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October 04, 2012


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This should headline every site on the Internet, free or subscribed to. Ancestry.com has become a tangle of errors with their "click and attach" feature. I think more trees have errors than do not. New genealogists (I use the term loosely) seem to think if it is the same name, it must be the same person, never mind that a person born in 1842 could not possibly not be a child of person born in 1878! Or is in two or three vastly different places at the same time with large families in all places with different names and ages. Good research takes time and can't be done exclusively with a click of a button. Family trees complies by others should be closely examined and only used for reference to see the proof for yourself.

I also have found pedigrees online that were based entirely on one original record, the 1900 census, or on three census records... no vital records (compiled or otherwise). Yikes!

While I do essentially agree with this article but "proof" is a strong word. I can't often really offer proof about what I did two days ago. Original records are very often mistaken or mistranscribed (by the original scribe), unavailable or just plain misinterpreted. . While one must aspire to the greatest accuracy possible, proof is often a dream. And if a secondary source is used, it should show that it had access to a primary source. More than proof, common sense and a Sherlock Holmes type of deduction is what makes one's research valuable.

I have stopped using compiled trees from Ancestry.com. I rely on source records and I look at every one of them before adding to my trees. I have so many errors because of just clicking and adding. Very bad idea. I have had to delete over 1000 names. Not to mention some of those census records are not indexed right! I have just found two census records for 1880 of the same family done six months apart. I couldn't figure it out then I realized the original transcriber must of done something wrong. I have a sister for my great-great-great grandfather which I didn't have in one census record but the street address are the same the peoples names and birthdays are the same. Weird.

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