"There is a belief that seems to be increasing amongst those interested in tracing their ancestries that everything can be found on the Internet. In fact, this not only is erroneous, but leads to particular hazards in research."
Such is how Cecil R. Humphery-Smith began his article, "Ancestry Tracing and the Internet" in the latest edition of the BYU Family Historian electronic journal.
He continues by admonishing genealogists to perform careful research:
"Often we have come across pedigrees made up from the sources found on the Internet. The late W. H. Whitmore admonished genealogists nearly a century and a half ago not to insult true progenitors with false claims to others. Links to others who are entirely unrelated are readily established by using the Internet indiscriminately. There are those who resent any professional genealogists questioning the erroneous conclusions or trying to correct what has clearly gone wrong. But what is the point of producing a family tree that links you with somebody to whom you are simply not related? Or, why put effort into family history that may be the story of someone else's ancestor?"
The article gives examples of potentially inacurrate or incomplete databases and compilations so you can be better prepared when evaluating others' work. We recommend the article for researchers of all expertise. Click here for the article.