Thursday, October 31, 2013

Genealogy Is Also About Family

Genealogy is about family. Sometimes it is about our own family, other times it is about helping someone else with theirs. Things cause twists and turns in our lives that we don't always foresee, which often makes our lives - and genealogy - more interesting. However, when you're going through those twists and turns, it isn't always pleasant. Right now, my family is is undergoing one of those tough times. Let's call it a "Family Emergency," and leave it at that. Thus, this blog is taking "Family Leave," for a week or two while I deal with that other, unpleasant side of genealogy. Let's just hope I don't have to record a vital record in between. Until then, keep searching.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons Learned From The Rearview Mirror

The true value of taking notes really does not hit us until we have been at it for years. No, it is not an age thing, but rather maxing out your mental hard drive. Few people after even a mere ten years, can recall everything they’ve seen or learned or read about the major details they have uncovered. So, when that critical time comes, and you are looking for that one piece of data that will connect everything, you had better have notes or you could spend years trying to find it. 

The more organization you have the better. A daily journal can help, but that will leaves you reading through hundreds of pages of other material to find what you are looking for,that is, if you managed to see its value at the time so that you noted it. Better is to keep surname research folders with named files under them. For example, you create a folder entitled “Genealogy Jones.” 

Depending upon how much research you expect to accumulate, you might need sub-folders, especially if you anticipate a large family, or covering many generations or if you  are using many types of resources, or artifacts.

By artifacts, this could cover diaries, descriptions of jewelry and appraisals, along with provenance (or the piece’s history), a spinning wheel, photos, paintings, a saddle, or a zillion other things. Anything that is of value, or has a history that is not clearly obvious to an outsider, should have a file with notes on what it is, where it came from, who did it originally come from; when it came into the family; and from whom did it come and that history. Pictures should also accompany the item. Transcriptions should be made of any written items, along with notes, and dates, and citations. You never know when it might show up on Antiques Roadshow.

Sub-folders can be set up for individuals or family groups. Files within would include their data, pictures, documents, or notes that are clearly labeled to ease finding them later, etc.

Here is an example: under the folder, “Genealogy Jones,” you might find John Jones as a sub-folder with details about him, photos, scans of documents, etc., included as files within this sub-folder. But, what if you find that he is also listed in places as John Jones Roskerdal?  You might want to have a file under “Genealogy Jones,” (not in the sub-folder) named “John Jones Roskerdal Notes 24 Oct 2013.” These notes would describe the connection, include sources, and links, if applicable, to find the data again, if necessary. By being a file instead of a folder, it saves time rather than scouring a sub-folder.

This may sound excessive, but the more compulsively detailed your files, especially, your notes, the easier it will be in the future to locate the details.

There are certain situations, where you simply have to over-organize to make sense of a situation. Having done this several times in the past, I can tell you that it is a long, sometimes confusing task, but also one that will make life much easier for years to come.

One of the situations that caused me to devote nearly a month (fortunately, it was January and I was recovering from back surgery) to such a task was finding which John Floyd was which over the course of several censuses. I was trying to sort out the households headed by a male Floyd in Cornwall, England, on the censuses from 1841 through 1881. Combining those years, I found 236 households fitting this criteria and from that, I found 236 individual males in as head of household in one or more of those censuses. 

The problem that drove me to do this was that, among those males, there was very little variety in first names. During that time, forty-six different men named William (out of a total of 236) headed households. Thirty-six different men were named “John.” There were twenty-seven with the first name of Richard, twenty-two more were named Thomas, another twelve were named James, with those named “Peter,” coming in just behind at eleven. Those six first names, accounted for 144 out of 236 men with the surname of “Floyd” on those censuses. Sorting them out was the only solution! 

I created a separate folder and gave each man a file with a three-letter code and a number. For example, the oldest John Floyd that I found was JOH-1 and the youngest was JOH-36. In each file, I listed the census data from wherever they were documented, including their childhoods. Thus, for example, JOH-20 might have been on the census with his father, JOH-11, which was copied into both files and the connection documented on each, along with any birth, marriage, or death (BMD) documentation and where to find it, along with the citations regarding that document so I could find that easily in the future when I needed it. Believe me, I have needed it.

