Following up on my post about my 3rd great-grandmother, Mary Smith (Some of the Perils of Online Databases – 1), here is another wrinkle I found in the various databases. This one concerns what I think was a mixup in surnames.
A 1725 baptism entry for Richard Vyvyan was found in the Cornwood, Devon, parish baptism register.
Cornwood, Devon, 1725 parish baptism register entry for Richard Vyvyan, son of Sarah Vyvyan (source – England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912, database with images, FamilySearch, retrieved 3 July 2010 from www.findmypast.com)
While there is a reference to the individual of this name on the indexes of Ancestry, FindMyPast and FamilySearch, none of them indicate an image is available for viewing. TheGenealogist records do not go back that far so no information is available on that website.
Entry for 1725 baptism of Richard Vyvyan, Cornwood parish, Devon, on Ancestry database
Entries for 1725 baptisms of Richard Vyvyan & Richard Woodward, Cornwood parish, Devon, on FindMyPast database; image indicated available for Richard Woodward
Entries for 1725 baptisms of Richard Vyvyan & Richard Woodward, Cornwood parish, Devon, on FamilySearchdatabase; image indicated available for Richard Woodward
The register entry showed that “the reputed father” of the child was Philip Woodward. Interestingly, searches for an alternative name of Richard Woodward did result in references to images on FindMyPast and FamilySearch.
Entry for 1725 baptism of Richard Woodward, Cornwood parish, Devon, on FindMyPast database, indicating parents’ names
It is curious why only the reference to the Woodward name would result in a result on the list. It cannot be determined whether Richard ever used the name Woodward, or whether Philip Woodward ever married Sarah Vyvyan and acknowledged his paternity.
Perhaps the form used for indexing had a box for a father’s name and it was this information that was used to slot the transcription into the index.
If you cannot find an individual you are sure existed, check multiple databases.
When there are discrepancies between databases, expand your search to include all names within a time frame. That may show that an individual could have been indexed under different names. And it may help to find out on which database an image of the actual register entry might be found.