This article really shows why it is important to find the original (or at least the earliest copy) of a document, and not just rely on published books, or derivatives of a document. Much like a game of telephone, where the message is slightly altered every time someone repeats it, derivatives can slightly alter the meaning, wording, or spelling of a document.
I visited the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, GA, in the summer of 2012. Specifically, I was looking for records concerning James Trainer or Trainor. I found original records of his marriage bond and some land records.
James Trainer was a resident of Georgia. He is found on the early Land Lotteries about 1805. He married a woman named Ann in 1794, in Columbia County, Georgia. The record of that marriage can be found in the Georgia State Archives in Morrow, GA. A copy of the document is below.
Know all Men by these presents that We James Trainor and Peter Watson are held and firmly bound unto Lewis Gardner Register of probate for the County of Columbia in the full and just sum of five hundred pounds Specie, for which payment well and truly to be made and done We bind ourselves our heirs, Excecutors and administrators for and in the whole firmly by these presents Sealed with our Seals and dated the twenty seventh day of September In the year of our Lord one thousand seven hudnred and Ninety four.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereaas the said REgister of probate hath this day Licensed any Minister of the Gospel or Justice of th peace to join in the Honorable State of Matrimony ^James Trainor of the one part and Ann Biven of the other part, provided there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said Marriage and they the said James Trainor and Peter Watrson or either of them do well and truly save harmless the said Register of probate and all and every other person or persons whatsoever then this obligation to be void and of none effect or else to remain in full force & virtue.
Signed Sealed in presence of James mark/his Trainor (LS)
Lewis Gardner Peter Watson (LS)
A published source, “Columbia County, Georgia, Early Marriage Records” published by Georgia Pioneers (no publication date), page 40 shows:
Trainor, Joseph (or James?) & Ann Biven (Bice?) Sept 27, 1794.
An online source, Columbia County, Georgia, GenealogyTrails site, list Joseph Trainior to Ann Bevan, Sept 27, 1794. The source was the …. http://genealogytrails.com/geo/columbia/marriages_early.html
Another source shows James Trainer to Ann Brice, AND Joseph Trainer to Ann B****. When I was at the Georgia Archives, I looked for both records, but only James to Ann Biven was found. The Joseph name and the Brice surname are all misinterpretations of the record.
Obviously, from the original record, it was not a Joseph who married Ann Biven–it was James.
Looking at the handwriting for the bride’s name, we see this:
It is not impossible to get Brice out of this calligraphy, but it definitely looks like Biven.
One more detail to share is the last name. Remember, at this time, most people were not educated. Many could write their names, but some could only write their initials–used as a mark. James Trainer signed with a mark. Note that the clerk spelled Trainer with the -or spelling.
Both spellings are interchangeable, and it truly is a preference of the researcher, however, living descedants who bear the surname use the -er spelling. Other spellings could be Traner, Traynor, and in some Schuyler County records, Trainor was transcribed as Francis (so, check Frainor just in case!).
I have been sharing this correction since my trip to Georgia in 2012. Here is an old post from the defunct (but still searchable) Genforum website.
DNA connections have been popping up for distant Trainer cousins. Unfortunately, many of the trees associated with these connections have Ann Brice as the wife of James Trainer. A few even have an Anna Maria Tilghman Brice–which is completely illogical as the Tilghman woman was never in the same states as James Trainer and died in the 1850s still married to her Brice husband.
A lot of sites list the wife of James Trainer as Ann Bevans, which is a variation of Biven. It could also be Beaven. There was a Joseph Bevan who is listed in land lotteries along with James Trainer–no indication if Joseph Bevan is related to Ann Biven, but there were very few Bevan/Biven records found in early Georgia.
I share this information and the image of the original record to help combat the incorrect information found in so many online trees. I hope people will correct their online trees. I hope this helps us all.