With a name like Charles Allen Smith, is there any wonder how easy it might be to mix him up? Never! Okay, that's wrong. Charles is the grandson of my 'newest' great+ grandfather David Smith.
In family research, I had a Charles Allen Smith married to a Rhoda J Prickett. Charles was from Ohio but died in Michigan. The dates were pretty fuzzy, things like abt 1859.
Using the GenSmarts program with RootsMagic, I came across a suggestion to look into the Michigan State Census of 1900. I don't know why hints like these come up and then I'm taken to Ancestry.com US Federal Census 1900, but I digress. In any case, a large list resulted from the name Charles Smith. That's to be expected. Since I don't like the filtering format on Ancestry.com, I decided to go over to FamilySearch.org. I really like their filtering system. I can fine tune a search quickly, casting narrow and broad scopes easily.
In any case, I came across an entry for Charles A Smith and Rebecca E Prickett. The dates lined up with my Charles and Rhoda; however, Rebecca and Rhoda seem a bit of a stretch. I never found a Rhoda married to Charles. I revisited my family records and noticed the source a family story presented by a distant cousin to Charles. So, the validity is suspect until proven true. With the last name Prickett lining up with a marriage to Charles A Smith, I decided to do further investigation.
I went over the New FamilySearch website which is the family tree database. In it, I found Charles married to either: Rhoda J Prickett, Rebecca Elizabeth Pricket, and/or Ida Alice Prickett. Further investigation into the tree resulted in seeing Rhoda, Rebecca, and Ida having three husbands and multiple children all married and born in such a chronological order that there had to be a merging error.
I won't go into all the fine details, but suffice it to say, I confirmed my suspicion that Charles indeed married Rebecca and that Rhoda was her sister. As I separated out Rhoda and Rebecca, it became clear that Ida was a separate sister as well. As I separated these sisters apart, I wanted some proof to my suspicions. I was able to following Charles & Rebecca Elizabeth (who usually went by Elizabeth) through the census records and marriage record. I have not yet found a death record or an obituary for them, but that's next. I'm certain that if I followed Ida and Rhoda through the genealogical records I'd further confirm my suspsicion of the three sister merger.
It was really fun to untangle the tree, correct my perpetuated inaccuracy, and then remember to source my information should a question arise in the future.