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Top 10 Genealogy Mistakes
# 1 DON'T MISSPELL GENEALOGY = People will take your queries more seriously if you don't misspell the word !! A couple of
mnemonics to help you remember.
Genealogists Evidently Needing Endless Ancestors Look Obsessively in Grave Yards OR
Genealogists Examine Needed Evidence At Lots Of Grave Yards
# 2 DON'T TRUST ANYTHING YOU SEE IN PRINT = Always verify information if you can. Even professionals make mistakes.
# 3 We're related to ... [ Someone famous ] = Don't assume that sharing a last name with someone famous makes you related.
Always start with yourself and work back, don't start with the famous person and work down.
# 4 Don't be Satisfied With Names & Dates = The object of genealogy isn't to collect as many dead relatives as fast as you can.
Take your time and get to know your ancestors.
# 5 BEWARE THE GENERIC FAMILY HISTORY = We've all gotten them in the mail or seen them on the internet " A Family History of
[ your name here } ". They are expensive phone books..
# 6 DON'T ACCEPT FAMILY LEGENDS WITHOUT QUESTION = Approach family legends with an open mind and investigate the facts
yourself. If you are unable to prove, or disprove, go ahead and include it in your family history, but note it is not proven.
# 7 DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF TO THE CURRENT SPELLING OF YOUR NAME = People were not as well educated in the past and names
were often spelled phonetically or misspelled accidentally. Foreign names may have been Americanized. For example; The original
French spelling was Deschamps. Children changed the spelling to Deschand, Dachand, Dechond. Father Americanized it to Fields.
# 8 DON'T NEGLECT TO WRITE DOWN YOUR SOURCES = Write down the name, date & location. You may think you will never need that
information again, but YOU WILL.
# 9 DON'T ASSUME EVERYTHING YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET IS TRUE = Always maintain a healthy skepticism.
Contact the researcher if possible.
# 10 DON'T PUT OFF TALKING TO RELATIVES = This SHOULD be on top of every To Do List. If you can't visit, write to the relative and
send a list of questions or a memory book. OR get a local relative to make a visit for you.
Road Trip Research Tips
O Call the location you are going to visit in advance. Find out where things are [ Does the newspaper have microfilm, what all is in the
collection ] Make sure they will be open when you plan to visit.
O Make a list of what you will be looking for, in some sort of order [ alphabetical – chronological etc. ] . Check off the items as you find them.
O Take everything you might need with you. Make sure you have family group sheets, pedigree charts or family history reports with all the
pertinent names & dates.
O Take time to do everything. Visit the courthouse for marriage, land and probate records. Visit the funeral homes for funeral records.
Visit the libraries to get obits and other newspaper research. Go to the cemetery. Photograph and document every stone related to your
family. See if there is anything related to your family at the local museum. If you don’t do everything, you will wish you had and wind up
making another trip.
O Think about purchasing a laptop computer or a PDA. That way you’ll have all your family data at your fingertips.
O If you can locate it with the land records, drive out to the family farm or the home in town. Take photos of all buildings and surroundings.
You can usually find out at the county appraiser's office the year the home was built so you can verify if that was the house they lived in.
O Look in the phone book. Is there someone there with the same surname you are looking for? It could be a distant relative who might
have information and pictures you do not have. You can also ask at the museum or some other helpful person to see if anyone knows of your
family or living descendents.
O If you find others with your surname and aren’t sure if they are related, copy their information and take pictures of tombstones etc.
You may find out they are connected to your line and don’t even know it.
O If you have doubts about whether to take pictures or get copies, go ahead and do it. Better safe than sorry.
O Try not to get discouraged if you don’t find your family right off the bat. Sometimes it takes a little while and a little persistence.