While putting some of the family histories into a binder form to share with relatives, I'm reviewing the records I attached in order to create a timeline for each generation. In doing so, I'm finding records that I may have attached that are not, in fact, my ancestor. As a newbie, I tended to attach anything I found that came up with a little leaf on ancestry.com. Now, of course, I know that these records are not necessarily for the person I'm looking for. My husband's great-grandmother, Sarah Kirkpatrick, after his great-grandfather's death in 1913, can be found on the pension records for her civil war widow's pension in Shelby, Alabama. Looking for her on the 1920 census, I thought I had found her living with one of her sons, Arthur, in Etowah, Alabama. The record lists Arthur Kirkpatrick, the same age as "our" Arthur, living with his mother, Sallie Kirkpatrick. Further research, however, finds that this is not the same Arthur at all. His death record shows his parents names as John (rather than William) Kirkpatrick and Sarah Pruett (rather than Carter). I'm still searching for our Sarah in 1920; her pension records are in Shelby until her death in 1928, but I'm coming up with nothing there so far.
I've had a few instances like this where I attached a record that has turned out not to be for my ancestor. This makes for lots of cleaning up when you go back in to review. So I've learned to read the record! Compare the locations, look into the other family members to see where they were. Even records from another relative's tree are not necessarily correct. Take time before you conclude that you've found your ancestor in a record.