 2000. I found documentation for his death in both the Social Security death index and some South Africa estate files.
The moral of this story is that if something doesn’t look, feel, or seem right, keep looking. I created a research tree for the wrong Carroll James and named it that, “Wrong Carroll Lee James Family Tree” adding the newspaper articles to document my findings in the hope that the other trees who have him attached to Ira and Anna James would correct their own trees. They may not, but at least my tree is correct, and that’s what’s the most important to me.