Finally I am making some progress with my photo scanning project. I have finished with those taken in Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming cemeteries.
Now I am working on a stack of pictures my Dad took 25 years ago in Illinois. The photos look pretty good and readable even though many of the cemetery markers stood in the shade. As a bonus, my ever-attentive-to-detail Dad copied all the information from the stones onto the backs of the photos.
The markers in the Reed-McAllister cemetery for our ancestors Ann (1782-1869) and Thomas (1783-1852) Reed do not give birth dates for these people. However, they do provide their ages at death in years, months and days. Using a handy online calculator at http://www.searchforancestors.com/utility/birthday.html I determined their birthdates. Unfortunately, these dates do not match the ones given to me by other family members.
What should I believe? A cemetery marker is not a great source for birth information because someone far removed from the birth event provides the data. Besides working with this sketchy information, the carver of the stone could have made a mistake while copying it onto the stone.
Is the information from my family records any more reliable? Turns out, probably not. Our 135-page family history written in the 1980′s provides only birth years with no sources. A cousin unearthed actual dates about 10 years later, but his source was another family’s genealogy, not primary source material.
Thus, neither of the dates I have for the births of Ann and Thomas are proven. I have some clues, but these dates need corroboration. I will work on that someday, but for now, I want to get back to the scanning.