Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Upcoming Events

  • Warner Fall Festival 2017
  • Polish Genealogy Conference 2017
dsc04074 The Genealogy Assistant will be at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival in Warner, NH October 7-8, 2016. Stop by and see me at the Upton Chandler House Museum across from the Warner Historical Society.

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pgsctne headerText Polish Genealogical Society of Connecticut and the Northeast will be having their 2017 Polish Genealogy Conference October 13-14, 2017 at the Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, CT. Click here for more info!
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Three Brushes with Death - Book for Sale

PrzezTrzyKacetyCover477a Read the memoirs of Mirosław Firkowski during his time in three Nazi concentration camps during his teenage years. Learn more about the book and how to purchase it.

A Genealogy 101 No No

treegenealogymid     While at Rootstech, a woman asked me for some help with a problem in her research. I took a look at what she had and although her question was related to finding a newspaper. I thought it would be good to see the documentation she had on the person in question, so I could be a little bit more informed. I asked her what documents she had and her reply was... "I dont have documentation, someone else does." She had used the information from a family tree that had been posted on the Internet, but had not taken a look at or verified the documentation. I told her about the old saying "Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology" and she said she had heard that before. I encouraged her to look at the documentation and evaluate it before continuing her research. It is much better to take your time and get it right. I was able to give her a name of someone I knew who might be able to address her newspaper question, so at least she did not go away empty handed and I hope that she will take my advice and verify the information in her family tree.

Posted family trees can be a GREAT help to your research, especially if you are presented with a brick wall in your research, but they should be considered as a tool in your research. We are all human and are prone to making mistakes. If the tree you find has any errors in it and you copy the information contained within, then you will perpetuate the errors especially if you also post your family tree for others to see. If you build a tree off of a mistake then not only have you spent a lot of time and money in vain, but you now have inaccurate information in your family tree and are doing a dishonor to your ancestors.

If you find a family tree that you think is part of your family tree, make sure you acquire those documents associated with it. If there is no documentation, contact the person who posted the tree and ask what documentation they have. Some people may not have documentation as they also copied information. If there is no documentation, then you will have to find the proof that is needed. If they do have documentation, examine it and verify that it is correct. Make sure you provide sources for all your documentation, to include the family tree in which you acquired it. Writing your sources is another topic onto itself. If this message reaches only one person and hits home, then this post was well worth it. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by taking your time in your research. GOOD LUCK!
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Comments 5

Guest - Rorey Cathcart on Friday, 27 February 2015 15:28

An overlooked reality with online trees is the simple fact they are mostly "works in progress" rather than completed genealogies. We have our trees at sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch or FindMyPast because we are in the process of researching our families. In the case of our most difficult or speculative lines, we might make those trees public explicitly to find cousins or collaborators. (Though that collaboration can often be had in private trees as well.)

It is incumbent on genealogists and family historians to take no source at face value. To at the very least trust but verify. You've offered great suggestions on how to assess those, at times invaluable, online family trees.

An overlooked reality with online trees is the simple fact they are mostly "works in progress" rather than completed genealogies. We have our trees at sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch or FindMyPast because we are in the [i]process[/i] of researching our families. In the case of our most difficult or speculative lines, we might make those trees public explicitly to find cousins or collaborators. (Though that collaboration can often be had in private trees as well.) It is incumbent on genealogists and family historians to take no source at face value. To at the very least trust but verify. You've offered great suggestions on how to assess those, at times invaluable, online family trees.
Guest - Terri O'Connell on Friday, 27 February 2015 17:11

So very true. I have found so many erroneous trees with my family in them. They usually make for a good laugh and then a Facebook post as to why you need to see the documentation before you do anything else with the information you found. Personally, I like the note feature. Recently I found a family tree connection that had a newspaper article attached that said the family descends through the Harrison Presidents. I sent an email to the Harrison Home and Museum in IN and asked. Received an email the next day that told me they could not find that connection. I then posted that as a note to the newspaper article. Guess I am saving the next researcher.

So very true. I have found so many erroneous trees with my family in them. They usually make for a good laugh and then a Facebook post as to why you need to see the documentation before you do anything else with the information you found. Personally, I like the note feature. Recently I found a family tree connection that had a newspaper article attached that said the family descends through the Harrison Presidents. I sent an email to the Harrison Home and Museum in IN and asked. Received an email the next day that told me they could not find that connection. I then posted that as a note to the newspaper article. Guess I am saving the next researcher.
Guest - Muriel L. Henault Locklin on Saturday, 28 February 2015 01:52

Some people don't take that kind of advise well. I tried to tell my aunt's grandson that the info he had on my great-grandmother was wrong. I knew this as I had the privilege of knowing her when she was alive. He said he no longer would be contacting me. Go figure.

Some people don't take that kind of advise well. I tried to tell my aunt's grandson that the info he had on my great-grandmother was wrong. I knew this as I had the privilege of knowing her when she was alive. He said he no longer would be contacting me. Go figure.
Guest - Miriam Robbins on Saturday, 28 February 2015 02:53

Hi, Tim,

I just wanted to let you know that this post was featured on my "Friday Finds and Follows" post at my blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.

Hi, Tim, I just wanted to let you know that this post was featured on my "Friday Finds and Follows" post at my blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.
Guest - Sydna Taylor Uteg on Sunday, 01 March 2015 17:39

I've been working as a genealogist since 1977 and in 2009 a man I was assisting at a local genealogy library took my PAF research file. It is full of mistakes and wrong turns. My family is a Taylor family of North Carolina. I was attempting to follow all the John Taylor's in NC and figure out where they were from. He has since given that file to others with my personal information including my children. He presents it as his work, we have one ancestor in common born in 1732.
Now all this bad formation is being shared on the internet. What can I do some people remove my personal information when I ask but that doesn't change the fact that bad information is being shared. Some have sources others have notes to remind me what has been researched. Most of my time on line is now spent correcting incorrect information others find and add to my work.
The information comes from my research file and no one wants to delete over 20,0000 names from their file. I have a huge number of people in my file that are difficult to research. Please let your readers know that nothing is factual unless it has documentation. Please feel free to use my story to let them know not everyone doing genealogy is concerned with quality of work. Some just want quantity. Sincerely,

I've been working as a genealogist since 1977 and in 2009 a man I was assisting at a local genealogy library took my PAF research file. It is full of mistakes and wrong turns. My family is a Taylor family of North Carolina. I was attempting to follow all the John Taylor's in NC and figure out where they were from. He has since given that file to others with my personal information including my children. He presents it as his work, we have one ancestor in common born in 1732. Now all this bad formation is being shared on the internet. What can I do some people remove my personal information when I ask but that doesn't change the fact that bad information is being shared. Some have sources others have notes to remind me what has been researched. Most of my time on line is now spent correcting incorrect information others find and add to my work. The information comes from my research file and no one wants to delete over 20,0000 names from their file. I have a huge number of people in my file that are difficult to research. Please let your readers know that nothing is factual unless it has documentation. Please feel free to use my story to let them know not everyone doing genealogy is concerned with quality of work. Some just want quantity. Sincerely,
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

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 T he long awaited day has arrived. The series of books that are guides to researching docments in other languages is complete. For awhile now, the translation guide books for Polish, Latin & Russ...

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