What I need now, and wish I had started years ago, are notes regarding documents. I need something to tell me how I learned this, and who told me what. Data on how I came to find something, where I saw that, etc. So, do yourself a favor by making notes now and your future self with thank you.

Regarding DNA work, I just received a book that adds even more to what I have learned, so my blog may have to be done in installments, cover it in parts, rather than all at once. I plan to have the first installment soon, very soon.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Clock is Ticking!!!

The clock is ticking! Really! Last Friday, moments after I published my last blog installment, an email popped up, informing me that I am now “on the one-year clock,” meaning that my application has been accepted and the real work begins. The email came with the latest version of the BCG’s suggested schedule for the first six months, so that I might use my time efficiently to complete my portfolio. The BCG web site has earlier version listed here ( ) and in order not to violate copyright, I am linking to their site rather than copying it verbatim here. They promised to have the updated schedule on their site, to match what I received, very soon.

So... I looked at the first month and decided that it wouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve already watched the online certification video: and taken the Are You Ready?” test, which you can take, too, at: Over the weekend, I joined the online group especially for those of us who are on the clock.

I gulped. I panicked. Some of these people have résumés in genealogy that make me wonder why the BCG doesn’t just hand them over their certification and be done with it. Apparently, I learned, the BCG does not operate that way. Everyone has to prove themselves to a panel of three, or occasionally, four judges. The way you get your judges is very intricate to avoid bias, I would think. The BCG has a pool of about forty-five judges and when your portfolio arrives, it is sent to randomly to a judge (all are volunteers). That judge selects another judge in secret to then forward the portfolio to so it can be judged. Judge #2 the secretly chooses Judge #3 and send it to that judge. If they do not all approve or if there is a discrepancy, a fourth judge will be assigned to make a decision on your portfolio. This can take several months.

If you receive approval, then you have it for five years. Renewal time rolls around and you must submit an updated portfolio, to show that you’ve been doing something with your certification, rather than just resting on your tush and proclaiming yourself a genealogy god/goddess. 

Scary? Yes. What if they don’t like me or my portfolio isn’t good enough???  Then, I saw what came next on the list: my résumé. Seriously. As if I planned this genealogy career out and now can regurgitate it onto paper. I am so not ready for this part.

What have I been doing for, well, all of my life? What about the past seventeen years, particularly with genealogy?

I’m not sure I remember the last seventeen days! Do you remember the past seventeen years of your life - in detail? ....My point exactly. If anyone happens to remember any key parts of my past seventeen years (of genealogy research) can you please remind me? Pictures are fine. Feel free to post them, although some of the best memories and scenes, such as sinking into a grave, as the sun drops over the horizon, in an overgrown cemetery in Cornwall, are not recorded on film. 

There may be some in existence somewhere showing a tiny blond-haired girl, traipsing behind me as we searched the stacks of genealogy books at the Southern California Genealogy Library in Burbank. That little girl is now a tall beautiful woman, who thankfully, no longer refers to it as “torture.” I think.

I know that somewhere, there are photos of the wonderful people I’ve found and even met thanks to genealogy. I will have to dig those out. Pictures should count for something in my résumé, shouldn’t they? 

Just one more thing to figure out and I’m still working on the DNA blog, which should be out later this week. So, I’m off to sort this out and more! Be back soon!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Swept off my Genealogy!

Hello, World! What a week this has been! Fortunately, the government did not default, although it did veer perilously close to it, and the shutdown cost the American people something in the range of 24 Billion dollars. The good news is that, as of today, Friday, the 18th of October, 2013, the government has reopened, including the National Archives (NARA)! See for yourself:

This means that one of the six main books I need, Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, published by National Archives and Records Administration, in 2000. is available. The year listed is a very important thing to make note of if you are thinking about buying this book. Why? Well, while the government was shut down, I was doing some book shopping in preparation for my certification. Not having this particular book bothered me, especially since I am fortunate (read: super-lucky!) enough to live about 30 minutes away from a branch of The National Archives and I am sure that I will be making that trip quite often in the coming months. But, I digress (my trademark) so back to book shopping. I had quite a list of supplemental books, suggested but not required, by the BCG. I went browsing online and quickly found lots of editions of used copied of Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States. Score! Some booksellers had very specific details about the books that they were hawking, others did not. When I found a book that I had been looking for since 2005, I was giddy. Browsing became shopping as I was finding copies of used books for fabulously low prices. Then, I noticed down at the bottom, in small print, the description. This one book caught my eye because it mentioned the condition as “smelling of cigarette smoke.” I backpedaled like mad. My stomach was turning as I went to my shopping cart and virtually went through my bargains, one-by-one, reading every tiny detail. When I came to Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, a major bargain at just $3.95, I saw something. The details explained the price. It was from 1986. That was 27 years ago. It occurred to me that they may have added some things ( like computers) and rearranged just a bit in the past 27 years. I checked the BCG’s list and saw that they specifically listed the 2000 edition, which I admit isn’t exactly cutting edge. However, in this case, newer is decidedly better. After lots of quality time, I had a nice little order of bargains on order, making the hunt worth it!

