Monday, 19 May 2014

Don’t Be Reluctant to Say “I Was Wrong”

I have met those that meet a suggestion that the information about and an ancestor’s information could be wrong with hostility, derision, or just ignoring you.  I can say, I am not one of those.
The research on Jasper Newton Wells has never stopped since I first began trying to find the Hero’s family in 1980.  It started out as a granddaughter telling her memories of her grandmother, Martha Ann Maloura Wells, and the little information she had on her grandmother’s parents.  From there I turned to the Clayton Library Center for GenealogicalResearch in Houston for more information.  Mom said they were in Alabama.  My search began with looking for Jasper Wells in Alabama 1860. I searched the Alabama AIS Census Index for him.  I could not find him.  I was beginning to doubt.   Each time I went to the Library, I went back to the index in hopes.  This went on for a couple of years.  Then one day, when I opened the index, my eyes strayed to the other page, and there he was!  His name had been entered in the index out of alphabetical order.  This was one of my first research lessons; don’t trust an index to have all the information or even the correct information.  The second lesson on the same principle was searching through a book on Henry County, Alabama, “History of Henry County I”.  Jasper’s name was not in the index, but his daughter said he served in the Civil War.  I decided to browse through the different troops they had listed from that county.  There I found Jasper listed as a private in the Irwin Invincibles, subsequently called Henry Light Infantry with at note that said they were dispersed to Georgia 25th Infantry, Co. E. 
I sent to the National Archives and Records Service requesting information on his Civil War Service. I received the information back that left me at 1862 and a big question mark.  Jasper in Nov. 1862 was at “St John’s “ sick.  
This is now found on Fold3 
Knowing that he was sick, and following the Georgia 25th Infantry Co. E, I found a Jasper Wells who died in Virginia in 1864 of Typhoid. That seemed logical, hence pencil in death in 1864 Virginia…  Then later I found Nancy in the collection “Alabama, Confederate Pension and Service Records, 1862-1947” with Jasper listed and a death date of Dec 1864.
Nancy Wells of Henry County, Alabama
Eureka! Hi Five! I was sure I had nailed it now.  It was down to finding St. John.  The Family was told of the find and I was doing the happy dance.
 Fast forward one year…  As I was doing some clean up on Jasper’s sourcing, I decided to search some more.  Lo and behold, someone had posted a picture of J N Wells’s tombstone from the Georgia 25th Company E.  Whoot! 
The person who shared on Ancestry never gave his name dwightbrooks2, this is also on FindaGrave
There it was, so pretty, but wait, it was in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia in April 1863.  How could this be?  This must be a mistake!  I did some more digging, (I still have inquiries out), only to find out that the Henry Light Infantry was in Savannah in 1862 from where they dispersed. There was a St John’s Church in Savannah, which could be the St. John’s I was looking for.   I looked inquired of the person who had posted the picture of the tombstone where he had found it and who had taken the picture.  He said lived in the area and was looking for Wells in the Civil War area and found it.  He was researching Wells, so he had added it in his tree as an unrelated person until he could research it more.  I then turned to FindaGrave who had more information about the cemetery Laurel Grove Cemetery (North).  Sure enough the grave was listed there. 
I admit it.  I erred.  He apparently never made it out of Savannah, Georgia and was lost in the shuffle.  My only assumption is that Nancy was giving when his death was confirmed to her.  I have not quit digging on harder proof, but I am sure this is our Jasper this time.  Hopefully the vial records were not burned, since the City of Savannah has burial record of his death and burial date. 

And that is me saying, I made a mistake.  It is okay, new information is coming out all the time.  Who would have known that a random save by a non related person would have pointed me to solving the mystery of where Jasper died. 


  1. All true. New stuff coming online all the time. New information, someone finds a headstone for an ancestor where I never expected to find it. The story does morf. And, we are never bored! :-)

  2. Ah, it happens! Whether we have erred or we have to inform someone else that they have, it's never easy. We just need to keep an open mind and remember we are never done! Thanks for posting your experience! A good lesson for us all!

  3. Great inspiring story for us to keep searching or in this case waiting. Thanks for sharing

  4. By making mistakes we learn. Thanks for sharing your experiences.


Hello, thanks for leaving a comment on the World Wide Genealogy Blog. All comments are moderated because of pesky spammers!

Best wishes
World Wide Genealogy Team