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should i collaborate?

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should i collaborate?

Postby missdances » Wed May 15, 2013 7:13 pm

hi there,

i have found a family tree which has my relatives on. How far would you use it? It went back as far as the 1600s! But has sort of spoiled my fun now!
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby junkers » Wed May 15, 2013 9:56 pm

I would treat any family tree, and certainly any that go back to the 1600s as needing to be proved as some researchers take information from indexes or other people and have never looked at the original documents. Use of the words for births, marriages and deaths of 'about' or 'bef' (i.e. 'Before') are indications that it hasn't been properly researched and any good researcher will give their sources and perhaps digital copies of original documents. I would suggest starting with what you definitely know and work back, stage by stage, it is also more fun!.
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby meekhcs » Thu May 16, 2013 4:06 pm

Because some people just copy other peoples work some tree owners will put incorrect info in their trees on purpose.
Use this tree as a reference by all means, but unless you carry out your own research you can never be sure that the info you are putting into your tree is right.
Keep revisiting your research because new records are appearing on an almost daily basis, and sometimes info that appears correct may in fact not be so.
Putting together your family tree takes a lot of time and effort but it is great fun and hugely satisfying when you suddenly fit another piece of the puzzle in.
Good Luck Sally
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby Sylcec » Thu May 16, 2013 11:40 pm

I totally endorse Sally's comments. Certainly on Ancestry there are a large number of trees which simply reference other trees as their source - which definitely does not count as proof. Very often there are huge errors in these trees, but nevertheless useful clues can be found.

Incidentally, while use of "abt" [about], "bef" and "aft" may indicate a halt in research, or failure to delve deeper, sometimes it simply means that despite best efforts a record of marriage, birth or death just cannot be found.

Enjoy your research. Sylvia
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby missdances » Fri May 17, 2013 9:11 am

That's great. Thanks so much for your replies. I was jubious as to whether to take them as correct as there's only birth and death years and place of birth. I'm having so much fun researching and amfocusong on one persons 'story' at a time rather than creating a list of names as otherwise I get overwhelmed. I've only been doing it for 6 months
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby Sylcec » Sat May 18, 2013 1:47 am

Sounds like you are taking the right approach. Family history research should be viewed as a long-term hobby which is never finished! Of course, since the advent of the internet and availability of digitised records it has become much quicker to get answers to questions, but this is all the more reason to question and analyse what you find. 6 months is just a drop in time! :)
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby Chadwi » Sat May 18, 2013 6:19 am

To me, there's an important issue that's being overlooked.
There are lots of people whose idea of family history is about building the biggest tree possible for which all they really need are BMD dates - where's the fun in that?
Surely the greatest enjoyment is learning about your ancestors, not just three dates but the rich tapestry of their lives. There is so much information out there, much of it online that it's possible to build up quite a picture and start to know about your forebears as real people.
So what if someone else has already built a tree - use it as a stepping off point to delve deeper into the myriad other sources available. And begin a journey of discovery that the other 'tree builder' probably hasn't even thought about.
Good hunting!
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby gregpan » Thu May 23, 2013 10:19 am

I too have a family tree but that does not go back to 1600's as such. But is old enough to cover all my ancestors.
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby Millst » Thu May 23, 2013 4:54 pm

I agree with the advice to beware of using other people's trees. They can be useful as a guide if you treat them with caution and check them but there may be mistakes.

I found one tree that had my maternal great grandparents on it but one of the daughters, Amelia, had been "married off" to completely the wrong person and been given the wrong children. I could see how it happened as there were several girls with the same name and similar dates of birth including a cousin, both named after a grandmother. As Amelia was my grandmother's sister, I knew her husband and son.

In trying to find the correct family for my husband's 2xggm I found a tree that looked like a possibility but looking at yet another tree, the person concerned turned out to be married to someone else. I was able to check that easily as Ancestry provided the scanned documents. After a few more false trails, I think I have eventually found the correct family. They weren't on Ancestry or FindmyPast but were in the Norfolk Record Office and Norfolk Family History Society and I also found the original scanned parish records on

On the other hand, family trees and connections with others researching the same family on Ancestry have helped me to solve several mysteries and put me in touch with distant cousins.

There are all sorts of ways you can find out more about your family by looking carefully at the censuses and what sort of areas they lived in and finding out more about their occupations.

I spend a lot of time on The National Archives website trying to piece together my army ancestors' careers and a couple of visits to their archives at Kew to view some Muster records gave me names of places they had travelled to, for example, Napoleonic Wars - Malta, Sicily, Portugal, Spain and the War of 1812 in Guadaloupe and Canada. I have found and read diaries and journals written by soldiers who fought in the Napoleonic Wars and found websites with maps and lots of information about battles, uniforms etc.

Learning about the sort of lives your ancestors led is a lot more satisfying than just finding birth, marriage and death dates.
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Re: should i collaborate?

Postby Trellech » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:34 pm

I too would treat any family tree posted online with a great deal of caution. I started delving into my roots over 35 years ago when you had to search the original records, so at least any mistakes were my own. Recently (although I am not a subscriber) I looked at the public trees on Ancestry concerning my own ancestors & found so many errors that those particular trees are almost worthless. To make it worse all this wrong information has been copied by at least a dozen other people. I was also 'surprised' to see my father's name listed in these public trees, something for which I have never given permission for!
I have traced many lines of my ancestors back to the early 1600's & a few into the mid 1550's but I have documentation to prove my findings. It seems the modern approach to genealogy is just to grap as many names as possible which is a shame because the real joy of this fascinating hobby/passion should be about discovering the everyday lives of our ancestors, not just a long list of names & bmd dates which is just plain boring.
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