Speaking of books, a few days ago, I was reviewing the  list of the main books required to follow my path to my goal of becoming certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). At the time, when I came to one of the books, Mastering Genealogical Proof, by Thomas W. Jones, I realized that it was all over the web, sort of like when Oprah comes out with a list of books for her book club, only bigger. It was weird for a genealogy book to cause such excitement. Note: This is not hyperbole but real excitement, such as book clubs and reading groups getting together for web meetings, etc., all over this book. I stopped in the middle of writing my blog and decided to order it, before saying anything more about it. I kept thinking that either this Jones guy was either some media creation or that I was overlooking something. After all, I have read a considerable number of genealogy books and, while they often contain important information, I can’t really say that any of them have been exciting. 

So, in planning my blog (yes, I have finally learned that the only way to actually produce a continuing blog is to have some idea of where you’re going ahead of time) I decided that my order of Mastering Genealogical Proof logically would take at least a week to arrive. I needed more material, so I decided to do a blog entry on DNA tests for genealogy. Of course, what I did not realize was that even though I was (finally) focused when I began to read the research about the DNA tests that are currently available, was that there was so much information to digest that it was not going to be simple. It wasn’t the “just keep reading, it’ll get better,” sort of information, but the really, really complicated kind. I started the blog anyway and that is when my cousin, Ginny, emailed me. Ironically, she wrote to tell me that she had received the results of her DNA test, one that she neglected to tell about ordering and taking in the first place. I love Ginny.

Ginny and I are cousins. I know, I know! I already stated that but what I mean is that she is so-o-o my cousin. I don’t need a DNA test to know this and neither would anyone else upon meeting us. We think alike and, well, trust me to say, some of my personal favorite qualities are the ones that we share. Even writing that, I have to laugh out loud. 

About Ginny’s DNA results: She got a colorful map showing Scandinavia (not Norway, but all the Scandinavian countries) and a few more relevant countries in pretty colors, as well. There were percentages and that was about it. She called the company (a very popular, well-advertised, genealogy company) and asked about her results. What she got was all of it and the teleperson added that her siblings could get entirely different results. My research came to a screaming halt. What were they talking about? It did not end there, but the rest of the story will have to wait until next week’s blog, regarding DNA testing. You see, after talking to Ginny, I knew that my DNA blog entry needed way more research than I possibly could put forth in a day, or even two days. Thus, you can look forward to my DNA blog appearing next week, but for now, let’s go back to what I was talking about before that digression. 

I was talking about Mastering Genealogical Proof, which I’d ordered but thought that I wouldn’t see it until next week. I was trying to figure out what to do because the DNA blog wasn’t ready when...Poof! Mastering Genealogical Proof arrived in my mailbox. I ripped it open and flipped through it, expecting to see the typical, genealogical book stuff, all boring and relevant. Except it wasn’t! I could see this simply by flipping through a scant few pages. This book was wonderful. I think I gasped a little. Something happened because my husband noticed and asked, “What?” I think I said something like, “This guy must be a teacher. A really, really good teacher.” My husband, asked, “What?” again and I did not answer. I was too caught up in the fabulous book in my hands. Seriously. 

Now, I have to explain that I used to be a teacher, so I’m used to teaching materials, both good ones and bad ones. The book I held was exceptional in so many ways and I was merely looking at the part covering how to cite a book in a bibliography. I used to teach this stuff and thought, Why didn’t I think of doing this? It is so simple, but so elegant! 

I looked through it for some evidence that this guy was an English teacher and found that he has been a professor at Gallaudet University and is a past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (He could be one of my judges! Gulp!), plus he teaches in Boston University’s Genealogy Research Program. This dude knows his stuff!

