Home > Books & Sources, Findings > An example of why not to only use indexes for genealogy

An example of why not to only use indexes for genealogy

Ancestry.com has an entry for a William H Moore who died at age 85 on 14 February 1898 in New York City. When I first saw this a few months ago, I was so excited. This must be my William H Moore, I thought. The birth dates line up, after all.

Using the information provided by Ancestry, I ordered a copy of the death certificate from the NYC archives. I was so disappointed when I received it–it couldn’t be my William H Moore. I quietly filed it away and moved on.

I was searching on Ancestry recently, and noticed that many people are attributing this record to my William H Moore. This is simply not true, so let me set the record straight.

My William H Moore was born sometime between 1812 and 1815 in New York. He married a Julia, and they lived in Genoa, Cayuga County and Lansing, Tompkins County. They had the following children:

  • Grayson R. Moore (b 1848)
  • Odell D. Moore (b 1851)
  • Harry W. Moore (b 1853, d 1920)
  • Anna J. Moore (b 1855)
  • Hattie R. Moore (b 1857)
  • Isaac R Moore (b 1860)
  • John R. Moore (b 1862)
  • Julia R. Moore (b 1863)
  • Wilson F. Moore (b 1866)
  • Frederick Moore (b 1868)
  • William Moore (b 1868)

This William H Moore did NOT die February 14, 1898 in New York City.

William Henry Moore died February 14, 1898 at age 85 years old. He was white, a widower, retired, and born in New Jersey. He had lived in New York City for 50 years. His father’s name was Alexander Moore, who was born in New Jersey. His mother was Elizabeth Moore, who was also born in New Jersey. He died at 341 Broome Street (a hotel), where he lived.

This could not be the William H Moore who lived in Genoa and Lansing, because the William H Moore who died in NYC had lived there for 50 years. Even if that was an exaggeration, in the 1880 census, the William H Moore I’m interested in lived in Lansing, so the longest he could have lived in NYC would have been 18 years, which is hard to confuse with fifty years.

When you go soley by the index, you miss important information and misattribute information. Everyone has been guilty of it at one point or another, but with the internet the way it is, once you put something out there, it’s out there forever, and it gets spread around until it’s taken as fact. I am sure that many people will copy the false information from the member trees, and almost none of those people will ever read this, but it should be put out there.

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