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Come on, this must have happened to you too

Okay, so there I am on minding my own business, building my tree, armed with a plethora of family history and dates. Then some kind soul emails me through Ancestry and tells me that someone one of the branches of my tree is wrong (my great grandfather). The tree that I so carefully filled was wrong?

So what happens if you make an error on your tree? Do you toss it out and start all over again? No, you work the steps from yourself back through time until you find all the facts. But what if you aren’t wrong? You begin the laborious task of proof all over again anyway.

The Irish name in question is so common that maybe my tree and her tree are both right.

Go back to basics and your sources:

My tree is made up of facts from the family bible and family sources:

family bible pages can be indecipherable, but can contain some of the best information

You can find some records on Ancestry:

You can find priceless information in texts online that contain a lot of detail - most of the books on (where this page comes from) are also available for free on Google books

Or, you can go to my favorite FREE site – FamilySearch – and find transcribed records of historical texts:

So, the next time your information is challenged, remember that you may actually be right and, just to recheck yourself, you can use these sources.



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The giant time-suck

Now, using the term time-suck might imply that certain activities are a complete waste of time. Not so. In my world, a giant time-suck is something that you are enjoying so much that you forget time and may neglect other activities. For example, game playing. I currently have worked my way through the Heroes series and am now on Heroes V and eagerly await the publication of Heroes VI. When I play Heroes time flies. has now entered the realm of time-suck. Those little green leaves pop up everywhere and you feel compelled to see what’s there. Before you know it you find the page that shows all of the people in your tree who have hints (I have over 1,000). When you pull up a hint and deem it worthy to be attached to your tree, it begets more and more hints. Then when you see that some ancestors appear more than once in your tree (see my post about repetition), you feel compelled to correct things for hours. Thus begins the time-suck phenomenon. You end up hours later wondering how your pleasant evening bled into the next day at midnight or 1:00 am, all other responsibilities sizzling on the back burner.

Moral of the story: Set time limits for yourself, particularly in genealogy, or an activitiy can take over your life.

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Posted by on February 12, 2011 in random musings


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My oh my, repetition, repetition

So, I was spending hours searching through and importing data from other family trees and historical records. Later, much to my horror, when looking up a person on my tree I found him in there twice! When I looked further, I found more than one person was in there twice. It seems that many of the family trees I had used as source material had the repetitions as well. Fortunately the damage was minimal and I was able to delete the repetitions on my tree without disrupting the verified material I had there.

Lesson learned: watch out for repetitious information.

Then I got an email from Ancestry with possible matches for my tree. I clicked the link to check all and was presented with 7 pages of names with hints. Most of these were more distant branches of the tree that didn’t present a direct link to me. Each time I updated one, it opened other branches and more names would pop up on the list.

Another lesson learned: it isn’t necessary to put all the children of all of the relatives on tree – they only sprout more leaves.

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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in tools


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