Beware the hints! I know, I have said that before but the entire prospect of using poorly proofed Ancestry materials conerns me.
As many of you may have noticed. I just broke through a block in my family genealogy (the block of Joseph and Julia Deyo’s parentage and life before entering the US). Once my breakthrough occurred, a wealth of new resources became available for me to use and research. Naturally, I was pleased to begin my foray into new areas. As names became available to my family tree, Ancestry began providing me with the hints. You almost have to squint your eyes because some of the hints are that bad. Here are some of the items I have noted.
<warning>People seem to rarely examine the information “behind” a record name or label. I find very little evidence of people having struggled to read the actual record content. Often they don’t even bother to get the dates from the records!
This lack of analysis presents a huge problem. As you probably know, many genealogical records list parents, but I frequently find that suggested family trees (hints) have parents that vary from those referred to in a birth, death or marriage record. As I noted earlier, frequently the recorded dates themselves are not even used. Dates provide wonderful clues and they’re not even documented in many of the hints I see!?!
When I have completed my examination of the actual source content suggested by the hints through squinting and deciphering, often I find I have identified all manner of additional disconnects.
How can anyone be so casual and lax? Sadly they must be. Otherwise why would I see countless mismatches between the source record and tree content?</warning>
Ah well. I really should not complain, I guess. I should just look at these suggestions, assume they are wrong and see what hides behind them, in the content. That’s what I do; and frequently, I find gems. However, my trees rarely agree with those of the majority. But then these are my family members I’m trying to find. I’d like to be as close as I can be to finding my real relatives.