While you are out there trying to do research on your family genealogy, you need to keep in mind one very important thing. There is a LOT of misinformation out there, especially in this time of the internet where information flows faster than we can possibly keep up with it.
Most people begin their search by starting a family tree online at places like Ancestry or One Great Family. These are wonderful sources of information, and the larger they get the more likely it is that you can hook onto someone else’s tree and all of a sudden discover dozens of ancestors you didn’t know of before. But, and this is a big but, you cannot accept all of this as absolute truth. Any family tree that goes back far enough is going to have errors, and sites like Ancestry are not responsible for making sure the information that is shared is accurate. That is your responsibility.
How do you know if online information is accurate? Verify!
Whether it’s a personal Web page or a subscription genealogy database, all online data should include a list of sources. The key word here is should. You will find many resources that don’t. Once you find a record of your great, great grandfather online, however, the first step is to try and locate the source of that information.
- Look for source citations and references – often noted as footnotes at the bottom of the page, or at the end (last page) of the publication
- Check for notes or comments
- Click on the link to “about this database” when searching a public database (Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com and FamilySearch.com, for example, include sources for most of their databases)
V is for VERIFY – A-Z Blogging Challenge.