Reviewing and redocumenting my family history efforts to date has thrown up a few extra tidbits of information but no major errors... until today.
I was preparing to enter the death certificate for my grandfather Thomas Jones (mentioned here) into Family Historian. I'd ordered it back in 2005, after a search on freebmd for the death of a Thomas Jones born 3 March 1905, probably in Birmingham. My eldest sister remembered that he died after her birth, and that he lived with her mother and her for a time, and my mother's marriage certificate confirmed he was dead by 1954, so I set my search parameters for deaths at the right age between 1946 and 1954. Seven possibilities presented themselves, one of which was in Birmingham in 1948 where I knew his parents (Agnes and Thomas Jones) and my mother both lived in the relevant period. So I ordered that certificate.
Lo and behold, the death of Thomas Jones was registered by his mother A. Jones of 29 Bushbury Road -- not too far from where the family was living in 1946. So I could tick that search off the to-do list...
This time around, before I re-entered the data, I thought I'd check the electoral rolls for the period, just to flesh out if I could when the family actually moved. There was an Agnes and Thomas Jones at 29 Bushbury Grove in 1945 — which was odd because Agnes and her husband Thomas been elsewhere in 1946. And Agnes was still there in 1950, with a Florence M. Jones — even odder, because I wasn't aware of a daugher or daughter-in-law of Agnes called Florence. And Agnes and Florence were still there in 1955 — even though 'my' Agnes died in 1951 !
Then I checked the 1939 register and found Agnes and Thomas and Florence M. and Alfred Jones all living at the Bushbury Road address, when I already knew that 'my' Agnes was in Merthyr Tydfil.
Back in 2005, I was a pretty green researcher. Right name, right age, right timeframe, right mother, plausible place... why would I need corroborating evidence? Besides, neither the electoral rolls and 1939 register were online; in the case of the 1939 register there was no way back then to consult it.
I'm older and wiser and more careful now, but it's a good reminder to have: never take a single document at face value. They all lie, one way or another.