Monday, April 18, 2016

The Temptation of Genealogy Shortcuts

Who among us hasn’t logged onto and found one of our lines done in its entirety? Or if not in its entirety then at least several generations. The feeling of elation is overwhelming. How great is this, finding our family tree done for us? Slow down!! Everything on is not true. You need to treat these lucky leaves just as you would any other suspect information.

I do enjoy looking at the research or lack there-of presented on Ancestry as fact. Unless you can see that it has a primary source backing it up, don’t add these items to your tree. 

What you can do is to put them into your shoebox for further research. Think of them as a possible lead to something. Not everyone who shares their trees and information is a genealogist in the true sense. A true genealogist understands the importance of sources.

Having said that, some of the best finds can come in this way since every family has its own stories that are passed down and you may find one that has never been heard in your branch.

Genealogy is painstaking work and there are no shortcuts, every piece of information needs a source 
and if no primary source is available then at least two secondary sources. Even then, facts can’t always be verified which leaves you at a spot no one wants to be, possibly heading in a false direction. 

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