If I were in charge of changing genealogical history, I'd make sure that all census enumerators, doctors, court recorders, witnesses, informants, priests, and others each consulted with each other before recording a person's information. They'd all agree on the spelling of a name, the accuracy of a date, and they would certainly record the person's parents, and even their grandparents. Maybe even attach a photograph too.
Since I'm not in charge of changing genealogical history, I will continue to find conflicting information. Take a look at Maria Teter's Individual's Information screen below (click to enlarge). Different sources provided different dates and places for her birth:
- Pennsylvania (from her son's marriage record)
- abt 1840 in New York (from her son's 1920 census record and from her own 1880 census record and from another son's death certificate)
- 1 January 1841 (from her obituary)
- 17 January 1841 in Pennsylvania (from her death certificate)
- abt 1842 in New York (umm...I don't know where this came from...)
- calculated 1843 in New York (from her 1895 state census and 1910 census)
- January 1845 in New York (from her 1900 census)
Good research requires the researcher to record each of these conflicting dates/places and its source for further analysis. Of course, different records have varying degrees of reliability, but whichever date/place you decide is the "most accurate", record it in the main birth field (the top half of this screen). Record all others as "Alt. Birth" events by clicking on the Add button.
If/when you are able to disprove one of the alternate birth events, change its event name to "Disproven Birth" and in its notes, explain why the event is disproven. Now you will always have a record of the conflicting information and the reasons for which they are disproven. This comes in handy when collaborating with other researchers.
If you decide that one of your "Alt. Birth" events is the correct one and you want it and its accompanying documentation to be the "main" birth event, just click on the Options button and select "Swap with Birth Information".
If you want the ability to not include these "Alt. Birth" events in a report, like a book, just mark the event as "private" by placing a checkmark in the "Private" box in the lower right of the Event screen. Then, in the Report Options' Privacy tab, select to either include or not include "events marked private".
Maybe it's just me, but do you find conflicting information in your ancestors' records too?