Sometimes you will have several sources that record the same information - but on digging deeper, you might find that the information is in fact, incorrect.
I have some examples:
1. People lie. All. The. Time. My paternal grandmother, Ruby Chase Reed died in 1962 when I was 8 years old, so I don't remember her very well. My paternal grandfather Maurice L. Reed died in 1970, and I inherited a treasure trove of family history papers, which included Ruby's death certificate. On that certificate, her date of birth was noted as 2/25/1892.
In the original papers I got from my grandfather was a fascinating account of the lives of his maternal great-grandparents, John Beem and Betsy Webb. What I had was a typewritten transcript of an article that was published in the Reading (MI) Hustler in the 1940s, written by John and Betsy's granddaughter, Ada Beem Fitzsimmons.
At least 10 years ago I was looking at the page for Hillsdale County, Michigan on US GenWeb, and saw that they had a transcribed list of all the Civil War soldiers who enlisted from Hillsdale County. I looked through it, and the only Prosser listed was Lewis Prosser, age 17, who was in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry, Co. G. Well, that couldn't be my great-great grandfather, because he would have been in his mid-forties. I kept searching.(And I've been kicking myself for the last 3 years....)
DNA came along, and I found a 2nd cousin with the surname Prosser, and asked him to take a DNA test. His Ancestry DNA results led me to a certain Lewis Prosser, who had a wife and children in La Porte County, Indiana. When I realized that he might be the answer to my brick wall, At that point, it didn't matter what the transcribed (possibly incorrect?) info was about the Lewis Prosser in the 2nd MI Cavalry, I knew I had to get his military records, held at the National Archives in Washington, DC. When I received them, I had my answer - Lewis Prosser was 44 years old, born in Oneida County, New York.
After I discovered this, the next time I was visiting the Archives of Michigan in Lansing, I took a look at the original book that the online listing on US GenWeb came from:
Imagine. If I had tracked down the original record when I first saw that listing on US GenWeb, I would have saved myself ten years of frustration.
In today's political climate, it's more important than ever before that we depend on news sources that are trustworthy. I did not realize that I was depending on sources that were less than truthful - because they were telling me what I wanted to hear - until I saw this media bias chart:
Facts matter. Sources matter. Truth matters.