How Reliable Are Published Genealogies?

How to determine the accuracy of published genealogies

Have you ever ever questioned how correct revealed household historical past and family tree books are?

I am completely satisfied to debate tips on how to consider these compiled family tree sources to find out if the ebook you are attempting to make use of is respected, dependable, or simply filled with junk.

How correct and dependable are these revealed household histories?

Nicely, it might be filled with junk.

Probably the most well-known fraudulent family tree is ” it was titled very promisingly, The Horn papers; Early Westward Movement on the Monongahela and upper Ohio, 1765-1795.” You may learn this free of charge on the Web Archive.

This ebook appears to be like genuine and authoritative with:

  • excerpts from diaries
  • transcriptions data, like tax data
  • footage of artifacts
  • maps
  • and extra.

Sadly, a newspaper article revealed in 1947 known as it the “Great Horn Swoggle.” Moreover, some researchers refuted this complete piece of labor within the William and Mary Quarterly. You may also learn concerning the Horn Papers from the Library of Congress.

I did not share that to make you assume nothing revealed is correct. Many individuals in family tree say, “Simply because it is on-line doesn’t suggest it is correct.”

Nicely, the identical will be true about one thing in print. Simply because it is in print doesn’t suggest it is correct. There’s a risk that something printed won’t be legitimate.

Reviewing Revealed Household Histories in Our Family tree Analysis

Now that you understand that revealed genealogies aren’t at all times correct, how do you decide them to find out their reliability?

Within the video talked about above, I showcased a couple of sampling of revealed household histories. These embody:

  • a lineage ebook from the Daughters of the American Revolution
  • A register-style family tree ebook revealed in 1994 generally known as the Consolation Guide
  • A register-style family tree with some citations generally known as The Consolation Households of America
  • a printed generational household historical past with in depth supply citations known as The Descendants of Reinhold and Mathew Marvin

To view these examples, watch this video

How are you aware if any of those printed books are correct?

Based on a weblog publish produced by the New York Public Library: acknowledged that household historians typically “present a scarcity of genealogical potential and a stunning preponderance of credulity, particularly the place an try is made to attach the household written about with some historical English home.”

Oh, no! Ought to I fear concerning the Reinhold and Mathew Marvin ebook as a result of it traces the household ancestry to Essex County, England?

Ideas for Assessing the Accuracy of a Revealed Family tree

Earlier than we start panicking, maybe we should always evaluation a couple of guiding rules.

1. Search for Evaluations of a Family tree By Others

The article, Finding and Using Published Genealogies from Family, suggests on the lookout for evaluations and evaluations of these early household histories. These critiques could seem within the Nationwide Genealogical Society Quarterly, the American Genealogist, or the Federation of Family tree Societies.

I had by no means considered looking for evaluations such as you would search for a criticism of a ebook by Jane Austin.

2. Seek for Supply Citations

If there are citations in a ebook, truth examine among the creator’s sources. For instance, can you discover a doc primarily based on the footnotes or endnotes?

The article additionally says, “Respected genealogists at all times embody references so different researchers can purchase the unique sources themselves.”

If you cannot discover a acknowledged family tree supply, why cannot you?

  • Did it by no means exist, to start with?
  • Was it broken or destroyed?

For those who can find the cited supply, does the documentation say what the creator or compiler says it says?

The Consolation Households of America and the Reinhold and Matthew Marvin books do have findable data. However, for essentially the most half, they help the claims within the revealed genealogies.

3. Seek for Reality Affirmation

The Legacy Tree Genealogists firm suggests investigating how nicely the story is documented. So, not solely do you wish to search for citations. But in addition see if you could find different documentation for the tales.

A latest challenge of mine targeted on Luther Titus, a pioneer to Los Angeles County, California. Luther just isn’t solely fairly nicely documented in revealed and compiled genealogies, however he is additionally nicely documented in land data, census data, newspaper articles, and the like.

If you evaluation a printed family tree, see an ancestor seems in a number of sources.

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4. Discover the Informant of the Proof

The subsequent factor is to find out who initially supplied the knowledge to the particular person compiling the analysis.

Learn the ahead in any of the books you uncover. You wish to understand how the ebook happened, who equipped a few of these authentic data, and when.

Within the Consolation Households of America ebook, the authors indicated that they did seek the advice of letters, diaries, bibles, census data, and land data. The authors defined their restricted citations on this trend.

“We’re not trying a proper family tree. We now have given little house to the quotation of sources of our info or to our proof of our assertion. We now have most well-liked to provide our house to genealogically unimportant, however personally attention-grabbing or revealing bits about family members when they’re out there.”

What does the ahead or creator commentary let you know about how a ebook got here to be?

Against this, the Reinhold and Matthew Marvin ebook wished to show every thing intimately. Furthermore, the authors tied into an English household that wished readers to belief that lineages’ accuracy.

5, Analyze the historic context

Legacy Tree Genealogists additionally strategies asking whether or not the details make sense throughout the historic contents of the time?

This tip brings me again to my notorious Charles Gordon, who’s at all times linked to Nathaniel Charles Gordon.

  • Charles Gordon is at all times in Pennsylvania.
  • Nathaniel is nearly at all times in North Carolina and generally in South Carolina.

The context of the period does not help him and his spouse hopping as much as Pennsylvania solely to return to the Carolinas.

Nevertheless, the large kicker downside for a lot of revealed genealogies facilities on when and the place his kids have been born. Apparently, three youngsters have been born in the identical yr in three completely different states to the identical girl.

I’ll vote no on this info. It fails the historic context precept.

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New Proof Might Refute the Earlier Analysis

Even when a beforehand revealed household historical past meets the factors for reliability, it might nonetheless have inaccuracies.

New proof could come to gentle that overturns your beforehand found analysis.

To study what to do when that occurs, watch the FHF Further members-only video entitled, “What do you do when analysis overturns your beforehand found conclusions?”

Extra Family tree Analysis Suggestions

For extra ideas and doing family tree analysis, learn the next: