Another reason to use Genealogy Software

George Scoggins

Some time ago, Dec 2013, I mentioned a problem that I was having because there were two George Scoggins who lived in Cobb County at the same time. One was born in December 1878, the other Oct 6, 1877. They were both farmers who rented their farms and moved around Cobb and Milton counties of Georgia. Once I realized I had two George Scoggins, I knew I had to disentangle the data from each of them and ascribe the correct data to each of them.

I use Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac but the same technique can be used for any of the various products.

First, I created two new “unrelated” individuals, George Scoggins born Dec 1878 and George Scoggins born Oct 1877. Then I went to my data sources and found all of the sources ascribed to my original George Scoggins. If I could determine which of my “new” Georges a citation applied to I added those facts to the correct George and removed the citation from my old George. If I couldn’t clearly determine which source/citation applied to which George, I skipped it then and came back to it as I continued to build out my new facts in an iterative process. Once all of the facts I could glean out of each of my sources/citations were completed, I merged one of the new Georges to my old George and left the other George as an unrelated individual.

In my notes for each of the individuals, I place a short line or two that describes the distinguishing characteristics (Birth/death/spouse/children) for future reference.

Sylvanus Scoggins

The process worked really well. As I continued my research on
George, I found his father was Sylvanis/Sylvanus/Sylvania Scoggins. He was also
known as “Bud.” Nice, I always like finding the name of another ancestor. As I
continued researching him, I realized that his father was also
Sylvanis/Sylvanus/Sylvania but appears to have gone by Henry.

Sylvanus “Bud” Scoggins (1844-1923)
Sylvanus “Henry” Scoggins (1810-1882) (Bud’s Father)

Then in a 1909 Atlanta City Directory I encounter Annie
Scoggins, the widow of Sylvania Scoggins. Oh my. Bud didn’t die until 1923 so
it isn’t his widow. Henry Died in 1882 so it must be Henry’s widow. Oh-oh. His
only known wife was Mary Polly and she died in 1887. So now, I have another
Sylvanus/Sylvanis/Sylvania Scoggins in the area that is totally unknown. I’ll
certainly unravel who each of them are and what their discriminating facts are.
However, without the ability to ascribe each fact to a particular
source/citation and to be able to look at a source/citation and determine all
of the facts associated with it I don’t know how I’d keep it all straight and
be able to untangle the individuals if I got anything wrong. 

Software to manage your genealogical information really
helps when things go well, they can provide great reports and can keep you
organized. Their greater value comes when something go awry. The tool can help
you unravel the twists and incorrect associations when you need to correct the