The oral history that you gather can be vital in providing important clues to help you document your ancestors. Of course you should make every attempt to prove the information you are given and not except it verbatim. This is one case where the family oral history left out an ancestor, and it was discovered using a very unique record.
Naming patterns in a family can make it very difficult to distinguish one ancestor from another, and you must rely heavily on historical documentation not knowing beforehand many times if enough resources exist to do so. The Tucker descendants were under the impression that the father of George Epps Tucker (1859-1927) of Carlise, Union County, South Carolina was James Anderson Tucker (1801-1885).
Proving oral history
In searching the census, you do find George Epps Tucker, 21, in the household with James Anderson Tucker, a 78 year old widower, in 1880. The 1880 US Census does not provide the relationships to the head of household. Also living there was George B. Tucker who is the brother of James.
A search of the 1870 US Census showed only James Anderson (J. A.) Tucker and his wife Anna. George Epps would have been about 11 years old this year. So the question that remained was, "Where is George?" He has not been found yet on the 1870 Census.
Identifying other record types
It was necessary to identify other record types that would shed more light. A visit to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and a search among the probate index for Union County led to a reference to James A. Tucker. No wills were found on this visit. The record that opened the door to further information turned out to be the guardianship request by James A. Tucker for the son of George A. Tucker dated 1871. Now who was this George A. Tucker? George Epps Tucker had a son named George Anderson Tucker, but he was not born until after 1880. That now made three different George's to be concerned with.