Two Henrys who married Two McWhorters

Happy Valentine’s Day!


This week, I am going to reprint an article I wrote that will give some of the problems associated with JUST using online family trees for your research, and using online and original RECORDS.  Online trees mix up the details and then confuse everyone.  It takes some careful checking to fix those mistakes.

This is an article I published in July 2011 on the site  This site is still available for viewing, but no longer accepts new submissions.

I have learned a new word–Conflation. According to Wikipedia it means: Conflation occurs when the identities of two or more individuals, concepts, or places, sharing some characteristics of one another, become confused until there seems to be only a single identity — the differences appear to become lost.

I’ve spent much of the summer pouring over my pages of Cornett documents, checking census, etc. I’m de-conflating something right now!

A Henry Cornett md. Rosanna McWhorter Jan 8, 1825 in Clay Co, KY. (Henry signed for William Cornett to wed Nancy Benge on the same day–does that indicate they were brothers? There are some conflated Williams, but I digress.)

Years later, a Henry Cornett married Mary (or May) McWhorter on 29 Oct 1847.

Online, I’ve found these two Henry’s combined into one man, and I even found a couple of family trees that listed the wife as Rosanna Mary McWhorter. I’ve seen both listed as sons of Robert and Charlotte Cornett AND of Roger and Zilphia Cornett. Simple checks of records can clear much of this up!

Henry who md. Mary was born about 1812/1815. If he also married Rosanna, he’d been 10 years old. The older Henry is listed in 1830 Clay County census as age 20-30, so born 1800-1810. I believe that this older Henry died before 1850 and his heirs received land from Robert’s estate.

Most convincing of all, though, the younger Henry has a death record in Clay County, KY, 2 Nov 1852, that lists his parents as Roger and Zilpha.  The actual death record can be found at

This leaves the other Henry to be listed as the son of Robert and Charlotte, which seems to be correct as he signs as bondsman for Elizabeth Cornett to William Chesnut–and this Elizabeth is always listed as a daughter of Robert and Charlotte.

Henry (the younger one) left a widow, Mary.  Mary McWhorter Cornett md. Jesse “Edmund” Evans on 15 Oct 1854 in Clay Co. They moved to Laurel Co, KY.  She is named as administrator on the estate for Henry.  The actual documents can be found at


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