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Genealogical Research By Others

Genealogists may sometimes come across research work on their family done by another family member.  This research may be in the form of a few brief notes or it may be a more lengthy work.  In either case, the material must be analyzed for thoroughness and accuracy.  Generally, the older a genealogy the less accurate it will be.  This is because older works often made an excessive use of printed sources that were usually inaccurate.  These older genealogies frequently did not use primary or original sources and record sources were not footnoted or documented. 

When using older genealogies, extract vital data and record it in the appropriate family units.  Examine the facts and verify them in primary sources.  Each source producing facts must be documented or footnoted.  It serves no useful purpose to copy a genealogy filled with mistakes; this only perpetuates errors.  A wise genealogist remembers that not everything in print is correct!

Use old genealogies as a starting point.  Some older studies contain data obtained from people who are long since deceased.  In other cases, it is difficult to find and verify data in primary sources that may no longer exist.  In such cases, use the data with care, footnote from where the information came and always be on the lookout for official records that may prove or disprove conclusions made in the older genealogical study.