Friday, July 4, 2014

Ever feel like you’re going in circles?

This evening I was searching for a great-great uncle. He has a common name so I didn’t know if the records I found related to him or some other person.

I decided to do a quick search of Ancestry member trees to see if there were any clues. I found only one other tree that included this man. Although the information recorded appeared to be the same, minimal, information that I had, I clicked in to take a closer look.

I noticed a source link on the side – Ancestry Family Trees. Interesting, since there were just the two of us. I’ve never bothered going further with a “Member Trees” source but this evening I was curious. I clicked the link to find this not-particularly-informative page:

image

There was another link – to view the individual member trees. While I was clicking links I may as well go there too!

My final destination was a side by side comparison of the tree I was looking at and the source tree for that information – my own tree! I had come full circle.

I think there are two things to learn from this:

  1. For genealogy newbies – or not so newbies – this is an example of why you shouldn’t blindly take other trees’ agreement with your information as any sort of verification!
  2. With a bit of patience, it might be possible to make your way through those links and work out who the first person was to enter some nugget of information since copied around all the Ancestry trees. THAT’s the person you need to talk to about the source. You want to talk to them about the source a) to save time and money and b) because it could turn out to be a privately held document that you would never find online or in an archive.