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Old 04-18-2018, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Coast of Somewhere Beautiful
2,384 posts, read 4,804,801 times
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I admit it, I'm old school. I like to have a paper trail connecting my ancestors. I've also tried to embrace DNA. My autosomal results have proven to be a huge benefit, and I'm working hard to figure out where my Y-DNA results are leading me. I'll confess to peeking at other family trees from time to time. Particularly when I'm stuck, they have led me to excellent source documents I failed to find on my own, and I'm always grateful.

Recently though, I'm amazed when I look at other trees, particularly on Ancestry. It seems at least 75-80% of them have no documentation whatsover except "Ancestry Family Trees", with maybe a census report or two thrown in. Does nobody do research anymore? Has genealogy degenerated to a state of "copy and paste"? The errors that turn up in these trees are disgusting, blatant to a point a 3rd grader would know it's wrong. It's sad in so many ways, because these errors just keep spreading across the Internet exponentially. I fear we have grown too lazy.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:49 AM
 
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I would like to learn how to do proper research. Could you advise me on the best way to get training.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Coast of Somewhere Beautiful
2,384 posts, read 4,804,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannonann1 View Post
I would like to learn how to do proper research.
My advice would be to take a genealogy class or three. IMO, it's the best way to get started correctly. Check with you local community college or library, or anywhere else that offers Continuing Ed classes for adults. Join a local genealogy club or society, even if you aren't researching ancestors in your local area. Many of these groups hold monthly lectures or offer their own classes. if nothing else, you'll meet some great experienced genealogists anxious to share their knowledge. There are some decent online classes, but nothing beats face-to-face with a good instructor. Good luck, have fun.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:09 PM
 
877 posts, read 893,271 times
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Plenty of people do research, it just being so easy to copy and paste just means the noise is louder. To be fair that's always been the case, family genealogies have often been full of copy and paste errors and old school genealogy books dating back to the late 1800s did all sorts of bad copy and pasting of incorrect things (which now people reference and think just because it's old it's somehow a valid source). Again it's just easier so it's done more, but at least as many people doing genuine research out there, if not more with the sheer scale of digitized primary records and genetic genealogy (not ethnicity reports but shared segment triangulation).
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:11 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
21,439 posts, read 20,450,037 times
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I agree with the OP. I look at the leaves from time to time on Ancestry out of curiosity to see what other people have. When I see Ancestry Family Trees as a source, it's kind of disappointing. In other words, they have no more of a source than I do.

As for getting training for genealogy, ask at your local library. Often they have a class or they have an employee who handles the genealogy and could get your started. Basically, you start with what you know and work backwards using censuses, birth, marriage, and death certificates, deeds, wills, etc. Don't copy what someone else has or you will probably end up with a mess that you will have to undo. But you can use someone else's information as a suggestion as long as you check it out for yourself.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,263 posts, read 8,470,056 times
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I have seen plenty of horrible research and obviously incorrect trees that predate the DNA revolution by decades or more. Bad research will always be with us.

My biggest pet peeve is scrubbing, you know, older sources indicate a variety of possible origins and relationships for a family, then one researcher comes along and cherry picks one out and buries the others. That is great if you actually have the research to resolve a question in dispute. It is horrifically bad to scrub away other sources just for the sake of telling a cleaner story.

There is never any shame in saying "I don't know the answer, but here is what I think happened." Present all the options that may be true, and hopefully someone else down the line will break down the brick wall and conclusively answer the question. Play the long game, I say.
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Old 04-18-2018, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
5,105 posts, read 6,486,654 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shannonann1 View Post
I would like to learn how to do proper research. Could you advise me on the best way to get training.
When I got started in the 1980s, I went to the local LDS meeting house that had a room for genealogy research. They had how-to's and several evening lectures. I didn't have to become a member of the church, nor did anyone ever witness to me. I learned where to look and how to cite my sources. This was back in the days when we ordered copies of the US census on microfishe.

As a thank you, I sent a copy of my research (in book form) to the main LDS library at SLC with permission for them to copy it.

Today, there are still free seminars at selected meeting houses and churches. You could try the LDS site to see if there is one in your area.

If there is a county or state historical society nearby, you could also check there: sometimes they offer free or low-cost classes. Sometimes the beginner class is free and lasts 3 - 4 hours and additional classes are higher.

There are also books around, some better than others. You can read reviews on Amazon. I can't recommend any because those I used are out of print.

As for the online sites: I agree -- there are some problematic practices going on. That said, it's at least a start in some cases, but I agree that just clicking on pre-selected records and adding them to a tree isn't the same as traveling to Podunk, Iowa and walking through a pioneer graveyard yourself!

There are still mysteries out that that can only be solved by someone combing through unarchived photos or interviewing an elder.
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:48 PM
bjh
Status: "Keep calm and carry on." (set 2 days ago)
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
35,913 posts, read 24,704,881 times
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Not everyone copies and pastes. You may be seeing and noticing it right now, but that doesn't mean there aren't researchers out there. There always will be.
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:56 PM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
2,944 posts, read 2,836,798 times
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It is a widespread problem, but I do look at some other trees to make sure I haven't missed something with Ancestry's frequently wonky search function. The scary part is to trace some of the trees back to the trees they cite, then trace those, etc. and never find anything but other trees to substantiate their own tree. I sometimes wonder if there's a master tree that someone posted a decade or more ago that spawned the rest.
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:18 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
21,439 posts, read 20,450,037 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminnm View Post
It is a widespread problem, but I do look at some other trees to make sure I haven't missed something with Ancestry's frequently wonky search function. The scary part is to trace some of the trees back to the trees they cite, then trace those, etc. and never find anything but other trees to substantiate their own tree. I sometimes wonder if there's a master tree that someone posted a decade or more ago that spawned the rest.
Yes, me too. Sometimes you look at those trees and they're all identical, as if they all copied from the same source. And then, of course, the trees that go back to the 9th century or so. It IS possible, but if they're going to do that, I'd really like some sources, that's all. It's not about how far back you can get. You want it to be correct.
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my posts as moderator will be in red. Moderator: Health&Wellness~Genealogy. The Rules--read here>>> TOS. If someone attacks you, do not reply. Hit REPORT.
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