52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 23:
Family Finds Charter Oak

Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few

I have previously highlighted genealogical research mistakes I have made. By documenting my own errors I hope to keep others from making the same ones. Many of my genealogy mistakes have been due to accepting the research of others. Other mistakes have been caused by records of people with the same name in the same place and time as my ancestor. A few of my mistakes are a combination of these two. I made one research mistake completely on my own and it was resolved through a DNA match.

DNA Matches

I did a DNA test through Ancestry in January 2013. Back then the match reports (and the ethnicity report) were fairly rudimentary. Matches had a link to the member’s profile, but there was no segment data, or relationship estimate. If you were lucky the member had a public tree that could be browsed for possible common ancestors. In 2014, AncestryDNA updated their matching algorithm and began providing total shared centiMorgans and relationship estimates, plus in-common surnames. At that time, I had only one predicted 3rd cousin match according to the new algorithm. But, that one match actually led me to discover a mistake I had made.

I’ve written two previous posts about research errors:

Week 11,
Fortune: Byrd;
Week 26,
Conflict: Skaggs. [1, 2]

My Mistake

My 2nd great-grandmother Catherine Landon, 1844-1920, was born in Ohio. [3] When I was researching her in 2012 I discovered a family named Landon in the 1850 census living in Liverpool, Medina Co., Ohio who had a daughter named Catherine, age 6. [4] I readily accepted this family as my own. The parents, Peter and Anna, I discovered had immigrated from Germany in 1837. This seemed reasonable, until I had that 3rd cousin DNA match in 2014. It turned out the only surname we had in common was Landon. The Landon’s on the matches tree predated mine and lived in Maryland.

Dyer family tree

Common Ancestor

Third cousins should have a 2nd great-grandparent in common. However, based on the tree of the 3rd cousin match, we do NOT share a 2nd great-grandparent. We have 51cM of DNA in common, (which I now know is not a strong 3rd cousin match) so I knew our match was not a mere chance. My DNA match was very sure of his Landon connection because the line tied into his paternal lineage at the 3rd great-grandparent. So, I decided I needed to research the Landon lineage he had starting with his 4th great-grandfather, Joseph Landon, 1746-?

5th Cousins

My research of Joseph Landon of Somerset Co., Maryland quickly led me to discover he had a son named George who lived much of his adult life in Brown Co., Ohio. [5] This was when I realized I had a mistake with my Landon lineage. My 2nd great-grandparents, Catherine Landon and George Lafary, married in Brown Co., Ohio in 1860. So, this George Landon as her father made more sense than the Peter Landon in Liverpool, Medina Co., Ohio. Also, this made my so-called 3rd cousin match actually a 5th cousin. Nonetheless, the DNA match did lead me to find an error in my own research.

Better Searching

Why did I miss this family, and more specifically Catherine, in Brown County in the 1850 census? [6] Because the transcription got two things wrong and my poor searching missed both. One, the family surname was transcribed as Landow and second, Catherine’s age was transcribed as 9. (When I look at the original it looks like Landon and 7 to me.) This was when I learned to make better use of wildcards and Soundex for searching records.

George Landon and children
NOTE: All these years later, I now have MANY more 3rd to 5th cousin matches on AncestryDNA. Several of those matches also connect through the Landons. One of my brick walls is the wife of Joseph Landon, the common ancestor described in this post. I have previously written about my Landon ancestors: Week 11, 2019: Large Family; Week 16, 2019: Out of Place; Week 15, 2020: Fire. [7, 8, 9]


If you do genealogical research, you are bound to make the occasional mistake. Catching the error before you go too far on a lineage is the trick. I probably have mistakes in my tree right now that I have yet to discover. Please let me know if you find them!


  1. Blog post, Family Finds: Fortune; https://barblafara.com/fortune/
  2. Blog post, Family Finds: Conflict; https://barblafara.com/conflict/
  3. Profile for Catherine Landon, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/-46343344/facts
  4. Entry for Catherine Landon, Census of the United States, Year: 1850; Census Place: Liverpool, Medina, Ohio; Collection#: M432; Roll: 709; Page: 389b; Line: 5;
  5. Profile for George Walston Landon, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/27556014990/facts
  6. Entry for George W. Landow, Census of the United States, Year: 1850; Census Place: Pike, Brown, Ohio; Collection#: T1159; Roll: 2; Line: 21;
  7. Blog post, Family Finds: Large Family; https://barblafara.com/george-lafary-and-catherine-landon-large-family/
  8. Blog post, Family Finds: Out of Place; https://barblafara.com/catherine-landon-out-of-place/
  9. Blog post, Family Finds: Fire; https://barblafara.com/fire/


  1. Marian Burk Wood

    Wow! It’s wonderful that you followed up to figure out how this DNA match was actually connected to you, and wound up improving your family tree.

  2. Stephen Goundry

    I too have made mistakes. My parents and grandparents were all from a small village of about 100 houses. One set of great grandparents were Fosters but I didn’t know any dates. When I started researching this family there were 2 in the same place and I picked the wrong one.

    Then I found someone else who was researching the same family on Family Tree so I contacted her. She told me that I had the wrong person (her family was descended from his sister). That was about 10 years ago and we are still in touch.

  3. Susan Blakley

    I liked how you went about seeing your mistakes. We can assume things then go back and see that, that’s not correct.

    DNA matches can clear some things up. I have a DNA matches stating that she was on my Grandfather’s twin lineage. The twin died at an early year. The person assumed that the twin was her on her lineage. She is a DNA match but don’t know where.

    Thanks for being an example for us. As we can share how we do things. Blessings.


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Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

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My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

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Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

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Luella Pressell: Surprise!

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Rumple Family Photo 1895

For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

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Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

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It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

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We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

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Close to Home

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So Far Away

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Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!