Okay, so why am I so excited? He breaks down the stuff I have dreaded all my life, such as bibliographies, into bubbles showing, in order “Who?”, “What?”, “Where is?”, etc.

I understand that might not sound exciting, but each chapter is laid out in an interesting way (instead of the way some are written, where you could swear that some unhappy, multiple cat owner, wrote it sitting home alone on a Saturday night). The words just breeze by until you realize that you’ve read the whole chapter! You know that you’ve come to the chapter’s end because the format changes, asking about the material that you’ve just read. Sounds boring, right? It gets better! Yes, it reviews things but it also addresses “those” questions - the ones that you’ve always wondered about but nobody can ever answer. Issues like how to stand your ground when someone does something or wants to do something that is wrong (genealogy-wise, that is, but I’d bet he has some good parenting ideas as well). Here, he tells you how to handle it! As a genealogist with nearly seventeen years of experience, these are the questions that make me squirm, but as I am becoming a pro at this (or hope to), these are issues that I have to be able to address, squirmy or not.

Thus, if you are any sort of a genealogist, or even a teacher, it is worth your time to check out Thomas W. Jones’ Mastering Genealogical Proof. The way he presents his material makes it so easy to learn and equally easy to remember (which is ultimately what my goal is with these books). I may have to add Boston University’s program to my list of potential programs, seminars, and institutes to attend. 

Next week, plan to learn all about the pros and cons of the major genealogical, DNA tests currently on the market, and in between, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Washington has Superseded Genealogy Today

Today, I had to turn my eyes to the events unfolding in Washington, D.C., rather than to devote my time to my humble pursuit of genealogy. Know that it is a temporary pause in this blog, rather than a complete shutdown.

For now, let me tell you that I have been working on some fascinating aspects of genealogy: the high-tech world. That is taking quite a bit of time to grasp, process, and then put on paper (such as it is). What I can tell you is that as much as I would personally like announce that I have found a time-machine to make genealogy research really easy, I cannot. However, I do have some insights regarding what is available to all of us now, what it can do for you, what it cannot do, and what you need to know before wading into that pond.

Back soon!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Good Morning (Genealogy) World!

I awoke this morning ready to hit the genealogy highway, then took one look at the thick, dense fog outside, and decided to go back to bed. Why face a Monday morning before you have to, right? An hour later, the fog was gone, and I was up, mostly awake from what sounded like a drum line practicing outside. My Big Orange Buddy, all 90 pounds of him, was hiding out in the laundry room. One check of the weather wasn’t enough. I poked my head outside and found that we were having thunder hail! Colorado seasons are especially entertaining. That passed, but the Big Orange Guy still refused to leave his laundry pile.Now, an hour later, the northern windows display a gray-green sky while the ones on the south side show a cloudless sky of beautiful blue. No wait, where did that blue sky go? Welcome to weather in Colorado!

No matter what the weather, I’ve decided (partly out of necessity) that today is perfect day to attack genealogy...from least until the weather changes, again. It’s that or sitting around telling spooky Halloween stories to My Big Orange Buddy and his sidekick, Fat Happy Girl. Since they’re still a bit shaken by the weatherand they are my only live audience, genealogy it is!

Besides, weather like this is best faced with a blazing fire and a stack of books. Today, in preparation to become a certified genealogist (I am still waiting for my “official packet” from the Board for Certification of Genealogists - BCG - and realize that it’s only been 6 days, but the whole “A-student” thing has kicked in), I plan to figure out exactly what books I have and what books I still need to have on my bookshelf. 

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) makes several suggestions and I already own some of them. In fact, I have been so excited about doing this, I’ve read (parts of) several of them. Yes, I am such a nerd, so noted, so let’s get on with the books!

First on any pro’s list is Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills is what I’m referring to when I wander around the house (in case you’re visiting) muttering, “Where’s my Big Book? Come on I just had it a minute ago...” I call it that because it’s thick (nearly 2 inches), heavy, and, well, big. However, toting it around does not only build arm muscles but also answers typical genealogy questions plus some of “those questions.” Everyone has “those questions” as they’re the ones you want to ask, but are to polite to ask (and sorry to those who had other hopes but these are all G-rated). It covers topics such as “Setting Realistic Fees,” which is a.k.a in my world for, “You mean you don’t have to give it away? There’s money to be made? Whoa...” and other chapter such as “Alternative Careers,” which lists and describes a wide world of things you can do besides basic research for yourself and others. I can be a Superhero and solve crimes! Fat Happy Girl is egging me on but Big Orange Guy looks doubtful. Best to leave that part for later, I guess.

