It's easy to collect masses of data about a family when doing genealogical research, and I'm among the guilty. Too often, we are seduced by finding a pedigree chart online, and are tempted to accept it as fact. Or, information gets copied over and over into various books and articles, many of which cite no sources. The trick is to determine how much of what we stumble across can be backed up with primary evidence. A case in point is the marriage of my ancestors, Lambert Eckerson and Harriet Graves. A large file found online under the title "John Graves, 1635 Settler of Concord, MA and His Descendants, has some excellent clues. Among them is the statement: "Harriet Graves, b. 20 July 1825, m. Lambert Eckerson (of Pike, NY), 1854, d. 5 Oct. 1880." I can imagine that this information has found its way into dozens of family group sheets and publications, some of which I've collected. However, a closer look can reveal a better result.
During an era when marriage records were kept in many states at the county level, New York has few examples. There are, however, a few pleasant exceptions. A quote from the New Horizons Genealogy website states the following: "New York State enacted a law in 1847 to require school districts to record Vital Records including birth, marriage and death records within their districts. However, some areas completely ignored the law and others adhered to it, but generally did not keep complete records, even for the years that were recorded. Unfortunately this law was terminated in 1849."
A trip to Wyoming County in the year 2000 revealed how valuable making an on-site visit can be. Among the holdings I was l was a slim volume of marriage records kept during the late 1840s. Sometimes miracles DO happen: the last entry for the year 1848, was the marriage of Lambert Eckerson to Harriet Graves, on December 24.