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Archiver > APG > 2008-02 > 1203690836

Subject: [APG] Sources Used by Professional Genealogists
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2008 09:33:56 EST

Philip wrote:
Some so-called genealogists are charging people for doing research and they
are just sitting at their computers using ancestry.com etc.

If I were doing work for a client, I'd use every source at my
disposal--INCLUDING (but not limited to) Ancestry.com and other Internet resources. It
would be a disservice to my client NOT to check all available resources.

I realize I took your statement out of context above -- but I felt it
important that the resources available online (and from "cousins" -- which you also
seemed to regard in a negative light) not be downplayed to the extent you
seem to discredit them.

If the sources you find online are census images, vital records and military
records--such as WWI draft card images--you can pretty well trust them--or
at the very least know where to turn to get the original record. If you are
finding user-contributed data such as unsourced family trees or message board
or mailing list posts in archives--then, of course, you would need to verify
or refute what you have found in the user-submitted databases -- but they
remain a starting point -- even for a professional researcher.

As one example---years ago, in doing research for a person who supplied me
with the persumed maiden name for the wife of the earliest known ancestor that
she wanted traced--I was able to disprove the maiden name of the wife she
had given me all because a message board user had transcribed a will for the
man who turned out to be the father of the wife in question and placed it on
the RootsWeb/Ancestry board--he listed his daughter by her married name and
even the fact that she was the wife of the man I was attempting to trace for my

This led to finding the man I was tracing in the county his wife was from
(which was a different county but same state in which the couple were later
living)--and helped me to track him to his birth location and find his
parents--ALL because of online data I found in a board search! I was able to set
straight many years of incorrect listings of the maiden name of the wife and
establish proof of the origin of this client's ancestor.

PS: The really ironic part of the above story is that the maiden name of the
wife turned out to be MINK and she she was a descendant of the early New
Sweden immigrant Pal PALSSON (who took the alias MINK) from whom I also descend.
It truly IS a small world!

**************Ideas to please picky eaters. Watch video on AOL Living.

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