[All names below have been altered.]
I read the below obituary of a distant cousin
SCHWINN, ROBIN (nee Goldstein) … dear mother of Penny Ann (Edward) Molloy, Ethan J. (Marcia) Johnson and the late Alice First; dear grandmother of Lana (Louis) Spalding, George W., Jack C., Rachel A. Johnson and Melissa Steinway; dear great grandmother of Matthew and Michael Spalding...
From this obituary I entered three children for Robin Goldstein and __ Schwinn
- Penny Ann Schwinn – (married Edward Molloy)
- Marcia Schwinn – (married Ethan J. Johnson) (daughter Rachel)
- Alice Schwinn – (married ___ First)
Then I found Alice Schwinn’s obit
...Mrs. Schwinn…She is survived by her father, Ethan Johnson; mother, Robin Schwinn; sister, Penny Molloy; brother, John Johnson; grandmother, Opal Johnson; and close friend, Patricia Marie.
I knew something was wrong somewhere. There was no way Alice's father was her sister’s husband. And here was a brother not mentioned in the first obituary.
After a little thought I redrew the tree.
Robin Goldstein (Spouse 1: Ethan John Johnson) (Spouse 2: ___ Schwinn)
- Penny Ann ___ (married Edward Molloy)
- Ethan John Johnson, Jr. (married Marcia ___) (daughter Rachel)
- Alice Johnson (married ___ First)
It is common for individuals to be better known by their middle name than their first, especially when they share a name with a parent. It is also common for half-siblings and step parents to be referenced without the modifiers. This leads to ambiguity that sometimes doesn't appear ambiguous.