Thursday, August 29, 2013

Avoid Climbing the Wrong Tree



Are you placing too much trust in information found online?
Here are 5 tips to help us all avoid climbing someone else's family tree.

1. RECOGNIZE THAT THE INTERNET IS ONLY A TOOL. Used wisely, the Internet can be a great tool in helping us trace our family history. Using it unwisely can result in inaccurate information being passed on to future generations.
2. UNDERSTAND THE NEED FOR ACCURACY. To be sure that the record you are compiling is reliable, don't accept any information posted online as accurate without verifying it yourself. There is so much information out there on the Internet that has not been accurately researched or interpreted.
3. SEARCH ORIGINAL RECORDS. Be sure to verify any information you find online by searching the original record or a digitized/microfilmed version thereof. Online subscription sites can be useful, but we need to be aware that only a small percentage of reliable, original genealogical documents are currently available online.
4. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Genealogical research is a skill that is acquired through education and practise. Viewing a genealogical document is one thing, accurately interpreting and using the information for maximum benefit is another. Attend conferences, join a genealogical society or group in your local area and in areas where your ancestors lived. Take advantage of learning opportunities online. Education is the key.
5. OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL HELP. There are many reputable companies and individuals who have expertise and access to records you don't have. When research becomes difficult, admit that you cannot do it alone and seek help from a professional genealogist.

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