To my great surprise I discovered that the second of the three men was not listed in my tree. I had skipped a generation! I first entered this information into my program and as a tree on Ancestry.com around 1994, so this flawed information has been out there on the web for almost 20 years!
Had I taken the time, anytime within those many years to look generation by generation at the birth dates of the successive Ritschards in my family line, it should have triggered me to take another look, as the birthdates went from 1563 to 1605. That is a forty-two year gap between generations. When I entered Melcher Ritschard b. 1584, that narrowed the gap to a much more acceptable twenty-one years.
The big question is: How many people throughout the world have imported this information into their data bases without catching that error? I am afraid the number is huge. My excuse is that for four generations the names run Melchior, Melchior, Melchior, Melcher, Michel and Michael. However, it is an excuse and not a very valid reason for the omission. So the moral of the story is: don't take for granted the data in your family tree--especially on your major family lines! It is worth taking a few minutes to scan through your major family lines and make sure the generation gaps make sense.