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Beginning Genealogy Lesson #8
Previously Compiled Genealogies

DearREADERS,
As you work through the resources at libraries you will run across printed family histories, compiled indexes and CDs of genealogy data. As you browse online file libraries, visit Internet sites devoted to your surnames, join surname mailing lists, etc., you are also tapping into the vast wealth of information in previously compiled genealogies.

As valuable as these sources appear to be, you must take them with a grain of salt.

It is incumbent upon serious family historians to get to the root of the matter.

Consider what documentary evidence supports the assumptions of lineage.

I am currently working on my DUTTON line in England. For years, we had thought the father of our John Dutton 1693 was John. We received this information from a book on the Dutton family. However, there were no footnotes stating the source of this information. I have diligently searched the records for John Dutton's christening records in the local parish which fortunately are available on microfilm. I have not yet located his christening entry.

The real kicker is the total lack of references to any Duttons in the parish registers for the place where the family was reputed to live for three generations. In fact, a review of extant church records for the entire county indicate that Duttons (none with our known given names) are found in only one parish about 50 miles east of the area in question.

Getting back to the concept of evaluating previously compiled genealogies... its possible to use them to find good clues. Better still are those family history books that cite the sources of information for each point. Your job is to verify each source mentioned. (You would want a copy of the wills, census, marriage and christening records for your ancestors anyway, wouldn't you?) Determine if you arrive at the same conclusions of relationship as the original researcher. You may have additional information which was not available at the time of publication. Don't be afraid to rock the boat.

Locating Previously Compiled Genealogies

Just remember, when using previously compiled genealogy, its better to question than to perpetuate the myth.

For Further Reading:

Beginning Genealogy Lessons: http://www.DearMYRTLE.com/lessons.htm

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy


1995-2005 Pat Richley HOME | Ask | Blog | BookShelf | ContactLessons | Listen | Add to My Yahoo | PodCast media RSS feed | Read | Search | RSS feed
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