Disproving and Proving Information

Disproving and Proving Information

In my previous post, I wrote about how a genealogist solved the mystery of Rose (Caires) Vieira.  While Rose’s story was unfolding, her daughter’s was not.  Maria was said to marry someone by the surname of Goias.  But, that was about all we knew of her.

There was a Maria (Vieira) Goias in the California Death Index.  I assumed this was the correct person since her mother’s maiden name was Caires.  Maria was buried up in Santa Clara.  The information was online at Findagrave.com.

In researching Rose, I worked on Maria as well.  I found several children in the California Birth Index, obituaries in the Oakland Tribune, and census records.  But, somewhere in the back of my brain I had this nagging feeling that it didn’t add up.

My cousin, Teresa, was just as befuddled.  The surnames seemed to fit, but this time 1 + 1 didn’t equal 2.  It equalled confusion!

We needed one document:  Maria’s obituary.   Another researcher, Jill, helped out on this one.  She was able to get Maria’s obituary from a nearby library.  The obituary proved what I had suspected.  This was not our Maria.

When this bit of information disproved that our Maria was Maria Goias, we had to start all over.  It was clear that Maria was not ther person in Santa Clara or the one in Oakland who married a Goias.  It was back to square one.

It turns out that the real Maria had been sitting right under our noses.  Proof, once again, that sometimes you need an extra set of eyes, preferably attached to another human reading documents 😉

Our extra set of eyes came from Deb, the researcher I had mentioned in my previous post.  Deb noticed that there was a Maria and Lawrence Butsch living with the Vieira’s in the 1930 census.  She was not identified as their daughter, but it seemed too much of a coincidence that she wasn’t related.


Her obituary was located and there was a bingo flashing across all our screens!  This was our Maria.  From there, it all came together.  We located her son’s obituary, city directory entries, and other documents.  Teresa, who is directly related to this line, found a descendant of the line and made contact.  This was confirmation that Maria was Rose’s daughter and she was the right one.

At times genealogy can be incredibly frustrating.  I have been trying to find information on this family for several years.  Now I know that I was looking for Rose (Caires) Vieira in the wrong places at the wrong time and I had linked the wrong Maria as her daughter.  It’s a terrible feeling when you have to throw out what you have already done, but sometimes it’s the only way to locate the right information.

It’s not a bad thing finding out that you’ve been researching up the wrong family tree.  Part of genealogy is disproving facts as much as it is proving them.   Sometimes you have to sort through many people before you figure out which one fits.  That’s just the way genealogy goes.

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