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Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts ………

No, this is not a rap on anyone of Greek heritage, but rather an age old warning from the times of the Trojan Horse.  I use it to bring up today’s tip … especially for those folks who are new to this work.

Beware of information listed in family trees that is not documented!  If someone has loaded up names, but hasn’t the time time to load up the evidence that supports the inclusion of a name, be wary ….. be VERY wary!

I just ran into my second egregious example of this in my own Phillips family line.  In one case, someone has posted an extensive amount of family tree informaton, purports himself to be an ‘expert’, but then has not posted a shard of evidence to support this massive tree — much of which is completely false.  Numerous complaints have been filed on this fellow, but his trees and misinformation continue to circulate and be used as ‘base information’ by many.

This was shortly after I ran into another tree online.  This one had generations past what I had researched and when I found additional references to these same folks on multiple trees of other peopole, I was told that it all came from the same tree of one person.  When I asked that person, I was told that he had all the documents, but just hadn’t posted them.  As I did my own research I found that several of this listings were wrong.  He has refused to change his information and folks out there are still using his erroneous information as the basis for their trees.

So remember, while undocumented trees might give you a lead, be very careful of wasting too much time if they are undocumented and contain no supporting evidence.  If you contact the owner and they balk at quoting their sources, then run as fast as you can!

I wasted far too much time as a newbie on this kind of posting.  I was gulible enough to think that everyone was like me ….. intent on finding the truth with evidence.  Sadly, I learned, not so.

So save your time for those trees where the owner has solid evidence to support their claims.  If they do that, then that is indeed a gift …. from a Greek or anyother nationality!

Now let’s get Onward To Our Past,

Scott

  1. Claudia's Genealogy Blog Reply

    I know the feeling. I found two trees that listed my great great grandfather. The first discrepancy was he never emigrated to the USA and the second (RED FLAG) he was born in 1846 and his "son" was born in 1852.

    I think people just write to fill the space on their trees.

  2. Elizabeth Reply

    I only use online trees as possible leads but NEVER put that information into my own tree until I've verified it. However, sometimes those leads are good and I've broken through a couple of brick walls that way.

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