02 November 2012

Avoiding 5 Common Genealogy and Family History Research Errors



The Rootsonomy blog recently had a great article about 5 research mistakes family historians want to avoid.

The short list is:
1. Don't believe everything you see or read.
2. Always document WHERE you got EVERY fact in your tree.
3. Avoid making assumptions.
4. Don't rush backward in time.
5. Don't assume you are related to Abraham Lincoln.

And, do read the full article both for the accompanying images and further details about each research mistake.

Let me add my 2 cents (maybe with inflation now 5 cents) to the first item!  Even “original” documents contain errors!  Just because information is found on a “primary” document (e.g. a birth certificate) does not mean it is accurate.  My grandmother’s birth certificate had 1 piece of data that was correct – every other data point had an error of some kind!  Given that, go for a preponderance of evidence before you draw a conclusion on a birth date, a birth place, what a person’s name is.  We so often want to dot the Is and cross the Ts and yet what do you do when every document has someone’s name “differently?”  What is their “real name?”  The one listed on their birth certificate?  The one mom called them by?  The one they used?  The one on official documents? Which is truly their name?

What “common” research mistakes would you like to warn your fellow genealogists and family historians about?




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