For years, I believed everything I saw online as fact. Wrong. I want to believe but I've grown wiser. Now I check and doublecheck all I see online.
I'm working on my connection to Charles Featherston right now. My maternal grandfather's grandfather was most likely Charles Featherston, born in 1825 in Charles City, Virginia. I'm 90% sure about this. Charles' father was William Featherston born in 1793 to Carolus and Lucy Elmore Featherstone. There is proof of this. Carolus' parents were Charles and Jean Wright Featherston. There is proof of this too. Both sources are wills. When I look on Ancestry.com I find several family trees that take the lineage back further with no other proof than other family trees on ancestry.com. I used to be guilty of that too.
I looked at the Featherston family trees. They have Charles being born between 1718 to 1720. We know he died between 1788 and 1790 because of his will. Where did they get that date for his birth? The same family trees have Jean being born around 1723 and giving birth to children between 1760 and 1776. She died in 1812. There is proof for her death. I don't know where the dates for her birth came from but it seems preposterous. That would mean Jean gave birth from her late 30's to her 50's and then lived to be 90. A brief look at the history of colonial Virginia proves that is a very unusual for a woman. Most women married around 15 years old then. The average lifespan was 45 to 50 years old.
Now that I'm studying the family trees harder, it is making me a little upset at myself and others online for not being more responsible. I was guilty of passing on this information as gospel. Mea culpa. But I have learned. I am checking and rechecking my information and couching most finds in the phrase "possibly" or "probably" but rarely "definitely."