Have you ever encountered a situation where records disagree about whether a person is living or deceased? I have to admit that this is a first for me!
While researching descendants of Ozias Wells in Michigan records, I encountered such a situation. Because I think the individual is still living, I’m going to discuss my process and hopefully without revealing the identity of this fourth cousin.
My process of researching these cousins centers around Ancestry hints. One of those hints was to a Find a Grave record that included links to his spouse and children. Thus, I started adding those pages as sources for the birth and death dates of the spouse and children.
According to Find a Grave, ChildA died in 2004. ChildA’s surname on Find a Grave is that of her first husband. When I got to ChildB who died in 2019, there was a full obituary. This obituary indicated ChildA was a surviving sister but with a different surname and living in Florida.
In the process of searching for more info on ChildA, I located a Florida marriage record indicating ChildA had a second marriage. ChildA’s second husband died in 2017. An obituary in Florida for the husband identifies his surviving wife and includes the surname from her first marriage. A Tennessee obituary for the second husband identifies his surviving wife as a second wife and includes her maiden name. I also located a 2008 obituary for ChildC that also listed ChidA as a surviving sister living in Florida.
Thus, I believe ChildA did not die in 2004 but was still living in 2019. Since I haven’t found any death notice or obituary for her and have found an address in Florida, I think she is still living. I suggested an edit on the Find a Grave site so that the owner of the site could make the correction.
Because I had incorrectly entered a death date in my file, I also had to change the person back to LIVING in my RootsMagic file. I simply had to open the person and put a check mark in the LIVING box.
Since I had used TreeShare to upload ChildA to my tree, I had to also set ChildA to living on Ancestry. I turned to Google for directions and changed ChildA to living on Ancestry.
That left FamilySearch. I had already changed the death date from 2004 to after 2019 and uploaded sourcing to support that change. Since I’ve never had any ‘training’ on FamilySearch, I had no idea how to change someone from deceased to living. Fortunately, Google helped me find directions on the FamilySearch page, How Do I Change the Status of a Person from Deceased to Living in the FamilyTree?
Now, it is up to the administrators of FamilySearch to evaluate the information I provided and decide whether to change ChildA from deceased to living.