Here was a thought provoking questions raised by a commentator to my recent post about a direct connection between New.FamilySearch.org and FamilySearch.org's Historical Record Collections: Why does Susannah Tanner's page have parenthetical vital dates "(1745-1859)," while the only birth date given for Susannah is in 1784? There is no asterisk next to Susannah's pedigree-page entry suggesting that there are other entries for her.
At first I couldn't understand what he or she was asking. Here is the screen shot of the Joshua Tanner/Thankful Tefft family showing Susannah Tanner:
There are arrows pointing to the entry for Susannah Tanner and to her birth date. Expanding the Summary Field for Susannah Tanner shows the following list of alternate birth dates submitted by the contributors to New FamilySearch over the years the underlying records were created. Here is the screen shot:
You can see a range of dates from 1745 to 1784. Most of the contributors seem to focus on the date of 22 May 1784 in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island. Just an aside, you would think that people could at least identify the town correctly due to the fact that it has been in existence since 1757 and still is located in Washington County. No such luck. Now back to New FamilySearch. On her parents and siblings page you can see some of the duplication that still can't be eliminated from New FamilySearch. Here is the screen shot:
Here the birth date is given as 2 May 1783. Looking at the link to the FamilySearch Research Wiki for this collection, I find the information out-of-date and apparently referring to an earlier edition of the records. I couldn't edit the record in the Wiki because I didn't have the information about the collection. I note about the earlier version notes that it came from extracted records that aren't further identified unless you follow the batch numbers back.
But let's go back to the comment and to the New FamilySearch entry. There is only one of the dates in New FamilySearch that agrees with the linked record in the Historical Record Collections, the date is 2 May 1783. Looking in New FamilySearch for a source for the information, Here were the sources given for the date of 2 May 1783:
Looking at the Batch numbers and film numbers, I find the source in the Family History Library, Vital record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850 : a family register for the people by Arnold, James N. (James Newell), 1844-1927. The Arnold book. So this is an extracted record of a compiled record published in a book. The Arnold book is considered a basic source of information about Rhode Island vital records, but it would be nice to go back and look at the original records. Oh, guess what? I have the original copied from the handwritten Hopkinton Town Record, kept Caleb Potter. Here is the photo of the record showing her birth date of 2 May 1783.
Hmm. Looks like Arnold is correct. Looks like the entry in the Historical Record Collections is correct. Looks like all the other people who have records in New FamilySearch need to do a little research before they stick more junk in the program. Would any of these records or sources or whatever have gotten me back to the microfilmed Hopkinton Town Records? Not on your life. Especially if for any reason I thought New FamilySearch, FamilySearch.org or Arnold had the correct date.
I still don't know what the commenter is talking about, but I do get the point that I cannot rely for one second on anything in New FamilySearch.