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Archiver > TMG > 2006-10 > 1161341244

From: "Darrell A. Martin" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Online database source
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2006 05:47:24 -0500
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In-Reply-To: <>

At 09:13 PM 10/19/2006, you wrote:
>You can exclude those people if you want, or the published source and it
>won't print, but you will still have the information. If they all agreed,
>then no big deal, it's when they don't that you have the problem.
>I no longer use or source online family histories. I found myself sourcing
>information that obviously had originally came from me. My children have
>unusual names, so if someone has them on their page, I know where it came
>from. I'd just rather do the research myself the old fashioned way with
>wills, deeds, etc.
>Teresa Ghee Elliott

Hi, Teresa:

To reapply an old saw that is about statistics, "There are three kinds of undocumented genealogy; lies, damned lies, and personal online family histories."

That is not just a bit harsh, it is a LOT harsh. However, it is true in a distressingly high portion of the available cases. But the problem is the "undocumented" part, not the "online" part. Here is my suggestion. Treat every online site exactly as you would a printed pamphlet that provided exactly the same amount of source referencing. If that makes the pamphlet worthless, then it makes the site worthless. If, however, it provides a clue that may possibly be of use, then use it as a source ... in exactly the same way you would use it if it were printed.

There are online genealogies which provide sources. Second Site, for example, can be used to provide information that is as fully documented as any professionally published genealogy could be - or, of course, it can omit documentation entirely. My own site is, in intent, fully source referenced (although like most of us I fall far, far, short of my own ideal). There are also sites which say, "for more information contact me ..." I tend to discount those, although occasionally I have taken the plunge - on even rarer occasion, I actually made contact with a competent and helpful human being. It can happen.


Darrell A. Martin
a native Vermonter currently in exile in Illinois

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