Case in pointMy great great grandmother, Lucinda DAVIS HALL, died in a house fire in 1922. Her gravestone says she was born in 1844 and she died in 1923. HOWEVER, her death certificate indicates she was born in 1839 and died in 1922.
|Lucinda Davis Hall Death Certificate|
The 1880, 1900 and 1920 census also lists her birth year as 1839.
|1800 Federal US Census|
Family members are adamant the gravestone is correct. I'm sorry to tell them this, but in my world, hard documentation like a death certificate trumps a stone cutter who got incorrect information from grieving family members at a time in history when no one really cared if the dates of birth or death were right on the money.
Even if the date of birth on the death certificate was fudged (cause after all, it was given by one of those grieving family members mentioned above) the date of death is surely accurate, assuming the government official completing the certificate knew how to look at a calendar. Which, I admit, might be a stretch.
|Lucinda Davis Hall Gravestone|
Good Hope Baptist Church, Youngsville, NC
The moral of this story is question everything and assume nothing. That's true in all aspects of life, not just in genealogy.