Yesterday while working on my genealogy, I accidently got carried away. Hard to believe but true. Here is what I found myself doing, then questioning and finally fixing.
I was conducting initial research on Ancestry, seeking the basics about who was born of whom and where. As is typically the case, I was using the Ancestry hints as pointers on where to look and attempting to ascertain what was real versus imaginary, in terms of facts, individuals and data. You may or may not be aware, but when you research this way on Ancestry, Family Tree hints indicate whether or not a “user family tree” contains sources, stories, images, etc. My rule of thumb is to never use a family tree without Sources. Up until yesterday that seemed to be a good rule excepting for one small item. A source by Ancestry’s definition includes another Ancestry Tree.
What I discovered was that as I got further back in time, there were many Trees for which the only sources were other Ancestry user trees. To my mind that is a circular and even detrimental definition. I had assumed (I know that’s wrong) that a source was always a Historical document. At least, it seemed to me like it should be. Well it isn’t.
As a result, I had to go back through three lines, actually the ends of three lines, and remove every person for which there were no historical documents . My conclusion, or rationalization, was these data were fundamentally flawed or inaccurate.
I sure wish there was an easy way to see if Ancestry Tree hints had any real historical data or sources behind them. So… I figured out what was wrong with MY logic! I need to only take Trees that have RECORDS associated with them. RECORDS refers to Historical records and that is what I should use as my criteria.
I sure wish I wasn’t so good at making assumptions!
If you know of a handy and easy way to check that out on an Ancestry Tree hint, please use the Comments below to let us know.