Unraveling confusing information

This morning I wrote an article and attached it to several individuals in my Ancestry database. If  “a seasoned researcher”  is baffled, how does a fledgling view the information?

First: Let me introduce myself as a seasoned researcher. I have more than thirty years experience. Furthermore, I am very familiar with the features of Ancestry.com. Second: I encountered a situation that had me baffled!

Another Ancestry subscriber “commented” that I had an individual linked to the wrong parents. Following her information, Aaron Musselman (1852-1913) was removed as son of George Washington Musselman (1816-1851). That prompted further examination of relationships and eventually he (GWM) was attached to Daniel Musselman (1791-1860) and Anna Judd (1799-1840). Getting to that point was complicated because his wife’s name is “Esther.”

The reader doesn’t need exact details of this researcher’s diligent search for documented “sources” confirming the identity and relationships. For me, the problem was a woman named Esther Wagoner.

Esther (Wagoner) Musselman (1817-1914) was identified married, first (1840), to George Washington Musselman and, second (1870), to Aaron Ulrey (1816-1906). However, Aaron Ulrey’s records listed him married (1836) to Esther Musselman with five documented children.

The answer to the confusion: Both of Aaron Ulrey’s wives were named “Esther.” His first wife bore the maiden name of Musselman (1817-1870). His second wife was Musselman by marriage to his first wife’s brother.

I hope this explanation helps another individual “climbing the family tree.” I’m passionate about “sources” and I believe I have accurate sources to confirm the identity of these several individuals. ~~ ADDITIONS & CORRECTIONS WELCOME.


Lorraine Frantz Edwards is the editor of a three-volume set of books titled Frantz Families–Kith & Kin (available “free” on the Internet), and website titled Digitized Library of Family History. Her Ancestry database is titled Lorraine Frantz Family Tree. Her stories appear in Mennonite Family History. She documents genealogy experiences on her blog titled Three Quarters And Counting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That article was written after three days of research. It started with this very brief comment:  “Aaron Musselman is not George Washington Mussemans son. He is the son of Esther Shively & David Musselman.”

You think I’m crazy? Sometimes I think I’m crazy!

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