Forget the leaves

I know people love to discover whole family trees, loaded with generations of undiscovered family members. But beware, many of these family trees contain not only errors, but seriously challenged relationships that in many cases have been outright disproved by genealogical research.  Bad family trees spread their blight all over to unsuspecting novices, who assume that if it’s on the Internet, it must be true!

There are some great resources to double-check your genealogy.  The New England Historical Genealogical Society and the Mayflower Society are great arbiters of family pedigrees.  Many of their published articles can be found online through Google Books.  Your local library is also a great resource that should not be overlooked.  Although good documentation is important, good genealogical research requires a little creativity, a little inside knowledge that you have about your own family.

Finally, don’t forget to ask yourself if this makes sense.  The more information you have the more clear things become that a family you thought was yours actually is not.  When names, places, and dates don’t line up, it’s time to rethink what you have and where you’re going with it.  Only then will you be rewarded with turning over a new leaf of discovery, one that you have found on your own with a little help.

 

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