But wait! Yup, there’s a whole lot more! 

I have many, many books that I have purchased in ebook format from Barnes & Noble to use on their Nook application. I have it on many devices, but I use it mostly on my I-pad. At night. Under the covers. You get the picture? I tend to fall asleep cuddling it on occasion, but it has replaced my flashlight since it is backlit and the font size is adjustable. I can also make notes on it, bookmark pages without fear of having the bookmark fall out, and, since much of my library is all on my I-pad, I have fewer stacks of books to dust. (Like I actually do dust my books regularly! Right.) I have been able to find one handy, BCG-recommended book in Nook form and that is The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual, published by the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 2000. It is exactly what you might guess: sixty pages of standards for all aspects of certification with zero percent whimsy. I read the entire thing (punctuated by falling asleep snuggling it) in a couple of nights and for a typically dry subject, it is well-written and goes quickly. Having it on my Nook app, on my I-pad means that I can tote easily and refer to it on the go.

While not on the BCG’s must-have list, I also have Genealogical Standards of Evidence by Brenda Dougall Merriman, from 2010, on my Nook for handy reference. This is seventy pages long and the writing is lighter if the content is not. It was an easier read and I managed to read it in one night, much of which was under the covers.

Still, I lack some of the books from BCG’s primary list:

1). Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3rd Edition, edited by Anne Bruner Eales and Robert M. Kvasnicka.

The BCG web site has no link to purchase this book so I checked with Google. That took me to the National Archives website. Oddly, it says nothing in the publications about being closed for business but it did re-direct me to to purchase their publications, along with all sorts of interesting other goodies, such as neckties with things like the Emancipation Proclamation or the Bill of Rights printed on them. Could be a Gift idea - right? Who knew? But, back to obtaining my book! I reluctantly leave the cool gift items and I click on “Books.” This opens up to all sorts of editions that are not only on genealogy but anything and everything that you might want to learn about American HIstory. On my way to the assigned book, I stumbled across what seems to be a really helpful guide to using and visiting the National Archives (whenever they re-open) called, Genealogy Tool Kit: Getting Started on your Family History at the National Archives, by John P. Deeben. I continued looking for the book I was supposed to be chasing, but finally gave up and placed the name of my book into their search engine to find what I was looking for. It popped up, priced at $39.00 and as of today, in stock. Let me shortcut this for you by supplying the link: On to book #2!

2). The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. 3rd edition, written by Val D. Greenwood in 2000.

Again, we lack the link but our old friend, Google, shows me  various web sites where it is for sale ranging from approximately $20.00 to $102.00. It can also be rented under textbook plans, but I think that BCG means that it is a book to keep around rather than just rent, read, and (likely in my case) forget. Before I buy, I need to see what I am getting for such a vast range of prices. Book #3 already has me fascinated, anyway!

  1. Mastering Genealogical Proof, by Thomas W. Jones, copyrighted 2013. 

The third book that I need for this adventure is a recent copyright, but again, BCG has no easy link to buy it. I find that it is widely available for roughly $25 to $30. While I run through various sites in my search, I find that it has become something of a cult-slash-bookclub-ish-slash-group-study book all over the place. I wouldn’t doubt it if Oprah has already covered it! Intrigued, I have to order it (meaning also that I really do have to have it, according to the BCG, but now I really want it!) and learn what the fuss is about. Anybody care to enlighten me?

4). Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources From Artifacts to Cyberspace, 2nd Edition, written by Elizabeth Shown Mills, 2009

Fortunately, the BCG has provided a link to purchase this one for $59.95, excluding taxes, shipping, and whatnot. By this point, I am in my version of a dazed, point-and-click mode, but it is a must, so into my cart it goes.

Yes, I realize that none of this is in bibliographic style but it fulfills the rebellious part of me and I think that we all shudder just a little bit at the sight of anything that looks even slightly like a bibliography. Am I right? Care to spend a free afternoon diagraming sentences? I thought not.

