I recently saw the movie 2012. It drives me crazy when people make false assumptions--some of which are now mainstream. The Mayans did not predict the end of the world. Their calendar runs out on December 21, 2012. That's all. Just like my current calendar runs out on December 31, 2010. I'm pretty sure that Staples hasn't predicted the end of the world for January 1, 2011.
So how many false assumptions do we make in genealogy? We make them due to ignorance of the customs of either the time period or the culture (or both). Assuming spinster means a single woman. Assuming that a woman wouldn't use a previous married name when remarried, because the first name was of a greater title. Assuming that all children are mentioned in a will. Assuming that all deeds have been recorded. Ages, names, etc. we see things and our brains start clicking off with deductions and ideas. Can you stop that and take a step back, and re-assess the information stripping out the old assumptions? Ever tried?
"Misinterpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is the basis for a New Age belief that a cataclysm will take place on December 21, 2012. December 21, 2012 is simply the first day of the 14th b'ak'tun."