Misleading Data

There are many websites that will give you give you addresses, phone numbers and even birthdays of living people. Some that I know of are: Intelius, Spokeo,  Zaba Search and Pipl. These can be useful to find records of your distant cousins that you may have lost track of. All of the previous are pay websites and will give you some data for free and then eventually ask for money for more detailed information. I usually stop when they ask for money. FamilySearch has a collection that has some of the same information as the commercial websites. The description of “United States Public Records, 1970-2009” says that the “records were generated from telephone directories, property tax assessments, credit applications, and other records available to the public.”

I did some searching through a lot of these public record websites and they all have problems. I looked up Reginald W—-. who died in 1985. His last name is unique and only one person with his name has ever existed. I found records stating that he was living in Virginia from 1995 to 2007. I wonder how that record ended up in both the FamilySearch and commercial websites?

I looked my sister up and found a record that she lived in South Dakota from 2005 – 2007. She never lived there. There were also records of her living in La Mesa, CA in 1986 and 2000. That is another lady with the same name that got confused with my sister. Just one website, Been Verified, had her old address here in NY state. She and her family left NY in the early 1980s. That was a plus for that website. Then I also saw a record on another website that said she was born in 1900. That is only 37 years off. That is is big minus.

Then I looked up records of Sonoe W—-. I found a birth date in 1945 when she was actually born in 1929. There were a lot of records of address including some which overlapped. An address record from the 1990s matched information that I had when I wrote to her in that time. Then according to other records, she lived 2006 – 2009 in Utah, 2007 – 2009 in Florida and 2007 in California. The big problem is that she died in 2006.

These kind of records all contain a small amount of errors on birth dates, addresses and relationships. There are also some spelling errors. A couple of other records couldn’t decided on which was a first name and a  middle name. It would be best to use all these websites as just clues for further research on your part.