I hope this little foray into my beginning bibliographic fun hasn’t put you off pursuing your genealogical future. I’m still determined, especially because now I want to know what the book by Thomas W. Jones has in it to stir everyone up. Enough book shopping for now! I’m off to check this Jones guy out!

P.S. When I was editing this, I accidentally clicked on the website to order from the National Archives (this one: and, in large letters was advised that the National Archives is operating under it’s quite-detailed, “Contingency Plan,” during the shutdown. I saw how complicated it was and decided to leave reading it all for later and just hope that Congress can fix things soon. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Wide World (of Genealogy)

I began digging into genealogy around 1997. When I first started researching, the internet was mostly used for communication. Once I dove into the genealogical pool by way of visiting the Southern California Genealogical Library, I realized that there was so much out there waiting to be found!  Whenever I had time and opportunity, I prowled libraries and family history centers on my own. There were seminars, genealogy fairs, and educational programs, but the information was scattered and more word-of-mouth than the easily accessible lists that are just waiting to be googled today. I wasn’t alone, but it going to seminars, etc., took time, money, and for me, a babysitter. So, I kept working in libraries and eventually online, but I owe much of my education to other researchers that I met on Rootsweb email lists.  

The best part of genealogy was, and still is, meeting people from all over the world. If there is one superior reason to begin genealogy research, it is the network of wonderful people (and family) that you meet along the way.

So, you might be thinking, why do I need to go to the trouble of getting myself board-certified in genealogy?  The genealogy world has changed. I have learned so much and in doing so, I have become dismayed at what I am seeing. More and more I find genealogies posted online that are “wishful thinking” at best and outright lies in the worst situations. I have seen my own research taken and chopped up, sprinkled with huge quantities of incorrect information, and posted on the web. Worst, they still have my name and words attached. One such tree claims that my father is his own grandfather. Another lists living people and personal details! It would take me a thousand lifetimes to track down all the misinformation and correct it. In fact, when I tried to correct several incorrect genealogies posted online, I was told that only the person posting, meaning the author of such a tree, is the only one who can change or correct misinformation. On some sites, if they don’t pay for a subscription, they might not be able to view their own work, making it impossible to change without paying. It also makes it easy for such misinformation to continue to be widely spread all over the world. 

Why should I care? It is easy enough to make a mistake on your own, even with the best of intentions. I know; it happened to me. I was researching a country 5,000 miles away and the records were not easy, nor cheap to come by. My work led me to two women named “Jane” living in the same tiny village, at the same time. Backtracking, I found from the census that they were born in the same village and were the same age. One had a transcribed record of her baptism in the IGI (The International Genealogical Index, created by the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City) but for the second Jane, there was nothing. It was not until I had squirreled away enough money to travel to England to examine the original record, that I found that my Jane, the one whose family I had so carefully documented, the one whose baptism was listed in the IGI, was indeed, the wrong Jane.  Both girls had been baptized weeks apart from the other one and even listed on the same page of the church’s official baptism record. However, the correct Jane had been left out of the IGI transcriptions, as hers was faded and at the very bottom of the register page, something easily overlooked, and thus left out of the IGI transcribed files. Once I saw her parents’ names, I realized that I had done a wonderful family genealogy of the family of the wrong “Jane.” Two years down the drain, but a lesson learned well.

After an experience such as that, I’d like to help other people prevent such mistakes. However, if they believe that what they copy and paste from a stranger’s tree is valid, just because they got it from a reputable site, or, if they believe that the data someone sent them is completely correct, they will eventually become angry, frustrated, and embarrassed, when they learn otherwise. This gives genealogists and the entire field of genealogy a bad name. This is sad because it is all preventable through education. However, in some cases, can have worse outcomes. 

For example, in the case of family trees that include medical information ( it can be as simple as listing the cause of death) the person with the wrong lineage can ignore medical conditions because they have the wrong family, when they are in fact, part of a different family and are, in reality, at risk. Conversely, they might think that they have a family history of something, when in truth, they do not, wasting time, energy, and money, not to mention accumulating unwarranted stress. Mixed-up medical issues are not the only negative situation that can arise from incorrect information, but it is an example of how risky having the wrong data can be. 

Thus, I have decided to learn everything I can about the correct way to compile genealogical information and I hope to help others find their true family lines.