I should have known better... I really should have known better. I finally got back to my personal genealogy research after weeks away. It's been a challenge balancing my classes - I teach introductory genealogy - with my own work. There's always so much new to learn! Since I finally had time, I went right to the meaning to finish line... That would be my supplemental DAR application that's been sitting in a pile for a year. First stop, the ancestor's pension file. Of course, as I discovered, I'd never actually read the pension file.
Like many genealogists, I do look at the file. The problem is that I often end only skimming the pages. I look for marriage records, death dates, and key pieces of vital records information. If it looks like straight paperwork (application dates, etc), I often end up skipping pages. I didn't do that today - and that's when I discovered I'd been making a major mistake. Buried in the paperwork was a reference to the fact that my ancestor had six children. I had two listed. Oops...
I'm definitely going back to the birth records. I've already found at least eight kids (some died before the application date).
1.Read the pension file.
2. Check everything twice.