You Found What?

“I found this great book (or online family tree). It pushed my family tree back five more generations!!” How many times have you heard that and wished, “Where is the book like that about my family?” Well maybe you should think twice about that wish. How reliable is that book?

Oh the joys and frustrations of compiled genealogies and online family trees! They can be great if they’re well written and include sources for their information BUT they can be practically useless if they don’t have citations or sources. Those that do have citations can add generations to your family tree provided they cite reliable sources AND you can go to some of those sources and confirm their findings.

If the compiled genealogy or online family tree does not have sources, then proceed with caution. Maybe look at them as a possible guideline to your research by taking the names, dates, and places provided and see if you can find your ancestor in records that agree with what is given. Never, never, never take them as the gospel truth!! In today’s copy and paste world, yes, you can build a family tree quite rapidly but is it accurate? Nothing compares to good solid research in primary source documents that can stand the test of time and thorough scrutiny.

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