Monday, August 18, 2014

Do you source your Genealogy? Why not?

A great problem in Genealogy is the inability by Genealogist of the present and the past to document their work. Without the ability to show on what you base your lineage you are failing others that may want to use your genealogy currently and in the future. Not to mention failing yourself.

In the past there has been a great deal of genealogy that has not been sourced. Just because it is in a book or magazine does not make it right. There are numerous examples of research that was wrong that was passed from one publication to the next. Eventually it was excepted as fact, because it appeared in so many different places. The saying use to go that a professional genealogist could have you related to anyone you want as long as you have the money. No George Washington did not have children.

The Daughters of the Revolution had this problem in their past and now face the challenge of correcting it. Many patriots were confirmed as such without documentation. Today to join you must document your lineage to the patriot. In many cases lineages that were accepted in the old days are now rejected due to lack of documentation and for being wrong.

Ancestry appears on the scene in the late 90's and has nothing to do with documentation. I am always struck by the number of lineages on Ancestry that have no sourcing what so ever. Then on top of it 100 people claim that lineage as correct based on what? Either we are to lazy to source or we don't know how. Not real sure which one it is or it may even be something else.

I run into people all the time asking me how do I get them to correct a record on the Internet. They become very angry and don't understand how this could be allowed to happen. Then they have no problem using a lineage that has no documentation as correct. What's wrong with that picture?

My advice for all of us is to document and source our research. Try to identify at least three records to prove each event and fact. Make sure the document you are using is the best available record to use as a source. Census records do not prove birth or locations. Bible entries do.

Today's computer technology allows us to do the sourcing. If you are on Ancestry or Family Search sites now allow you to source your material. It is even put in the proper format for you to enter in your genealogy program. Don't be lazy do it. Nothing is more frustrating than when you come back to line after not working on it for a while and you wonder, "how did I come up with that?". Imagine future genealogist trying to figure out the same thing. How did they come up with that.

As always I appreciate your ideas and input. Keep hunting.