Usually when I’m looking for a person in my family I do so by the census. That way I’m able to see a person and their parents. Sometimes the person will still be living with their parents the first few years into their marriage, so I’m able to see the parents and their spouse. When that doesn’t work, however, I try to find death certificates to link a person to their parents. For example, I knew my 4th great grandfather’s name, Ned Spearman, and his father, my 5th great grandfather,` who was Willis Spearman, but I didn’t know his mom’s name. Using his death certificate, I was able to find that his mother was Maryan Floyd.
There has also been a time where I may have found the census to be wrong. I’ve been looking for my Great Grandmother Corrine Dodd, and I find a census that has her and her family listed, the only problem is that her family is listed on ancestry as being white. I think this may be an error, though because when I look at the actual census, it looks like there’s an “n” written there instead of a “w”. Is it just me or does am I not the only person who sees it?
Listed here are Corrine and her siblings, along with her mother/father Josie/Josey (In one see census I’ve seen it listed as a male and in another as a female) along with someone named Otis Free.
Below is a picture from the same census where they’ve used a “w” for race.