Frequently, government information is incorrect. Census records will have relationships wrong, names misspelled, places of origin incorrect. This makes sense, given that interviewers may not have understood the person answering the questions and those answering the questions may not have wanted to give certain information. Soundex is a big help in these cases.
Other times it is the family themselves that is reporting incorrect information. For example, the wedding license of Frank H. Smith and Daisy L. Perry. Daisy was the youngest daughter of James Samuel Perry, with his third wife Emma Jane [Elwell]. The license, granted in Pasadena, California on May 14, 1917, states that Daisy’s father was E.A. Perry, born in New York.
James Samuel Perry, my great-great-great grandfather and Daisy’s father, went by many names: J.S. Perry, Samuel Perry, James Perry to name a few. E.A. Perry was not one of them. And, according to the family bible, and the majority of records, James was from Vermont, not New York. James most likely lived in New York, in Warren County, immediately after leaving Vermont. This was where his first family was left behind.
Was this error a result of transcribing data from the original license into the county records book? Was Daisy confused about where her dad might have been from? Was James honest about his past?
No matter what, E.A. Perry provides another option for searches.
Names in document: Frank Durham (Baptist Minister), Maud O. Durham, Frank H. Smith, Daisy L Perry, J.W. Smith, S.E. Thomas, Emma Jane Elwell.